Episode 2: Kate Hyde's Response
Q: Who was the toughest Dragon?
A: All of the Dragons were tough in their own way, but a couple more than others. Gavin and Sean both came across as very strong and self-assured, so when they asked me questions I felt I needed strong, self assured answers to give back. I was at all times very conscious when I spoke to Gavin and Sean that they were serious businessmen and that was very nerve wracking.
I found Bobby very tough in a different way- he gave out to me for not remembering my projections and was pretty cross with me over it, which I can't blame him for. The irony is I knew them inside out but when you are in the Den and all eyes are on you it is very easy to go blank - as I learned the hard way.
Niall grilled me on my figures and projections as well. It was like a quick fire rapid round and the more questions he asked, the more I couldn't remember. And he wasn't going to let me off the hook. That was really tough.
Q: Were you nervous?
A: I was terrified. Without any doubt it was the most daunting thing I have ever done. The night before the show I remember thinking I wouldn't be that nervous going on the Late Late Show. I was so afraid if it went badly that my credibility and my business would suffer. I worked so hard to get my business to where it is and knew I was letting myself open to somebody tearing it to pieces - and in a very public way. I kept myself calm by thinking if it went well it could be the best opportunity I'd ever have. Luckily the gamble paid off.
Q: How did you prepare?
A: I was very familiar with the UK Dragons Den so I prepared by going though the typical questions they ask on that show - questions about finance, my background, why there is a need for my product, where I see it developing etc. Any chance I got I would mentally run through my answers. I also knew my business plan inside out as well as my projections. I made sure I was ready for any questions the Dragons asked me and left nothing to chance. I also researched each of the Dragons before the show so I would recognise them and know a bit about their personalities and backgrounds.
Q: Was it as you expected it to be?
A: Yes, in that when you appear on the Dragons Den is it exactly as viewers see it on the television. People may wonder if the show is edited to appear that way, but the secrecy and anonymity is very real. We had absolutely no contact whatsoever with the Dragons before we went into the Den. They had no idea who we were and what our business ideas were until we went up the stairs. So in that respect it was exactly as I expected.
In terms of the Dragons, again, they are exactly as you would expect. They grill you hard and if you don't have the answers they go for the jugular.
While I expected it to be like the UK show, at the same time nothing can prepare you for the experience of it - the nerves, the cameras, the grilling. Its like the leaving cert - you know its going to be tough but you don't know exactly how tough until the paper is put in front of you.
Q: Were you surprised by some of the questions?
A: To be honest - at the time if they had asked me what I had eaten for breakfast and how I was getting home I would have told them. Surprise wasn't an option - whatever they asked I answered.
Q: Who was most interested in your idea?
A: Gavin showed a lot of interest in the idea and asked me some of the meatiest questions. All of the dragons spoke to me at length about the business and were very flattering in their commentary. But ultimately it was Gavin and Niall who invested. Looking back I think a henparty business wouldn't really be Sean's thing and he as good as said this when he pulled out.
Q: Would you have done anything differently?
A: There are a million things I wish I hadn't said on national television! But in the moment I suppose you just say whatever feels right.
When Gavin invested half and then Niall matched his investment I should have asked to think about it for a few moments and tried to play hard to get! I was just so delighted they had invested I accepted immediately and didn't even pretend I wasn't going to accept their offer!
I also wish I had kept my cool under pressure as regards my projections. I know people will watch it and think 'How could she not remember her projections!' but when you are in front of the camera and the questions are flying at you something in your brain just whimpers and dies.
Q: Has entering the den changed your perception of business in any way?
A: The Dragons Den has already changed my business and given me opportunities I could only have dreamed of. Gavin Duffy has been absolutely incredible and is an amazing business man. Not only has he invested in my business, I have also learned more from him in the last three months than I have in the years I have been working. When you see how business is conducted at the level Gavin is used to it can only open your eyes.
Q: Would you recommend applying for Dragon's Den to any other budding entrepreneurs?
A: My advice to anyone considering applying for the Dragons Den is to go for it. Grab the opportunity and give it everything you have. I wont lie, it is very daunting, but the experience alone is worth it. You will never again have an opportunity to stand in front of five investors of that calibre and pitch your dream to them. And in the process get your dream on national television for everyone to see. And if you do get investment it will open doors that you haven't even thought about. If what they say about entrepreneurs is right and they are risk takers, then my advice is take the risk.
Q: What does this mean to you personally?
A: Going on the Dragons Den took every ounce of nerve I had and it was the best decision I ever made. To have two businessmen like Gavin Duffy and Niall O'Farrell invest in something I dreamt up and started in my bedroom is simply the best feeling in the world. Even if it all goes pair-shaped tomorrow, getting investment on the Dragons Den was one of the proudest moments of my life.