Bruce Croxon is not as popular as some of the other dragons on Dragon’s Den as he had always maintained a very low media profile. Prior to the show, he was known only in the digital world as one of the early pioneers of the internet.
Croxon had a very interesting childhood. His father was a white from England and his mother was a black woman from Jamaica. During those times, mixed-marriages were uncommon.
Croxon began his career in British Columbia as a tree planter. It was through this job that he learned the importance of the environment and nature. Although he was being paid 2 cents per tree at that time, he kept his focus on eco-friendly projects.
In 1979, he earned his graduation from Ridley College. From there, he went to the University of Western Ontario and pursued a BA. If you are a follower of Bruce Croxon, you will often notice his tweets emphasizing on the importance of education. He supports education strongly and often tells kids through his tweets to “Stay In School”.
It was not until 1988 when he began to see success. He was the one who came up with the idea of digital dating. He was ahead of the pack when the online dating market exploded in popularity about ten years later. He was the co-founder of Lavalife, an online dating website. Very soon, the brand became a household name and it had over 2 million members. The website started generating revenue in the form of membership fees.
After the success of his online dating business, he decided to sell his company for $180 million. Since he wanted to start something new, he started his own spa. He named his business Vita which soon became a chain of holistic spas in the west of Canada. He also founded Round 13 Capital which is a relationship-based capital venture firm focused on investing on entertainment, communication and information opportunities. Their experience and money is partnered with entrepreneurs who are focused on producing goods and services that offer value to businesses and consumers and while they achieve this, they generate returns through investments.
But, his appearance on the Dragon’s Show gave him more exposure and it was through the show, he was able to expand his portfolio. When Bruce is not busy helping other entrepreneurs with their startups or operating one of his businesses, he spends his time playing golf or kayaking. He is also an avid surfer and loves skiing and biking. Currently, he lives in Toronto. He has a wife and two kids. He also has fondness for warm weather, spicy food and reggae music.
His interest in technology and wellness is quite strong till date and some of his current business ventures include Walkaway Canada, Sprigg Software and Mobilemiser.com. He is also board member of Points.com and Trans Canada.
Bobby was born in 1960 in Ireland. He was brought up in Kilkenny where he had his family business. Currently, he lives in Sandycove with his wife and four daughters.
He is the chairman of Insomnia and is a famous entrepreneur in his country. He has many business interests including restaurants, hotels and food sectors. Bobby got into business from a young age. When he was young, he used to help his father with his 4 star hotel in Kilkenny. When he was 16, he started learning to cook at the hotel kitchen. For two summers, he sweated in the kitchen and learnt some of the favourite dishes that he cooks even today.
After he graduated from catering management, he started his first job at AIB catering which was in Ballsbridge. It was not long before he started travelling the world, working on oil rigs as a chef. He then went to Canada and gained experience in stadium catering. In 1985, he organised for the catering of about one million people when the Pope visited Canada.
During the mid-1980s, he went back to Ireland and worked at Campbell Catering and then at Bewley’s Oriental Cafes. He became the Managing Director of Bewley’s Bakery, Bewley’s Franchising and Bewley’s Oriental Café and his responsibility included overseeing the development of the brand in overseas market such as in Japan, USA and UK. It was in 1999 when he opened PERK coffee shops in Dublin which was later sold to Insomnia. All the proceeds of the coffee shop sale were reinvested into Insomnia and Bobby became the CEO and shareholder of the company. From 2004, the business has expanded from 17 shops to 70 shops. The turnover has increased from 5 million euros to 21 million euros. In 2010, he stepped down from the position of CEO and became the chairman of Insomnia so he could concentrate of his portfolio of business.
In 2008, he became a dragon on the popular television show Dragon’s Den and over the first few series he already made about ten investments. Two years later, he along with his two partners purchased Bang Restaurant.
Aside from being a successful entrepreneur, he is also a public speaker. He is widely known for his upfront and witty speaking style. In 2011, Bobby was involved in charity work in Zambia where he built a house for AIDS orphans.
