Secrets of a Dragon Slayer (Part 1) with John Kershaw

Secrets of a Dragon Slayer (Part 1) with John Kershaw

Show Notes

In this special episode, we welcome John Kershaw back to the studio to talk about his pitch on BBC's Dragons’ Den. This is a stand-alone bonus trilogy so you do not need to have listened to our previous episodes to enjoy this one.

02:25 Fame and Recognition

John talks gaining recognition after appearing on the show and why he originally applied: was it a serious investment route or simply a great PR opportunity? We also discuss John’s expectations, contestant advice, and his Dragon Dating app that never saw the light of day.

10:24: How Much Do You Ask For?

When you’re asking for money, how much is enough? John breaks down how his original bid might’ve been a little bit too ambitious (meeting “that mental mark of a big investment”) and how this all changed between his initial idea and his televised pitch. Those sneaky BBC editors.

14:48: The Den

How does it all work? John talks turning up early, nerves, the green room, the pre-pitch interview, make-up, and everything that turns a humble bearded entrepreneur into a dazzling TV businessman. Plus, we find out just how much footage ends up on the cutting room floor, and what the DD set is really like.

24:16 The Dragons

Fierce, feisty, and fiscal: John elaborates on which Dragons he faced, and which ones he most wanted to invest in his company. We also ask if John’s original idea was to try and get investment from more than one Dragon, and John mentions just how difficult is it to remember all five Dragons’ names in the heat of the moment.

30:37: The Deal

What happens after the lights go off and the credits roll? John remembers the immediate aftermath of leaving the Den, how the deal is processed from TV to real life, how he kept in contact with the Dragons after the deal, and, of course, the now famous Dragons’ Den potato.

36:57: Pitch Practice to get Pitch Perfect

John talks through his pitching methods and how he was in completely mastermind-ultimate-pub-quiz ready for his pitch to the Dragons – from practising with ‘competitive pitching’ to having the perfect script. How easy is it to cram your business goals into 3 very short minutes?

47:59 Reality Hits!

What was it like to deal with that post-deal rush? John discusses the initial ‘wow’ moment of receiving offers from the Dragons, talking to other Den contestants, and how his deal led to other business opportunities.

Fact Check:
Kaitlyn: (50:19): "What's a group of dragons called?"

  • There are a few fun collective nouns for mythical dragons, including: a flight of dragons, a weyr of dragons, or our favourite, a wing of dragons. A group of Komodo Dragons is a bank. Neither should be confused with A Dance with Dragons, the fifth novel of the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, DragonForce, a British power metal band, or Imagine Dragons, a pop rock band from Las Vegas. 

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You can watch John's pitch on M14 Industries' YouTube channel here:

Episode Transcription

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Guest Speaker

John Kershaw

App Creator

John Kershaw is the founder of dating app Bristlr, which connects those with beards, to those that want to stroke beards. He’s also the founder of M14 Industries, a social app creation platform that allows anyone in the world to have their own branded app. He appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2017 and achieved bid offers from all five dragons.

Speaking about his experience on the podcast he said: “Chatting with the hosts about the ins and outs of online dating was great fun. It’s really enjoyable to talk frankly about an industry which is often shrouded in mystery, especially with a team looking to jump right in! I’m excited to see where they go from here".