Dragons' Den

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Dragons' Den is a series of reality television programmes featuring entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of venture capitalists. The show originated in Japan as "マネーの虎" (Tiger of Money, a pun on "Tiger of Malaya", the nickname of WWII general Tomoyuki Yamashita).[citation needed] The format is owned by Sony Pictures Television.


The contestants are usually product designers or service operators who have what they consider to be a viable and potentially very profitable business idea, but who lack funding and direction. They pitch their idea to five rich entrepreneurial businesspeople, the eponymous "dragons" (or "tigers" in the original Japanese show, "sharks" in the U.S. and Israeli versions and "lions" in Finland and Romania). Before the show, the contestants have named a specific amount of money that they wish to get (along with a percentage in the business that the contestant is offering to sell to the investors), and the rules stipulate that if they do not raise at least this amount from the dragons, they get nothing. In return, the contestant gives the dragons a percentage of the company's stock, which is the chief point of negotiation. The program does not show the entire pitch as scenes are selected and edited from the episode due to time constraints.

The dragons probe the idea further once the contestant has made the presentation. This will either reveal a sound business proposition that the investor may become interested in investing capital in return for equity, or an embarrassing lack of preparation on the part of the contestant (such as the contestant's lack of knowledge of the business' profits or margins), the uncovering of troubling facts (such as insufficient sales or manufacturing margins) or other reasons which may play a factor in the investors consequently rejecting the investment (such as the investor asking for a larger equity stake in the business than the contestant wants to give up, the contestant's valuation on the business being too high compared to its overall profits, the product not having any proprietary value or the investor's belief that they cannot add value to the business). A contestant may give a counteroffer to the investors, if they feel their offer is not sufficient compared to the contestant's initial offer, which may also be subject to rejection if the investor feels the contestant asking for too high a monetary amount and/or an insufficiently low equity than the investor's previous offer.


Dragons' Den series have been produced in numerous different countries. Apart from in Japan (where the show debuted) the show names, structures, and styles are based upon the UK version.


In Afghanistan, the show is called Fikr wa Talash. The show was produced by the Moby Group's strategic communications arm, Lapis Ltd, and aired on the Group's most popular channel in Afghanistan, TOLO TV,[1] reaching an estimated 7 million viewers in 2010.[2][3]

Arab world[edit]

In the Arab world, Dragons' Den was known as Dragons' Den: Al Aareen العرين (The Den). It was broadcast on the Lebanese channel Future Television and was hosted by Ibrahim Abu Jawdeh. The show received contestants from various Arab countries.

The panel of Dragons for the 2007 series consisted of:


The Australian version of Dragons' Den was broadcast on the Seven Network and hosted by Andrew O'Keefe. Different from other versions, the host ran through the outline of the business with the contestant then negotiating with the Dragons for a deal. It was produced by Michael Horrock. The Australian Dragons were:

The Seven Network announced in December 2005 that the show would not be back for a second season after poor ratings.

In 2014 it is rumoured that Network Ten could attempt a local edition if the program for the 2015 TV year.[4] This was later confirmed by the network and the show will adopt the American "Shark Tank" name. [5]


The Austrian version is called 2 Minuten 2 Millionen, which means 2 Minutes 2 Million. It debuted on Puls 4.


English version[edit]

Main article: Dragons' Den (Canada)

The Canadian Dragons are/were:

SeatSeason 1Season 2Season 3Season 4Season 5Season 6Season 7Season 8
Jim Treliving
Kevin O'Leary
Jennifer Wood
Arlene Dickinson
Laurence Lewin
W. Brett Wilson
Bruce Croxon
Robert Herjavec
David Chilton

Dragon's Den panelist Arlene Dickinson sits on the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus Advisory Board.[6]

French version[edit]

The Canadian version in French: Dans L'Oeil du Dragon (In the Dragon's Eye), began airing in 2012, hosted by Paul Houde

The Dragons were:


The Croatian version of Dragons' Den called Zmajevo gnijezdo was scheduled to be broadcast in May 2007 on Croatian Radiotelevision and produced by Ocean Film, a local production company.

Contracted Croatian Dragons were:

A few shows were filmed but never broadcast for undisclosed reasons.

Czech Republic[edit]

In the Czech Republic, the show is called Den D (The D-Day).

It first aired on 31 March 2009 on Czech TV (CT1 channel), in a very similar set up to the British version of BBC.

The show is hosted by radio host Jan Pokorny, and the dragon investors are:

The Dragons are/were:

SeatSeries 1Series 2Series 3Series 4
Ivan Pilný
Michael Rostock
Ondřej Bartoš
Ivan Pilný
Margareta Křížová
Dana Bérová
Petra Rychnovská
Marta Nováková
John Vanhara
Tomio Okamura
Michal Hanus


In Finland Dragons' Den was first named Leijonan kita, which means the jaws or the mouth of a lion. The show began running in Finland on 27 September 2007 on MTV3 channel. It was hosted by Anna Sorainen. The local Dragons, or Leijonat (lions), were: Kyösti Kakkonen, Eero Lehti, Toivo Sukari, Lisa Sounio and Kaija Ward.

