After months of waiting and anticipation Brett Denning and Colin Haskett are finally able to answer the question everyone has been asking: Did you get a deal?
From day one it was obvious that the nearly impossible task of pitching the FREE online obituary directory with no revenue streams to the Dragons was likely to end poorly. CanadaObits.ca was created to be an added tool for funeral professionals – to stay relevant and continue to serve families well. So the question was: how can you convince business gurus, the “Dragons” to invest in this helpful tool and free service? Unfortunately, Brett and Colin couldn’t sell it to the Dragons!
The reality is CanadaObits.ca has not been geared to be a profit centre, and the Dragons are interested in a return on their investment. Colin and Brett took the nerve-wracking trip to the Den believing strongly that obituary advertising is about to change forever and that they had created a solution that would aid not only the funeral profession but the families that they serve on a daily basis. They still believe they have a winning idea.
After exiting stage right, Brett and Colin immediately began reviewing every bit of advice they were given from the Dragons during their 20 minute meeting and they realized the Dragons brought up some interesting points: online obituaries are not new, a paid model would be profitable, and Brett and Colin’s knowledge of the internet is lacking. Brett and Colin are already very aware of the paid models for obituary advertising that the large media corporations are currently peddling. The lack of universality and the huge fees to post obituaries to these current sites the Dragons mentioned were the inspiration for CanadaObits.ca in the first place. Even after their brush with the Dragons, they believe that CanadaObits.ca can succeed because it offers an alternative to the highly profitable obituary advertising market; it accomplishes the same objective as the large media corporations, by making their directory fully comprehensive, without the high cost to grieving families or those who wish to support them.
However, when the Dragons questioned Brett and Colin’s lack of technical experience, they hit the nail on the head. With an ask of only $10,000, it was clear that Brett and Colin were meeting the Dragons to tap into their wealth of experience and not their money, (a perfect example is Bruce Croxon’s company Round13, which currently helps internet start-ups). Dragon-less, CanadaObits.ca has sought the help of an expert within their profession: Robin Heppell. Robin has been developing funeral home websites for years and he also understands the funeral profession and the changing market of obituary advertising. Robin, Brett and Colin are currently working on the new platform that will become CanadaObits.ca and are excited as they continue to see the number of obituaries and funeral home participation grow.
The question to you is: Would you prefer to see CanadaObits.ca become a profit-centre that is worthy of the Dragons investment or would you hope to see it become what it set out to do and offer a comprehensive free, easy, online obituary directory, that is less concerned about how much money it can make, but by how much it can save for others in their time of need.
We have come to realize that the goal of CanadaObits.ca is the latter. We strive for CanadaObits.ca to gain in popularity as a free obituary advertising alternative. CanadaObits.ca will continue to be the FREE easy, online obituary directory and we are very grateful to those who have supported us to this point and to those that will join us in the future. We hope that our pitch on the Dragons’ Den represented our profession in the respectful way in which we hoped, and that our ask of $10,000 (one of the lowest in Dragons’ Den history) shows that we are not in this for the money, that we still believe in our idea.
Our pitch to Dragons’ Den can be found at: http://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/pitches/canadaobits.ca