He is also involved in fund raising for a number of charity organisations such as Fairtrade and The Special Olympics. He also does fund raisings for Blackrock Hospice. Within the last three years, he has raised more than 75,000 pounds for hospice. In addition, he has raised more than 40,000 euros for the Habitat of Humanity.
Barbara Ann Corcoran was born on 10th March, 1949 in New Jersey. She is an investor, a speaker, syndicated columnist, consultant, television personality, author and a successful businesswoman. She is a “Shark” on the popular television show Shark Tank on ABC.
Barbara attended St. Thomas Aquinas College and in 1971, she graduated with a degree in education. She worked as a teacher for one year and then took up other jobs in New York City. She had always wanted to be her own boss.
Barbara was not an intelligent student in school. She used to earn D’s in high school and college. By the time she was 23, she had changed twenty jobs. But, it was her next job that made her a successful entrepreneur in the country. With a $1000 loan from her rich boyfriend, she started “The Corcoran Group”.
In 2001, she received a whopping $66 million after NRT Incorporated bought her business. It was the same business that she had co-founded with that $1000 loan she took from her boyfriend and turned it into an empire worth $66 million. Following this sale, she had become a prominent personality in the real estate sector in New York. After becoming a “Shark” investor, she has invested in a number of businesses till date.
Being a columnist, she writes for “Redbook” The Daily Review” and “More Magazine”. She has authored several books and has appeared in a number of television shows. She has also spoken as a guest business speaker at a number of real estate events. Her latest book “Shark Tales” tells her life story and how she became successful. As an individual, Barbara is bold, brash and blunt, courageous and an identifier of talent and opportunity.
When asked about her rags to riches story, she said that in order to achieve success, you should learn how to fail well. Her success story is highly motivational and entertaining. She is an expert in leading a team to success having led 1000 plus brokers in her company which is the largest real estate company in New York. She knows what it takes to develop a winning team and create a thriving workplace. In her books, she has shared her winning strategies.
Barbara Corcoran is known to have built the most successful and largest real estate business in New York. She has revealed how she has actually done it. From creating a bigger image than it is in reality to using the press to achieve free publicity, she has shared everything that one needs to become a leader in their field.
Ashok Sekhar Ganguly is the former chairman of Hindustan Lever. He is an industry expert and a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. Ashok Sekhar Ganguly was born in Patna, India on 28 July, 1935. He went to Master Tutorial High School in Mumbai and did his BSc from the Jaihind College in Mumbai. After completing his M.S in 1959, he pursued a Ph.D from the University of Illinois. .
He spent more than 35 years with Unilever PLC. From 1980 to 1990, he was the chairman of the company and from 1990 to 1997, he served as a member of the board. In fact, he has served as a board member in various other multinationals including ICI India, Wipro, British Airways, Hindustan Lever, Tata AIG Life Insurance Co. Firstsource Solutions and Hemogenomics.
In November, 2009, he took oath as a Nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. Being a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry, he will serve a 6 year term.
After he took the oath, he shook hands with the leaders of the different political parties as well as the Chairman, Hamid Ansari. Since November 2002, he has been a director of the Central Board of Reserve Bank in India. Other organizations and committees that he is member of include India-USE CEO Committee and the Investment Commission.
Ashok Sekhar Ganguly had always been a true Hindustan Unilever man. This was proven in his speech when he accepted ET’s Lifetime Achievement Award. While winners usually thank their staff in general, Dr. Ganguly was very specific. He said that his achievement was due to the efforts of everyone associated with HLL. He also didn’t forget to mention the hard work of the salesmen who toil night and day in the marketplace. It has been ten years, Dr. Ganguly has been head of the FMCG Company and he believes that the success of the company lies in its outstanding sales and distribution efforts.
Arlene Dickinson is one of the most renowned independent entrepreneurs in Canada. She is the CEO of Venture Communications and YouInc.com. Her success lies in her creative and strategic approach. She is a dragon on the popular television show Dragons Den. She is also the author of two books which are both bestsellers. Her first book was named “Persuasion and the most recent one is “All In”.
