Intense is one word long-time Grand Forks resident Gary Gilbert would use to describe his experience in the CBC reality series Dragon’s Den.
Now living in Sechelt, Gilbert explained that Dragon’s Den was touring around Canada looking for inventors for the next season and he jumped on board.
After auditioning with his product, the Night Beacon, he was selected to go to Toronto to film his segment.
“It was pretty intense,” he recalled. “It’s one thing on TV but when you get there there’s a lot of waiting and anxiousness involved but everybody was friendly from the time I walked into the building.”
Gilbert pointed out this wasn’t an original concept, but the Night Beacon has advantages over similar products now available on the market.
“The signaling devices are vandal-proof, theft-proof and costs less than half of what the other products cost,” he explained. “It’s a signaling device for waiting passengers at bus stops to signal the bus drivers during the hours of darkness in rural, poorly or unlit areas. It’s a fairly specific market.”
However, Gilbert noted the Dragons didn’t get the message.
“They could not grasp the concept of being stranded in the middle of nowhere because a bus driver couldn’t see them waiting at a dark bus stop with bear and deer and cougars,” he said. “In fact, I doubt any of the Dragons have ever been on a public bus.”
The segment that was aired exaggerated the signaling device, and though there were good laughs about it, Gilbert noted the actual discussion lasted well over 20 minutes.
“Bruce (Croxon of Dragon’s Den) was pretty cool and he got on the floor with me… but they really didn’t understand the rural concept. They didn’t beat me up too much,” Gilbert added.
Gilbert noted there is still an opportunity to gain a higher profile on the Dragon’s Den website with the “In or Out Leaderboard” at cbc.ca/dragonsden. He was informed there would be a pitch page that contains some details about the pitch where the audience is able to vote on the pitch. The top five pitches with the most “In” votes are highlighted on the index page of Dragon’s Den website.
All you need is a Facebook account to register your vote, Gilbert added.
There are currently 50 units in place on the Sunshine Coast and “drive-bys” (when the buses continue past the stop without stopping) have dropped to one or two a month.
For more information of Gilbert’s product, visit thenightbeacon.com.Former local enters the Dragon’s Den on CBC