Subsequent seasons were not produced, but in February 2013 the show re-emerged on the Nelonen channel, this time named Leijonan luola (lion's den), with a new set of investors and hosted by Kirsi Salo. The new lions were Riku Asikainen, Jorma Terentjeff, Ari Lahti, Anne Berner and Oskari Lehtonen.


The German version is called Die Höhle der Löwen, which means lion's den. It debuted on 19 August 2014 on VOX. The German Lions are Vural Öger, Jochen Schweizer, Frank Thelen, Judith Williams and Lencke Wischhusen.[8]


An Irish version of the show began in 2009 on RTÉ One, the state broadcaster. It is presented by Richard Curran, Deputy Editor of The Sunday Business Post.

The Irish Dragons are/were:

SeatSeries 1Series 2Series 3Series 4Series 5
Niall O'Farrell
Peter Casey (businessman)
Bobby Kerr
Ramona Nicholas
Sarah Newman
Norah Casey
Sean O'Sullivan
Sean O'Sullivan
Gavin Duffy
Seán Gallagher
Norah Casey
Barry O'Sullivan

The Dragons have appeared on television in Ireland, in promotion of the series, on Tubridy Tonight, on RTÉ One. RTÉ started broadcasting show promos after Christmas as part of their winter line-up.

The first episode was broadcast on 19 February 2009.

A third season of Dragons' Den began airing on RTÉ One, on Thursday, 20 February 2011. Norah Casey was the new Dragon for the third season. Episodes at the end of the third season, for the first time on Dragons' Den in Ireland, showed the Dragons on tour visiting their past investments.

Dragon Seán Gallagher stood for President of Ireland in 2011 but came second behind poet and intellectual Michael D. Higgins after a controversy erupted over a €5,000 cheque he had received in an envelope.[9][10]

A fourth season of Dragons' Den was commissioned.[11] Sean O'Sullivan replaced Seán Gallagher.[12] Sean is co-founder at Avego Ltd, based in Kinsale.

For the fourth series of Dragons' Den, a live, interactive "Sixth Dragon Game" was developed to be played whilst watching the show. Where viewers are able to decide in real time if they're IN or OUT as the pitches unfold. The "Sixth Dragon Game" is the first live, interactive game for a TV show in Ireland.

Episodes of Dragons' Den are also now being shown on Dave every Wednesday at 7pm which means it is also available to the Great Britain. Episodes began airing on 6 July 2011.


In Israel, Dragons' Den is entitled Hakrishim, which is Hebrew for "The Sharks". It is produced by Gil Productions and is broadcast on Channel 10. It is hosted by Guy Zohar. In the Israeli version, there are 6 dragons who rotate their appearance weekly. The first season was broadcast during the summer and fall of 2006. The dragons in season 1 were: Ze'ev Holtzman, Israela Shtier, Aviv Tzidon, Oded Dessau, Jacky Ben-Zaken, and Nir Sharatzki. The second season began being broadcast on Channel 10 on 24 May 2007. As in the first season, the dragons rotate their appearance weekly. Aviv Tzidon and Jacky Ben-Zaken returned from the first season and were joined by the following new dragons:


Titled "マネーの虎 Manê no Tora" (Money Tigers), this is the original version. It was created by and broadcast on Nippon Television from 2001 to 2004. It was the first entertainment programme in the history of Japanese television that dealt with the concept of business investment. During its three year run, as many as 16 business executives appeared in the programme as Tigers.[13]


In the Netherlands the show was broadcast in May 2007 on Nederland 3, every Friday at 20.25 (+1 GMT). The second and last season was broadcast in May 2008 on Nederland 3, every Monday at 21.25 (+1 GMT). As in the first season, it was hosted by Jort Kelder.

The dragons were:

New Zealand[edit]

Initially, the UK and Australian series of Dragons' Den were broadcast in New Zealand before a local version was produced by Eyeworks Television. It broadcast on TV One in 2006 and was hosted by Rawdon Christie. The dragons were:


Nigeria's adaptation of Dragons' Den was broadcast weekly in 2008 on the AIT Network and produced by Storm Vision.

The Nigerian Dragons were:

A second series is now being commissioned.


In Poland, the program is called "Dragons Den - How to be a millionaire" and is broadcast on the station TV4 since 2011. The biggest win in the program happened April 24, 2011 in the amount 15,000,000 PLN (5,500,000 U.S. dollars) [14]

The Polish Dragons in 2011 are:


There is a Romanian version of the format called Arena Leilor (Lions Arena). The Romanian Lions are:

The show started in 2007.