Over the years, she has received numerous awards and honours. Her leadership and success has been recognised with awards such as “The Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, PROFIT, Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 as well as Chatelaine’s Top 100 Women Business Owners. As a generous philanthropist, she has supported many causes and since 2010, she is also the national spokesperson for “The Breakfast Clubs of Canada”.
Dickinson was born on 8th October, 1956 in South Africa. She moved to Canada at a young age with her family. Her father was also an entrepreneur and a teacher. According to Dickinson, it is the values that her father instilled in her which helps her shape her decisions. Out of everything that her father told her, one of the most important that she finds is “You have to take care of yourself, because society does not owe you anything”.
Some people today consider her success a miracle. This is because when she was nineteen, she got married and in the next eight years, she had four children. It was during the same time when she had to work so she could pay her husband’s university fees. She wanted her husband to attain a teaching degree. It was quite unfortunate that by the time she was 31, she marriage ended in divorce. As a result of the divorce, she was kicked out of the Mormon Church and she also lost custody of her children. According to the judge, Dickinson did not have enough resources to support her children and therefore she couldn’t be granted custody of her children. Despite the major setback, she was determined to achieve something in life.
Dickinson worked as a debt collector and also struggled to pay her bills. When she would be busy making calls to delinquent borrowers in the day, debt collectors would be leaving similar messages on her answering machine. Later, she managed to get a position in Venture Communications and it was in 1998 when she took over the company.
She is being recognised as a successful entrepreneur in Canada. Over the years, she has offered marketing services to numerous companies including LCBO, Subway, Travel Alberta, Toyota and many others. Today, she manages Venture Communications and a number of other side projects. She also takes time out for her children and grandchildren.
Born in 1964 in New Zealand, Annette Presley is a communications entrepreneur who co-founded Slingshot which is one of the largest internet service providers in the country. When little girls dream of becoming actresses and princesses, Presley dreamed of being her own boss. She knew what she wanted from a very young age and that’s what she has achieved.
Presley attended McAuley High School and in the 1970s, she attended Auckland Training Institute. She is described as the most successful dropout by one of her tutors. Before she switched to computer programming, she pursued a career in accounting. She then went on to sell computers and then started an IT recruitment company in 1988.
It was during the 1990s when she met her future husband at a golf function. In 1992, she moved to Australia with Malcolm Dick and founded Call Australia. Today, the company employs over 200 people and has grown into a $100 million business. In 1996, the couple returned to New Zealand after selling the company and in the same year, they launched CallPlus and i4free which in 2001 became Slingshot. Presley and her partner had 45% stake each in Call Plus and the other 10% was owned by chief executive Martin Wyle. While her partner managed the technical side, Presley represented the company publicly and in media and also appeared in advertisements.
The following year,i 4free sued Telecom New Zealand. The company was sued for over $18 million. The Wellington High Court heard that Telecom’s decision to force users to dial a prefix had limited the growth of i4free severely and it also delayed the launch of their services by 9 months. The matter was settled out of court after a long battle. In 2006, the pair separated and in September in the same year, it was announced that she was no longer the director of CallPlus. Presley was unaware of this announcement as she was holidaying in Fiji at that time. The couple had two children and when they separated, they were believed to have a combined net worth of $70 million.
Being a Dragon on the NZ version of the popular television series, Dragon’s Den, Presley has made several investments and she has also been criticised by one of her co-dragons. She is also the supporter of several charity organisations including Kidz First Children’s Hospital, Dress for Success and Preventing Violence in the Home.
Today, Presley is still involved in her business, but her first priority is her children. She wants to be more involved in starting camps for the underprivileged children in the south Auckland area. Despite her money, fame and success, she knows where she is from and she wants to make a difference in that area by helping children who don’t have the resources and opportunities believe in themselves and look at life differently.
Annemarie Van Gaal was born on 9th October, 1962 in Netherlands. She is the Founder of the Independent Media Group, CEO of AM Media publishing company and an Investor. Annemarie began her publishing career in 1985. She held the position of executive assistant to one of VNU’s managing directors in Netherlands. About five years later, she got promotion and became the project manager of a subsidiary of VNU.
