Local entrepreneur's drink-chilling balls scores Dragon's Den investment

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An Ottawa entrepreneur has walked away from CBC’s Dragon’s Den unscathed, with a $150,000 investment from fashion entrepreneur Joe Mimran.

Dan Fallak's Amazeballs impressed Dragon Joe Mimran enough to convince him to invest $150,000 for a 50 per cent ownership stake in the company.

by Marc Shaw

Dan Fallak has taken the established idea of cold drink stones that don’t dilute your beverage the way ice does and revitalized it with an online savvy marketing push around the name Amazeballs.

Mr. Fallak who originally hails from Almonte and still has a workshop there, approached the dragons asking for a $150,000 investment in exchange for 20 per cent ownership stake of his company. That initial offer put his company’s valuation at $750,000 and after making his pitch, 4 of the 5 dragons had backed out.

“It’s a high pressure situation. If you don’t answer in a certain amount of time, they’re going to yank it on you. I also knew that I was doing a TV show and a handshake is a symbol for the cameras,” Mr. Fallak told OBJ in an interview after the show aired this week. “I tried to hit the right number so I didn’t scare people off completely. I scared 4 of them off with my valuation but I felt the intellectual property of Amazeballs could be very valuable.”

While there are competing products on the drink chilling market, Mr. Fallak who has a background in marketing, was providing strong branding. That caught the interest of Mr. Mimran who ended up making a deal with Mr. Fallak. While he still got the dollar figure he wanted, Mr. Mimran now has a 50 per cent share of the company.

Mr. Fallak’s Amazeballs are gel-filled stainless steel balls which, when frozen, keep drinks chilled and tasting the way they were intended. Mr. Fallak told the dragons that instead of developing a product and then coming up with a name he took a backwards approach.

“I saw the word Amazeballs was listed on Buzzfeed’s ‘Most overused terms of 2013’ list. In my mind, that meant the word was just a few years from trickling into the mass market and being used by people who are not on the bleeding edge of social media trends,” he said. “It’s going to be picked up by the everyday person and from a marketing perspective I thought the word on its own was strong and if I could make a physical version of the product, anyone who gets it would get a big kick out of it.”

Mr. Fallak said he knew he would need outside investment when he had to pull money from several sources in order to satisfy demand leading up to the 2014 Christmas season. The product was gaining popularity, taking shelf space at retailers like Urban Outfitters, Chapters, and Homesense.

“Christmas 2014 was pretty good and the product was getting traction, but what was Christmas 2015 going to look like? If I wanted to add more retailers and they’re going to be placing 10,000 unit orders, how would I manage that?” said Mr. Fallak, “I was looking down the road and heard the auditions were in Ottawa last February. I had numbers and could present pretty well and figured I might as well audition and try to get someone on my side to help fund the purchase orders.”

Dragon funding in hand, Mr. Fallak has his eyes set on expansion. He wants to attend major gift shows in the United States and get into contact with some big gift distributors there. He has also started offering a beer chilling product, Amazerods, and hopes to have a gift set available for Christmas 2016.

Organizations: Urban Outfitters

Geographic location: Ottawa, United States

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