Langford entrepreneur marches into the Dragons' Den
He has lofty goals, a solid idea and a fast-talking, can-do attitude, all attributes Chris Cordray hopes will impress the dragons in CBC’s Dragons’ Den studio next week.
The Langford resident is bringing the dragons his pizza delivery accessory company, Delivery Mate, which produces three varieties of satchels to carry extra cold drinks and dips for sale the door during deliveries.
“It just keeps (items) cold, looks a little more professional and makes it easier for the drivers too,” Cordray said.
The idea is that when people order pizza, they often forget to order drinks or dipping sauces for the crust. These satchels enable delivery drivers to solve that crisis at the door.
Out of about 1,500 people who try out across Canada for Dragon’s Den, producers pick about 200 to come to Toronto and make a taped pitch. Of those, Cordray has been told that about 100 make it onto the broadcast.
Usually it’s the most entertaining or unusual pitches that make it onto the show, so Cordray is hoping he can make an impression. He has one idea to offer the dragons a piece of his business for free, just to get their experience and connections.
“No one’s ever really bartered with them before on Dragon’s Den, to offer a company pretty much for nothing just to get them on board,” Cordray said. “That’s the angle I’m trying to get, that alone might even put me on TV.”
To woo the dragons – wealthy Canadian investors Jim Treliving, Kevin O’Leary, Arlene Dickinson, Robert Herjavec and Bruce Croxon – Cordray is planning to start his pitch with a skit.
Using a prop door and with the help of his sister, Cordray will play out a typical delivery scenario, wherein a customer forgets to order dip and drinks and wants to buy some at the door.
“As long as I make it entertaining and good for them, they’ll put me on TV,” he said.
Cordray has designed the shoulder-slung carrying bags that have outside pockets for dips, menus and a debit machine, and a cooler on the inside for a few drinks.
Another is a hip holster, or shoulder sling, for the debit machine and a couple of dips only. This helps delivery drivers deal with carrying pizzas while negotiating the use of a debit machine, something experience has taught Cordray can be tricky.
Cordray spent 14 years working in the pizza industry, first as a driver and eventually as manager and then part-owner of Domino’s Pizza chain for north Vancouver Island. Cordray designed and then tested out his own products while on the job, and said he had a 66 per cent success rate in selling extra dips and drinks at the door.
The product has been moving in Victoria and Cordray has had success selling to the Domino’s Pizza chain across the country. So far he’s sold more than 80 units, which he considers to be pretty good for just a few months in.
The bags are manufactured in China and Cordray has a garage full of them, waiting to go out to pizza delivery drivers of the world. He has a provisional patent, which guards the idea for one year, after which he can file for a full patent.
“I know I’m startup, I know I’m new, I haven’t even been around for a year yet,” Cordray said. “I just need their expertise and connections. … I figure if I had a dragon on my side to help me out then they’d probably take me more seriously and give me those appointments.”
For more information on Cordray’s product visit deliverymate.ca.