In 1989, Gorbachov came to power in the Soviet Union. His political ideas triggered western companies to form a joint venture in Russia. A Russian-Dutch joint venture was formed by VNU in 1989. This was called the “Moscow Illustrated Press” and it published two magazines which included The Moscow Guardian and Moscow Magazine.
In 1990, VNU sent Annemarie to manage their joint venture but due to the cultural differences between Dutch and Russians, it was not possible to keep the venture going. Therefore, VNU chose to freeze all activities in Russia in 1991. In 1992, Annemarie quit VNU and started her own company in Moscow.
In 1992, she founded ‘Independent Media’ which grew rapidly because of its unconventional approach. From 15 employees and turnover of $1.5 million in 1992, the company grew to 700 employees and turnover of $80 million in 1998. Over the years, “Independent Media” has received many awards and prizes and since 1998, it has been a leading publishing company in Ukraine and Russia in various fields including newspapers, trade publications and consumer magazines. They are the publishers of 39 consumer magazines including the Russian editions of Men’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan.
In 2000, Annemarie had to leave Russia because she wanted her sons to be schooled in a Dutch institution. In the same year, she became the General Director of Telegraaf Magazine Group in the Netherlands. Her role was to oversee the magazine activities and its international expansion. She also launched several magazines for the company, defined strategic plans, acquired the important licenses and ceased publication of those magazines which were non-profitable.
In 2001, she stepped down from her position of general manager due the conflict between the Independent Media shareholders. She remained advisor and on the supervisory board for both the magazine groups. Whenever new clients are in the process of purchasing media companies, she helps them with the process. Being an industry expert, she has in depth understanding and knowledge of how media houses work and how investments in media companies should be made.
AM media was launched in 2003. Apart from founding her own publishing house, Annemarie also manages and owns a real estate company and a publishing house. She also acts as a private equity investor in many foreign countries as well as in the Netherlands.
Alexender Amosu grew up in a council estate in north London. From a very young age, he had known that in order to get what you want, there are two ways. You either pay for it or you steal it. Amosu chose the first way. His first job was delivering papers for which he used to get £10 per week. He had enough to buy himself a pair of Nike trainers in few weeks. It was then that he realised that he didn’t want to be poor. From organising parties to providing cleaning services, he tried all the small businesses he could. It was not until 2000 when an idea changed his life and he quit his computer engineering degree.
Amosu was playing around on his new Nokia 3210 when he composed a ringtone and sent it to his brother. This ringtone was based on the Big Pimpin’ tune by rapper Jay Z. When his brother’s classmates heard the ringtone, they were impressed and it became a big hit among the friends. The next evening, 21 of his brother’s friends came to his place asking for the ringtone. The idea that came to his mind was “if you want it, you have to pay £1 each.” That night he sat with £21 and thought what would happen if he made a hundred or two hundred ringtones.
There were just two other companies who made ringtones at that time and they both focused on pop-music. According to him, none of the companies did R&B and hip hop and he just had to bring those ringtones to the world. His father was not pleased with his decision. He thought Amosu was throwing his life away. But Amosu knew there was potential. On his first day, he made £6 and his business grew from there. In just four months, he had enough money to rent an office in Islington at £2000 per month. He started out with 21 staff. Some were taking calls while others were making ringtones. He knew there were young guys like him who were making ringtones so he put advertisements for designers up in colleges and hired at £5 per hour. He named his firm R&B ringtones and soon its advertisements were on TV and newspapers.
By the time the year ended, he had made over £1.6 million. Within the next three years, he had made another £6.3 million. When he saw that everyone had gotten in the business of making ringtones, he sold his business for £9 million in 2004. He got married and moved to Edmonton with his wife and two kids to start his next venture which was designing mobile phones for the rich.
Today, Amosu is an entrepreneur. He creates customised phones in white gold and gold, encrusted with precious materials such as diamonds and gemstones. His phones are sold to the wealthy clients around the world.
