This Franchise Leader Just Became the Newest Investor on Dragons' Den, the Canadian Shark Tank


There’s a new dragon in the den — and it’s Brian Scudamore, the founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

Scudamore will be an investor in the upcoming season of Dragons’ Den, the Canadian version of what Americans know as Shark Tank. And he has some advice for anyone stepping up to pitch investors:

“You absolutely need to know your numbers, but don’t forget to tell a story,” he says. “Anyone can pitch a business idea, but articulating why you do it builds connection to the Dragons and the audience.”

Scudamore’s personal story has a made-for-TV quality to it: He dropped out of high school and, at age 18, spent $700 on a pickup truck to start his junk-removal service in Vancouver. Then he grew it into a globally recognizable brand, with those big, blue trucks.

The company’s growth came through a successful franchise model: 1-800-GOT-JUNK? currently supports 174 franchises across the U.S., Canada, and Australia, and spawned two more franchise brands — WOW 1 DAY PAINTING and Shack Shine — under the umbrella company O2E Brands.

That’s helped make Scudamore one of the most celebrated entrepreneurs in Canada, and his company has won numerous awards for its workplace culture (including being named Newsweek’s “Most Loved Workplace”).

Now, as an investor on the upcoming 19th season of Dragons’ Den, says he’s looking forward to inspiring the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs. Countless leaders have shared their time and knowledge with me as I grew my businesses, so I’m a huge believer in giving back through mentorship,” he says.

Plus, he’s looking forward to learning a new skill himself — and it’s a surprising one, given his on-air role.

“I’ve never invested cash in another business,” he admits. “This is the next logical step in my own entrepreneurial journey!”

In America, Dragons’ Den is often known as the Canadian Shark Tank. But in truth, both shows are spinoffs of a different show.

The show format — where entrepreneurs pitch a panel of investors — originated in Japan in 2001, under the name The Tigers of Money. The format then moved to the U.K., where it was called Dragons’ Den. An Israeli version launched a few years later, called The Sharks. Then, in 2009, an American version expanded upon the Israeli name — and Shark Tank was born.

Now there are more than 40 versions of the show around the world, using a variety of names. Many countries call their show either Shark Tank or Dragons’ Den.

American viewers are familiar with at least two investors from the Canadian show: Shark Tank regulars Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary both appeared in Dragons’ Den‘s early seasons. Herjavec recently returned to the Canadian show for two seasons, and is now departing again — which, along with one other departure from the show, opened a seat for Scudamore.

Scudamore will join Arlene Dickinson, Wes Hall, Manjit Minhas and Michelle Romanow as investors on the show. Dragons’ Den airs in Canada on the CBC. The next season films in Toronto this spring and will air later in the fall.



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