The founder of a Red Deer business says appearing on Dragons’ Den was like a dream come true.
Michael O’Dwyer, founder of ParkedAuto, alongside business partner Socrates Alvares, pitched the business to a group of investors on the CBC series’ season 17 premiere.
“I’ve always kind of envisioned myself being on a show like that oddly enough because I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit. To have that vision come to life was really fun,” said O’Dwyer.
“It’s certainly an intimidating process as well. But we learned a lot of good stuff on there and had some really positive feedback on the show, and have made some adjustments to our strategy because of it.”
ParkedAuto is a service that assists dealers in facilitating the picking up and dropping off of customers vehicles for automotive service through a mobile app.
“It’s kind of along the lines of what SkipTheDishes did with food delivery. I think the same thing is going to be coming to the automotive world as well,” said O’Dwyer.
During the show, the business was seeking $800,000 for a 10 per cent stake. But none of the Dragons’ Den investors joined.
“Of course you want to leave there with some funding and to be able to partner with some of the experienced investors they have there. It just didn’t come to fruition, but I feel like it may open some doors for other opportunities after being on a nationally broadcasted show like that,” he said.
O’Dwyer said the process from applying to being on the show “happened very fast.”
“You send an online application in … and from there, they set up a Zoom call with one of their producers. That was just a few weeks after we sent the application,” said O’Dwyer.
“You go through a full pitch with that producer – you pitch the business just like you’d pitch it on the show, only you’re behind a computer screen.”
About two months after that Zoom meeting, Dragons’ Den producers reached out and told O’Dwyer that ParkedAuto will be featured on the show, which was filmed in Toronto.
ParkedAuto is close to announcing partnerships in a couple of Canadian cities, although the exact locations cannot yet be revealed.
“Our plan is to be across the country. We want to be able to partner with dealerships coast to coast and have them use our software to make it a better experience for customers getting their vehicles services,” said O’Dwyer.
For more information on the business, visit www.parkedauto.ca.