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The Den Report:How the New Dragon Got the Best Deal

The first episode of Season 6 certainly did not disappoint. It opens with the much-anticipated introduction of the show's newest Den Dweller, Bruce Croxon. Bruce made his fortune by founding the renown dating website Lavalife, back when computers were the size of entire rooms and cell phones were still an idea on Star Wars. The fact that the Lavalife brand name still resonates today is remarkable. As you watch the show, it is obvious that Bruce understands how humans think and feel and he puts people first. He knows how to create a great customer experience but also to make that human connection be replicable on a large scale. The final interesting piece to Bruce and his business history is that with his hip, 'Steve Jobs' style, he knows how to make money. He is going to bring a new range of exciting skills to the show.

It was Dianne Olsen of Balzac Coffee Roasters, bristling with efficiency, rolling out the relevant financial figures for her old fashioned coffee shop chain, who started a Dragon feeding frenzy. Dianne was the type of pitcher Dragons dream about because she was polished, prepared and professional. Her shops were more than proven, with ten years of cash flow and two new sites approved. The Dragons were all over the investment until Dianne said Bruce must be her partner. "What, because he drinks your coffee?" snapped Kevin.

This is where that hard-to-describe "People Fit" goes a long way. Bruce's warm character makes him very approachable. Since an investment partner will be with the owner for five years, if you are in the envious position of Dianne where there are multiple offers of interest, imagine who you want to see in your boardroom when times are not so good.

Bruce snagged the top deal of the show because Dianne liked him, he gave her respect and made her more comfortable. Bruce showed how business can be deeply human. This deal is business at its best. Despite what the MBA teaches, business decisions are more often made with emotion and intuition. It will be interesting to watch more of Bruce and see if he attracts the best deals every show. After all, the Dragons are also competing with each other for the best opportunities.

The wondrous Becky Thomas gave a demonstration of what may seem to be an eccentric passion but Thomson Compact Herbal First Aid could scale up into a big business. There are many people interested in herbal remedies so this is not as farfetched as it seemed.

Always keep in mind that the Cirque du Soleil founder walked on stilts to raise his first round of financing money and Lululemon began as a small beach side yoga store. Imagine what Kevin would have to say about walking on stilts or yoga. Yet, these two founders just made it to Canada's billionaire list doing what they love to do, and surprising the rest of us. Likewise, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Lavalife, the new Dragon's former business, made fortunes, but what sort of founders ("nutbars" in Kevin speak) would use those ludicrous brand names?

So, you see, there is method in the Dragons' madness when they encourage presenters like Becky. Good investors know to let passionate people run with the line to see if perhaps there is the next big fish. Robert Herjavec spoke about his respect for Becky's passion and, as an aside, Robert's book Driven: How to Succeed in Business and Life explores the need for emotion and is well worth the read.

Arlene recognized there could be a vast market for herbal kits and pondered an investment.

Then Becky let slip, "Kevin, I do not know my financial numbers like you."

Kevin said, "Oh good!"

Becky could have got a deal. Why did she miss it? It was clear that she had not walked through the prospect of getting orders from a large chain. If Becky had known what needed to get done, perhaps even had a store order in her hands, knew the costs of goods sold (COGS), how to make a high volume of kits and had a plan to get them on the shelves, she could now have a Dragon investor.

Becky needs a numbers person as a partner, to think much bigger. She should pick up some ideas from Dianne Olsen of Balzac's Coffee Roasters.

Jacoline Loewen, MBA, is a Director of Loewen & Partners Inc., a corporate finance firm working with business owners and family businesses. Loewen & Partners has raised over $150 million for owner-managed Canadian companies, as well as managing family business succession, acquisition, and final sale. She is an advisor, lecturer and writer of business strategy and private equity. Her latest book "Money Magnet: How to Attract Investors to Your Business," published by Wiley, was selected by the Entrepreneurship course at The Richard Ivey School of Business.

Jacoline began her career working for Granduc Mines in Northern British Columbia and went on to work with Deloitte in their strategy unit. She developed a strategic planning model and published it in a book called "The Power of Strategy" which went on to be a best seller. She also wrote "Business e-Volution" which helped teams understand the business opportunities created by the Internet. She writes for the National Post, Globe & Mail and hosted Financial Post Executive podcasts (available on iTunes). She organizes CEO Roundtables and other conferences in alliance with Ivey Business School, Rotman and leading law firms.

Jacoline is a Director on the Board of the Exempt Market Dealers Association (EMDA), working with the Ontario Securities Commission to establish transparency in the private placement industry. She is on the advisory board of DCL International, Bilingo China, and Flint Business Acceleration. She was on the Board of Directors of the Strategic Leadership Forum where she ran the Knowledge Café series. Her other roles include serving as a judge for the U.B.C. and the Richard Ivey School of Business' Business Plan Competitions, mentoring for Canadian Youth Business Foundation as well as being a member of The Ticker Club.

Follow Jacoline on Twitter at @jacolineloewen