Dragons' Den

Dragons' Den

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 "Manē no Tora" (Tiger of Money, a pun on "Tiger of Malay", the nickname of a famous WWII general, Tomoyuki Yamashita). The format is owned by Sony Pictures Television International.


Show format

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). The contestants have, before the show, named an amount of money that they wish to get, 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.

Once the contestant has made the presentation, the dragons probe the idea further, often revealing an embarrassing lack of preparation on the part of the contestant, or uncovering troubling facts and consequently rejecting the investment, or revealing a sound business proposition and offering to invest capital in return for equity.


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 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 Byrne and it is hosted by former BBC economics editor Evan Davis. So far in the Den, the 'Dragons' have agreed to invest in 110 companies, with Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis agreeing investments in 29 businesses each since 2005, followed by Deborah Meaden who has invested 21 times since she joined in Series 3 in 2006, followed by Duncan Bannatyne with 17 investments since 2005, and James Caan with 14 since he joined in 2007.

The Dragons are/were:

Seat Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 Series 5 Series 6 Series 7 Series 8 Series 9
Peter Jones
Doug Richard
Deborah Meaden
Simon Woodroffe
Theo Paphitis
Rachel Elnaugh
Richard Farleigh
James Caan
Hilary Devey
Duncan Bannatyne

Online Dragons' Den

The BBC website also has an online Den hosted by Radio 1's Dominic Byrne and featuring two new Dragons: Shaf Rasul and Julie Meyer. Entrepreneurs can pitch for a maximum of £50,000, and as with the television version, must be offered all the money or they walk away with no investment. In contrast to the television version, however, entrepreneurs may apply by submitting a three-minutes 'raw pitch'. BBC Two have commissioned this as 30-minute programs broadcast on Wednesdays from 9:30pm until 10pm.


In Afghanistan, the show is called Fikr wa Talash.

Arab world

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

The panel of Dragons for the 2007 series consisted of:

  • Omar El-Quqa
  • Ahmad Tantash
  • Nassif Karam
  • Roger Azar


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:

  • Peter Higgins
  • Sarina Russo
  • Siimon Reynolds
  • Darryn Lyons
  • Suzi Dafnis

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



The Croatian version of Dragons' Den called Zmajevo gnijezdo was scheduled to be broadcasted in 2007 on Hrvatska Televizija and produced by Ocean Film.

Contracted Croatian Dragons were:

  • Maja Pečarević - owner of Generalturist, the leading and oldest travel agency in Croatia.
  • Hrvoje Prpić - owner of Smee d.o.o, bamboo flooring company.
  • Davor Štern - owner of Trade Consulting d.o.o., business consulting company.
  • Juroslav Buljubašić - co-owner of Blue Line International, the international maritime company.
  • Branko Roglić - owner of Orbico, one of the leading importers and distributors of various consumer goods and toys in Croatia.

At least few shows were filmed but never broadcasted because of undisclosed reasons.

Czech Republic

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 experienced radio host Jan Pokorny, and the dragon investors are:

  • Ivan Pilny - former GM of Microsoft in Czech Republic, Chairman of the Board of Czech Telecom and entrepreneur (1st & 3rd series)
  • Marta Novakova - founder and CEO of U&SLUNO software company (1st, 2nd & 3rd series)
  • Ondrej Bartos - serial entrepreneur, consultant and venture capitalist, Partner with Credo Ventures (1st & 2nd series)
  • Dana Berova - former minister of informatics, entrepreneur and Business Development Director of Gartner (1st, 2nd & 3rd series)
  • Tomio Okamura - Czech-Japanese entrepreneur in travel and retail, he brings Japanese tourists to the Czech Republic and sells Japanese products to Czechs (1st, 2nd & 3rd series)
  • Michael Rostock - investment banker and advisor with Venture Investors Corporate Finance (2nd & 3rd series)


In Finland Dragons' Den is called Leijonan kita which actually means the jaws or the mouth of a lion when translated into English. The show started running in Finland on 27 September 2007 on MTV3 channel. The show is hosted by Anna Sorainen. The local Dragons, or Leijonat (Lions in Finnish), are:

  • Kyösti Kakkonen
  • Eero Lehti
  • Toivo Sukari
  • Lisa Sounio
  • Kaija Ward


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:

Seat Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4
Niall O'Farrell
Bobby Kerr
Sarah Newman
Norah Casey
Gavin Duffy
Sean Gallagher

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

The first episode was broadcast on February 19th, 2009.

The third season of 'Dragons' Den' began airing on RTÉ One, on Thursday, February 20th, 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, have shown the dragons on tour visiting their past investments.

