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Life after Dragons’ Den with Partner Vikram Vij

Life after Dragons’ Den with Partner Vikram Vij
handshakeJamie Draves may have entered the Dragons’ Den alone, but he left with a partner; Vikram Vij. Since first appearing on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, a lot has changed for Jamie and his Ontario-based company, Katan Kitchens. Jamie initially entered ‘The Den’ with a goal of garnering funds for the development of a gluten-free processing facility in Northern Ontario, which would be used to clean the quinoa variety he developed, now branded as Quinta Quinoa. Click here to see how things went down back in March of 2015. After a bidding war between Dragons, Vikram Vij came out on top and he and Jamie shook on a $200,000 deal. After filming took place, Jamie reflected on his experience: “It is tough to make those kinds of split decisions where the offers from both sides are positive, but quite different. Fortunately, we were well prepared going in and knew what we wanted and ultimately Vikram Vij’s offer fit best with our strategic goals.”

DragonsDragons’ Den is a highly rated Canadian program where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch products and business ideas to highly successful business moguls, also known as “The Dragons”, in hopes of garnering an investment and a strategic partner. Careful determination went into Jamie’s decision to appear on the show. After being approached by producers of Dragons’ Den at a tradeshow in Toronto, his initial decision was that his company wasn’t ready to make a pitch to the Dragons, as Katan Kitchens was still pre-revenue. Jamie, along with a team of business mentors carefully deliberated the opportunity and developed business conditions that would be required before doing the pitch. Several weeks went by and very few of these conditons were met, and Jamie began preparing an e-mail to producers declining their invitation. Less than a day before his scheduled filming date, the final conditions were achieved and Jamie quickly prepared to head to Toronto to face the Dragons. The result of this decision was a successful deal with chef and restaurant owner Vikram Vij.

Developments since the initial handshake were highlighted on an update episode of Dragon’s Den that aired on February 3rd, 2016, coinciding with the commercial release of Katan’s high quality superfood product, Quinta Quinoa! Click here to watch the update segment! Since the February release date, Jamie and the Quinta team have launched online sales, participated in numerous tradeshows selling Quinta Quinoa and are continuing to gain momentum into retail locations across Ontario, including a growing list of farm stores, retail locations, and larger grocery chains including Sobey’s. A complete list of Quinta Quinoa retailers can be found here.

quinoa-in-storesNow, nearly two years after filming, Jamie’s company is in a position where their partnership with Vikram Vij is beginning to flourish. With sales ramping up leading up to the 2016 crop harvest, Jamie is excited to work with Vikram to utilize his connections in order to grow the awareness of this special brand of quinoa. Jamie and Vikram will be walking the CHFA trade show floor on September 17th and 18th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre promoting their partnership and talking with vendors. The Canadian Food Health Association (CHFA) is dedicated to bringing together manufacturers, distributors, retailers etc. from the natural food and organic products markets. The annual trade show is a great place for these members to come together and discuss their products and innovations and promote the growth of the natural food and health product industries. If you are planning to visit the trade show, keep your eye out for Jamie and Vikram!

Despite the challenges leading up to his initial pitch in The Den, it’s an experience Jamie said was “valuable to his company’s growth”, and something he would definitely recommend to fellow entrepreneurs, as it really helped him give the push he needed to begin sales. Jamie says, “First and foremost, Dragon’s Den is a great way to grow the awareness of your product. The ability to make a connection with an investor through a handshake, and then finalize a deal, was the ‘dressing’ on our quinoa!”

Posted on: September 14th, 2016

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