Trevor McWhinney, the Abbotsford-raised film producer who came up with the reality fight show called Gotta Grudge, knocked 'em out with his business moves on CBC's Dragons' Den.
The prize was a new partnership with franchise mogul Jim Treliving and Internet entrepreneur and spa owner Bruce Croxon.
"They've already opened doors for that would've taken me alone at least a decade to build," said McWhinney, w ho made his pitch months ago but couldn't talk about the outcome until after the episode aired on CBC last Wednesday.
With their connections, McWhinney said they've already met with executives at the big networks in Canada, such as TSN, Bell and Rogers, to promote his show.
Gotta Grudge is a reality show in which ordinary people - not actors or professional fighters - settle their grudges in a boxing ring in front of real audiences of 1,500 to 2,000 people, complete with colour commentary, much of which McWhinney writes himself.
McWhinney, 33, shot his show's first season two years ago at a couple of Abbotsford venues, and to date, the episodes have been broadcast 700 times and have been seen in 30 countries.
He took his pitch to the Dragons' Den, with the hopes of using their expertise to take him into the United States market.
McWhinney asked for $50,000 for 25 per cent of his company, but happily accepted $50,000 for 35 per cent of the company when the two Dragons offered to join his venture. His strategy was not to go in for the big money, but to get linked with the Dragons' expertise and connections.
"I came for the possible contracts and their tools . . . not to walk away with a pocket full of money," he said. "You keep your ego in check - if they become your partner, they're doing you a favour. They're so big, they don't need you."
Much of the "boring stuff" like discussion of tax credits and figures that were in the actual taping was edited, but it also included some long minutes of McWhinney clashing swords with Kevin O'Leary.
McWhin-ney he also had a couple of "oh s . . t" moments, when his two fighters were facing a wardrobe malfunction and when he forgot his well-practised script momentarily.
Because his taping segment was delayed, the costumes the two fighters were to tear away began to disassemble prematurely. And the producers gave Arlene Dickinson the fight bell to ring, which threw McWhinney off from his carefully rehearsed script.
"I'm amazed at how calm I looked. I was sweating bullets," he said. But after he played his promo clip and the Dragons gave it a healthy applause, he knew he could reel some of them in and he relaxed.
The Dragons' were very encouraging, and overall, "It was an amazing experience," McWhinney said.
He also noted that it may have been the first time a reality show made a pitch on a reality show.