A central Albertan entrepreneur has found their way to the popular CBC show, Dragons' Den. David Dionne is the Owner of Blindman Overland and presented the Yucca Pac Camper to the Dragons.
The aluminum truck box camper is customizable and doubles as a truck canopy. It is also fully built in Canada.
“We build them for nearly every make and model of pickup truck out there. They're also built in such a way that you can customize them so you can set them up however you want,” said Dionne.
The truck box camper is lightweight and designed to have everything you would need for any sort of outdoor adventure.
Dionne began his career in the oil and gas industry but eventually the opportunity came up to join a company called Mission Overland Trailers in Lacombe. The company was successful and grew quickly and eventually had to move out of the area.
“The owner of that business was forced to move production out of Lacombe and being a local Alberta kid born and raised. I really wanted to stay close to the mountains. I had this idea for a camper that nobody in Canada was manufacturing at the time, and I really wanted one. I didn’t find anybody that was making them. We built a prototype and we launched it at the Alberta Outdoor Adventure Expo on the first year that launched and sold our first unit at that show. It's kind of been history ever since,” explained Dionne.
Dionne has been growing Blindman Overland for the past three years. Dragons' Den was something that was always in the back of his mind and was a resource he wanted to use to grow his company even more.
“We were looking for ways to kind of break out into the Canadian market and growing up as a fledgling entrepreneur, I was always watching the Dragons. As a kid, I thought one day that would be really cool to go on when I had a decent product that I was really happy with and I wanted to share it,” he explained.
Despite being a dream of his, he wanted to make the best impression he could and declined his first opportunity on the show.
“It was as simple as just applying. We applied in our first year and actually got selected to present to the Dragons. We were so new in the business and we didn't have a lot of sales going. We wanted to really put our best foot forward. We opted out of calling the first year in the hopes to try to apply and maybe get it again the next year and that's exactly what happened,” explained Dionne.
Dionne is bound by a confidentiality agreement with CBC and cannot share the outcome of his pitch on the show but said the overall experience was a positive one.
“The production itself is really cool. We got to put the truck inside of the giant elevator and lift it up into a skyscraper, downtown Toronto. The experience itself was very interesting. I would recommend any entrepreneur that's considering launching a product to try to look at that as an avenue,” said Dionne.
The staff of the show helped David set-up for his pitch and pushed his truck on set which couldn’t have a battery inside the skyscraper. They were also very welcoming to his dog, Zeus who accompanied him. Dionne said he was more nervous about appearing on national television than delivering his pitch.
“There was a few times where we got a little flustered as you could expect. But ultimately, I think we did really well. I think the show will speak for itself too,” he added.
You can see the outcome of David Dionne’s pitch on the CBC’s Dragons' Den on tonight (November 23rd) at 8:00PM.
Blindman Overland is located in Lacombe on 5501 Wolf Creek Drive, you can find more information about David’s business here.