Entrepreneur tells WP about the result and what he hopes to gain from national TV debut
A finance fintech start-up CEO braved CBC’s Dragons’ Den on prime-time TV last night. Hardbacon’s Julien Brault, from Montreal, may not have got the $100,000 he asked for but was delighted to put his product in front of the revered investors and millions of Canadians watching from home.
Hardbacon is a B2C app for self-directed investors, which generates revenue from Hardbacon Premium subscriptions, and from lead generation and sales of its two white label solutions for financial institutions: a portfolio analysis module and a financial planning module. Its partners include National Bank Direct Brokerage and Desjardins Online Brokerage, and it also has an advisor feature.
Brault told WP that, during filming, he was in the Den for about 40 minutes under the fierce scrutiny of Arlene Dickinson, Jim Treliving, Lane Merrifield, Manjit Minhas, Michele Romanow and Vincenzo Guzzo.
In the end, it was Romanow who expressed the most interest because of her fintech interest.
Brault said: “It was clear she was getting it but ended up passing. Her view was that we were doing budgeting, planning and investing and that we were trying too much. She said the strength of a fintech is that they can do one thing really, really good, while banks are trying to do everything and do everything bad, which kind of makes sense.
“In general, I believe that's the case of a lot of fintech, so it was good feedback. The others do not really invest in fintech so they were all out. It was a fun experience and I love the show.”
While Brault said it would have been perfect advertising if they had shaken hands – or touched elbows – on a deal, he said the money would not have changed a great deal for Hardbacon other than having the brand power of a dragon behind them.
The main goal, he added, was to enjoy the show and have more Canadians know about Hardbacon, which is launching a crowdfunding campaign on December 1 with the aim of raising $500,000. Anyone interested can register on the landing page on the FrontFundr platform and get notified nearer the date to invest as little as $500.
“Today, anyone can invest in a start-up with high potential thanks to crowdfunding”, he explained. “This is an interesting development, especially as companies are waiting longer and longer to go public, putting small investors at a disadvantage".
Hardbacon completed a round of $780,000 on FrontFundr in 2019 and is among the first Canadian companies to prove that equity crowdfunding is a viable funding method.