RateHub on Dragon's Den 2017

Alyssa Furtado, Kerri-Lynn McAllister, James Laird and Lauren Haw, BCom'07
profile from 2017

Alyssa Furtado, Kerri-Lynn McAllister, James Laird and Lauren Haw

Co-founded by Alyssa Furtado and James Laird, both BCom'07, Ratehub made quite the impact on Dragons' Den in 2017. The online mortgage-rate comparison website caught the attention of the producers of the CBC hit TV series. They invited RateHub to pitch at a May taping, with no guarantee that the segment would ever make it to air.

Motivated by the prospect of national TV exposure, not to mention $1 million to fund the company’s expansion into the insurance market, Alyssa accepted the invitation. After advance prepping with her team, she faced the Dragons alone on taping day, with her communications team sequestered backstage. Alyssa delivered a polished pitch, seemingly unfazed when fielding the barrage of questions that followed from the occasionally combative Dragons.

Her ask of $1 million for 10% equity prompted a bidding war, with Joe Mimram initially offering $1.5 million for a 15% share. Both Manjit Minhas and Michele Romanow, MBA’08, BSc(Eng)’07, weighed in with competing offers until Alyssa finally agreed to a joint offer from Joe and Jim Treliving: $1 million for a 7% share.

All this unfolded in less than five minutes, with Alyssa countering the rapid-fire offers with remarkable poise. When complimented on her smooth delivery, Alyssa confessed, “Believe me, I was nervous! I just don’t show it, but – trust me – my heart was pounding!”

By the time the segment aired on the show’s season premiere on Oct. 5, RateHub’s situation had changed. An exceptionally strong real-estate market over the summer had helped increase revenues. As Alyssa explained in a Financial Post article (“Hot real estate market cools RateHub’s need for financing deal made on Dragons' Den”, Oct. 6, 2016), revenues had grown significantly. “We are self-sustaining from a capital perspective and decided we didn’t need to raise money,” she said.

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