There was a Russian version of the show called KAPITAL.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

It was announced in December 2009 that Saudi Arabian broadcaster STV1 will be showing the BBC version of Dragons' Den in January 2010, followed by a local production in February.[15] It has been broadcast on 2011, and it's called " Altujar التجار" the dragons are : Saleh Kamel, Ahmed Fitihy, Nashwa Altahir, Altaiar, Alhalafy


It was announced in May 2012 that new Slovenian broadcaster Planet TV, owned by Telekom Slovenije, will be showing local version of Dragons' Den in Fall 2012. The title of the Slovenian version will be called "Dober posel" (Good Deal). It will begun to air from November 11, 2012.

The Slovenian Dragons are:


The title of the Spanish version is "Tu Oportunidad" (Your Opportunity) and went to air on October 30, 2013 by TVE.


The British version was on air in Sweden for several years on TV8 and BBC Prime. A Swedish version called Draknästet (English: "The Dragons' Nest") was broadcast in 2009 on Sveriges Television.[16] A second season started in March 2010.

The Swedish Dragons 2010 are:

Previous Dragons 2009:


The Turkish version of Dragons' Den will be shown on BloombergHT. In 2010 the UK version is shown with Turkish subtitles.


In Ukraine, the series was called Акули бізнесу (Business Sharks) and featured Dragons such as future presidential candidate Serhiy Tihipko.

United Kingdom[edit]

Main article: Dragons' Den (UK)

In the UK, Dragons' Den is broadcast on BBC Two which has exclusive rights to the show's format from its Japanese producers. The Executive Producer is Dominic Bird[17] and it is hosted by former BBC economics editor Evan Davis. The Dragons are/were:

Seat Order
(Right to Left)
Series 1Series 2Series 3Series 4Series 5Series 6Series 7Series 8Series 9Series 10Series 11Series 12
Peter Jones
Simon Woodroffe
Theo Paphitis
Deborah Meaden
Piers Linney
Doug Richard
Theo Paphitis
Deborah Meaden
Duncan Bannatyne
Hilary Devey
Kelly Hoppen
Rachel Elnaugh
Richard Farleigh
James Caan
Duncan Bannatyne

United States[edit]

Main article: Shark Tank

In 2008, television producer Mark Burnett signed a deal with format holder Sony to produce an American version of the series. The series on U.S. television is titled Shark Tank.[18]

The U.S. network ABC ordered a pilot episode which was produced by Sony Pictures TV.[19] On 9 October 2008, a casting producer announced that The Shark Tank was accepting applications for a pilot, giving entrepreneurs two weeks to submit their ideas. The pilot was filmed 6–9 January 2009 in Los Angeles.[20]

On September 20, 2013, Shark Tank began its fifth season. The Sharks are:

Season 1Season 2Season 3[22]Season 4Season 5
Robert Herjavec
Barbara Corcoran
Kevin O'Leary
Daymond John
Kevin Harrington
Mark Cuban
Jeff Foxworthy
Lori Greiner

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.usaid.gov/results-data/success-stories/afghan-entrepreneurs-%E2%80%9Cdream-and-achieve%E2%80%9D
  2. ^ http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/social-entrepreneur-idol-do-good-reality-tv-in-afghanistan/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
  3. ^ Burch, Jonathon (1 September 2008). "Reality TV show stirs business spirit in Afghanistan". Reuters. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2014/08/ten-circles-shark-tank.html
  5. ^ http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2014/09/ten-confirms-shark-tank-for-2015.html
  6. ^ "Advisory Board profiles". University of Waterloo. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  7. ^ https://publicite.radio-canada.ca/b2bfcs/content/fcscontent.aspx?folderid=465&contentid=35266
  8. ^ VOX Press Release
  9. ^ "Businessman says Gallagher collected €5,000 cheque". The Irish Times. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Hugh Morgan says he handed cheque to Gallagher". RTÉ. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Dragons' Den looking for entrepreneurs". RTÉ. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Kelpie, Colm (26 November 2011). "Latest Dragon breathes new life into show". Irish Independent. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  13. ^ ja:マネーの虎
  14. ^ http://www.wirtualnemedia.pl/artykul/dragons-den-jak-zostac-milionerem-wiosna-w-czworce#
  15. ^ http://www.indiantelevision.com/headlines/y2k9/dec/dec236.php
  16. ^ SVT pressrelease
  17. ^ Filotrani, Laura-Jane (23 September 2009). "Managing the Den". The Guardian (London). 
  18. ^ Sony, Burnett dive into 'Shark Tank', Variety [1] 13 February 2008
  19. ^ ABC to Swim With Burnett's 'Shark' [2] 4 September 2008
  20. ^ First Shark Announced [3] 28 January 2009
  21. ^ Introducing the Sharks [4] 30 March 2009
  22. ^ Mark Cuban joins 'Shark Tank' for season three - EXCLUSIVE | Inside TV | EW.com

External links[edit]