Piers Linney was born in February 1971. His father was English and his mother was from Saint Phillip in Barbados. Linney started his first job when he was 14 years old. He worked as a paperboy for various newsagents. Later on he started to buy and sell newspapers directly from the suppliers.
Today, Piers Linney is a successful British businessman and the co-CEO of IT business Outsoucery. He also appears as a dragon on the popular television serious Dragon’s Den on BBC. In 2011, he appeared in the series “The Secret Millionaire” where he worked at a Young Offenders’ institution.
Piers is married to Tara and they have two children, Electra and Tiger.
Piers has English and Barbadian heritage and he grew up in a small town in Lancashire. After he failed in his 11+ he studied in his local comprehensive school. At the age of thirteen, he had thought of becoming his own boss. After delivering newspapers from home to home, he started selling household products. He dreamed of success from a young age and while he wanted to get into business, he also wanted to further his education. He had thought of a career in law and finance.
He studied Accounting and Law and in 1997, he became a qualified solicitor. This gave him the opportunity to work with SJ Berwin. At this renowned city law firm, Piers specialized in corporate finance and venture capital. But be also remained involved in various entrepreneurial ventures in film, media and business services. He became an investment banker following his qualification and worked at Barclays de Zoete Wedd and Credit Suisse. His experience and skills attained by working in London opened doors to more opportunities and successes.
Piers had accumulated a thorough knowledge and understanding of venture capital law, corporate finance and corporate law. When he realised that he cannot fulfil his career desires in the City, he left the City and started his own internet enterprise. Since then, he has been involved in various businesses and sectors through direct investments as well as funds from research.
Piers led the buyout of a mobile voice & data reseller company “Genesis Communication” in 2007. Before the company was resold in 2011, it became a sector leader generating revenues of £45 million. Piers is also a founding member of UK’s Cloud Industry Forum
His success lies in the fact that he is a success-driven man. He is goal-oriented and with his skills, talent and knowledge of both financial and technical aspects of a businesses, he is able to implement new ideas and attain success. He is passionate about helping people who are looking to achieve success. He enjoys sharing his experience and knowledge with the rest of the world.
In the world of entrepreneurs, and self-made millionaires there are many different ways that people make their riches. It can come from companies, investments, and real estate or in the case of Greg Selkoe, Websites. Yes, Selkoe was born into a rich family. His father was renowned Alzheimer’s researcher Dennis J. Selkoe. But the millions that he has made, the success he has had with Karmaloop, was all his doing, he built the company from the bottom up, with no help from his parents money.
Selkoe got into a little trouble as a teenager and went to reform school. He soon turned his life around and graduated from Rollins College in Florida. He got a job as an urban planner. This position would help him a lot when he started his Website Karmaloop. After he met his wife, and while they were still living with his parents, he decided to quit his job as an urban planner and went to Harvard to get a masters degree in public policy. At the same time Selkoe and his wife decided to pursue their dream of opening a store, selling street-wear.
They started by selling a limited inventory, but they focused on well-known brands. They started the Website, an online magazine where people could order all of the street-wear. And they got major players like Reebok and Adidas to sign with them by promising them that though they may not be their biggest customers, they would represent them better then anyone else. And a lot of major companies bought it and Karmaloop soon took off like lightening. Street-wear is very popular. It is utilitarian clothing that’s artfully flashy and moderately expensive. Because of its style and high price, it’s considered high fashion.
The Website slowly took hold and soon it was making a lot of money. Most of their customers are in between the ages of 18 to 25 but that does not mean that they do not get people from all ages buying their products. Selkoe and his wife both, who are in their thirties wear a lot of street-wear, as a lot of their friends do. They have stars like Own Wilson and Robin Williams who buy from them on a regular business.
They now have a store on Newbury Street but they still get 95% of their business through their Website. The Website has come a long way since the Selkoes sold clothes out of his parent’s bedroom. It is now a global website. With about two and a half million website visitors each month, with projected sales of around forty million dollars a year. And Selkoe has new ventures beginning as often as he can, like KarmaloopTV and Junglelife.Com. This self-made millionaire has only began to sink his teeth into the millionaire’s life.