Episodes are also now being shown on Dave every Wednesday at 7pm which means it is also available to Great Britain. Episodes began airing on 6th 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:

  • Yossi Moldavsky
  • Nir Barkat (who, in 2008, was elected as mayor of Jerusalem)
  • Amir Eyal
  • Roni Ross
  • Amos Luzon


Titled "マネーの虎 Manê no Tora", (Money Tigers), this original version 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.[1]


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:

  • Henk Keilman
  • Annemarie van Gaal
  • Jan Pieter Melchior (2007)
  • Willem Sijthoff
  • Arjen de Koning
  • George Banken (2008)


New Zealand

In New Zealand Dragons' Den is broadcast on TV One and hosted by Rawdon Christie. Initially the UK and Australian series were broadcast, but a local version was produced and screened in 2006. The series is produced by Eyeworks Touchdown. The New Zealand Series 1 Dragons are:

Production company Eyeworks Touchdown is currently soliciting applications for a second series of Dragons' Den.


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

The Nigerian Dragons were:

  • Prince Femi Tejuoso
  • Ibunkun Awosika
  • Chris Parkes
  • Alexander Amosu
  • John Momoh
  • Tokunboh Ishmael

A second series is now being commissioned.


In Poland, the program is called "Dragons Den - How to be a millionaire" http://www.jakzostacmilionerem.biz/inwestorzy which is broadcast on the station TV4 since 2011. The biggest win in the program fell April 24, 2011 in the amount 15 000 000 PLN (5 500 000 U.S. dollars) [2]

The Polish Dragons in 2011 are:

  • Maciej Kaczmarski founder, Kaczmarski Inkasso companies, the National Debt Register and Reliable Company, called the king of Polish recovery
  • Anna Garwolińska, head of Glaubicz Garwolińska Consultants
  • Grzegorz Hajdarowicz, owner of the Group Gremi
  • Marian Owerko CEO Bakalland
  • Krzysztof Golonka, president of an investment fund Xevin


There is a Romanian version of the format called Arena Leilor.

The Romanian Lions are:

  • Marius Ghenea
  • Dragos Anastasiu
  • Florin Talpes
  • Mircea Tudor
  • Mihaela Nicola

The show started in 2007 and a new series will be on air in March 2011.


There was a Russian version of the format called Killer Whale Dragons.

Saudi Arabia

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.[3] It has been broadcasted on 2011, and it's called " Altujar " the dragons are : Saleh Kamel, Ahmed Fitihy, Nashwa Altahir, Altaiar, Alhalafy


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.[4] A second season started in March 2010.

The Swedish Dragons 2010 are:

  • Mats Gabrielsson, who sold his IT firm at the height of the late 80s for over $100 million
  • Douglas Roos founder and chairman of nyheter24.se
  • Susanna Falkengren cofounder and member of Exipos Invest and since 1997 also working with a large amount of law offices.
  • Sven Hagströmer founder of HQ, Avanza, Öresund and also in the board for the public companies Bilia, Eworks and Insplanet
  • Richard Båge, founder of Insplanet IPO in 2006, founder and chairman of Mediaplanet

Previous Dragons 2009:

  • Gunilla von Platen CEO and founder of Xzakt Kundrelation, a telemarketing company located in Sweden
  • Ljubo Mrnjavac sold his fast food company Pölsemannen 2002. Today active in real estate


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 Акулы бизнеса (Business Sharks), and featured Dragons such as future presidential candidate Sergei Tigipko.

United States

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.[5]

The U.S. network ABC has ordered a pilot episode which will be produced by Sony Pictures TV.[6] 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.[7]

The Sharks are:

  • Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks and billionaire entrepreneur.
  • Robert Herjavec, who sold his IT security firm at the height of the dot-com bubble for over $100 million and a dragon on the Canadian version of the show
  • Kevin O'Leary, co-host of The Lang and O'Leary Exchange on CBC News Network, formerly president of The Learning Company, which was sold to Mattel for $3.7 billion in 1999 and a dragon on the Canadian version of the show
  • Barbara Corcoran, self-made real estate millionaire who sold her company The Corcoran Group for $70 million in 2001
  • Kevin Harrington, pioneer in the infomercial industry
  • Daymond John, founder of FUBU[8]
Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 [9]
Robert Herjavec
Barbara Corcoran
Kevin O'Leary
Daymond John
Kevin Harrington
Kevin Harrington
Mark Cuban
Jeff Foxworthy
Mark Cuban
Kevin Harrington

See also


  1. ^ ja:マネーの虎
  2. ^ http://www.wirtualnemedia.pl/artykul/dragons-den-jak-zostac-milionerem-wiosna-w-czworce#
  3. ^ http://www.indiantelevision.com/headlines/y2k9/dec/dec236.php
  4. ^ SVT pressrelease
  5. ^ Sony, Burnett dive into 'Shark Tank', Variety [1] 13 February 2008
  6. ^ ABC to Swim With Burnett's 'Shark' [2] 4 September 2008
  7. ^ First Shark Announced [3] 28 January 2009
  8. ^ Introducing the Sharks [4] 30 March 2009
  9. ^ Mark Cuban joins 'Shark Tank' for season three - EXCLUSIVE | Inside TV | EW.com

External links

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