Review: KCB Lions’ Den Show Season One Episode One

The first season of the much anticipated KCB Lions’ Den entrepreneurship reality show premiered on 10th October 2016 with the lions too hungry to land their first kill. The first episode saw some amazing businesses get funded while some walked away empty handed.

Meet the lions Darshan Chandaria – a manufacturing dynamo, Olive Gachara – a publishing and PR expert, Myke Rabar – Event Management and Corporate entertainment expert, Kris Senanu – Tech Investor, hospitality and serial entrepreneur and lastly Wandia Gichuru – A Fashion Designer and retail heavy hitter.

Let’s have a look at the businesses analytically;

Enda Athletic

This is a high tech footwear brand presented by Ms Osembo who’s the co-founder of the company. She presents Enda as a unique footwear for athletes made in conjunction with Kenyan athletes retailing at Ksh 10,000. Yes, you heard me right. This kind of footwear is majorly targeted at the international market with just a 10% local target. Ms Osembo asks for ksh 5 million for 1.5% equity from the lions. The lions feel this is too much a risk to take up and offer ksh 6 million for 21% equity, which is turned down by Osembo. She walks away with just her beautiful smile and her company.

I love her rigid attitude because at some point in business that’s what saves you from signing up unscrupulous business deals. However, I feel the equity was too low for the amount of money she was asking for since she had not done a proper valuation of the business. She wants too much but she doesn’t want to give back that much in return. As an investor, I wouldn’t mind that kind of equity from a potential multi-billion-dollar business.


The Comic Magazine

Presented by Kevin Obiero, a creative writer, this comic magazine retails at Ksh 100 per copy and targets young kids around the country. Mr. Kevin asks for Ksh 100,000 for 20% equity to expand his business. Ms Olive proposes the ksh 100,000 but at 50% stake while Myke Rabar proposes Ksh 100,000 for 20%stake. Luckily for him he gets exactly what he came for when Rabar agrees to take up the deal.

Creative writing is one field I haven’t seen tapped into by investors and it’s really amazing to see the interest from the lions. Creative writers for a long time have been relying on their savings to run their businesses and I must admit it’s one of the businesses with minimal startup capital. Creative writing is a full time job for some people and the need to expand would definitely call for financial aid, like in the case of Obiero who wants to diversify his channels of distribution.


Echo Mobile

This is a communication platform used to collect data from clients in form of free question surveys. Presented by Mr. Fabrice Romeo, the business development executive, echo mobile’s unique selling point is its multichannel approach to communicating with clients anytime anywhere through the mobile phone. Fabrice asks for ksh 50 million for 10% equity to grow the telecommunication infrastructure and increase marketing. He walks away just with his mobile phone.

I must admit the guy understands the business’ target audience well and the challenges they face. In fact, the pitch is so good and convincing, but just like any investor, the lions are concerned that the vision carriers of the business should be the ones negotiating. And again, that kind of money can only be asked if there is a proven sales record and a clear valuation of the company which I failed to see during the pitch. A well delivered pitch, by the wrong person, to the right audience. I feel they should concentrate on sales first then look for more funding as they expand.



Kick is a company that recycles waste material like water hyacinth to create functional fun products. They recycle paper to create gift bags. Presented by Mr. Isaac, Kick asks for ksh 7 million for 15% equity.

Honestly, the pitch was too shallow to even get what the business was all about in terms of the product range, business model and why he needed that amount of money. There was also no clear valuation of the business and no investor wants to put their money before they know how much they’re going to get in return. One thing I noticed about the business is the lack of uniqueness and diversification in its products. There are so many products one can create from waste paper apart from just carrier bags. I wish he had a better convincing idea on the use of the water hyacinth which is messing up our water bodies.


Samir Banana Empire

With the slogan A Fruit a day keeps the doctor away, Waithera and Felix promise to deliver fruits at your convenience. They love bananas most despite the fact that they sell all kind of fruits, something that informed their choice of business name. Each banana goes for ksh 10. They ask for ksh 200,000 for a 25% stake in their business. They walk out with nothing but their bananas.

Just like the lions, I still don’t get the unique value proposition of this business. Why would I stop buying my fruits from my favorite fruit vendor and use these guys? Their bananas are just, bananas. Nothing unique about them. Maybe they should look at what that Kisii lady has done with Ritoke. I am particularly picky when it comes to my fruits and vegetables. From the presentation, they didn’t convince me that I will get the exact kind and quality of fruits that am looking for. They could actually use something like short questionnaires to get information on the specific preferences of their clients and what they would want done differently instead of just relying on the doctor’s theory.


Microdot Recoveri

A motor vehicle identification technology that uses dots to secure your valuable assets. One vehicle takes up to 15,000 dots meaning every part of the vehicle has to be scanned to achieve this. With a proven record in South Africa, Microdot plans to do even bigger in Kenya but the lions are more concerned about the legislatives and policies that have to be put in place first before rolling out the business.

I am not even concerned about the legal hurdles involved, my problem is in the manner in which they pitched their idea. It took a few questions from the lions for me to understand what the entrepreneurs were talking about. The pitch was too complex for ordinary people like me to understand. When I was undergoing incubation about a year ago, my mentor always insisted that I recite my pitch such that someone who’s not in that industry can easily grasp the concept. “Tell it to me as if you’re telling it to a class five pupil”, he would tell me. The lions are experts in different sectors and only a well put and straight to the point pitch will get all of them on the same board.

Observations And Recommendations

  1. Entrepreneurs don’t really bring out the challenges they are trying to solve. They jump right into the solution and you’re left asking yourself, why do you want to set up this business? There has to be a pain point that you’re trying to solve, like lack of data about your customers. Just like the Banana Empire entrepreneurs, they couldn’t really explain if there was a need in the market for fruit delivery and especially bananas.
  2. Many entrepreneurs don’t know or rather don’t understand their target market, in terms of their preferences and statistics. This boils down to RESEARCH. Doing a prior research about your target customer is really good because consumer preferences change often and so should your business. The statistics will show you if your business is viable and at what point you’re going to break even.
  3. Knowing your business valuation will go a long way in determining how much you ask for and at what percentage stake. Do a valuation of your business to understand what your business is worth in case you needed an investor on board or wanted to sell it. Investors are easily put off by an inaccurate business valuation.
  4. Investors want to deal with the owner of the business, that is, the vision carrier. I have been in business and I can tell you for free that your employee only cares about getting their salary. A business owner might stick around for a while whether the business is getting any revenue or not. An employee is always looking for greener pastures. It’ll be easier for an investor to work with the person who’s willing to take risks.
  5. You don’t necessarily need a lot of money when starting out. Maybe all you need is just advice and mentorship. Some people would argue that if your business is already doing well and you’re profits then you don’t have to give out stake in your company for funding instead concentrate in making sales.

Finally, the lions need to step up and be in the game. This idea of saying am out because it’s not my industry or because the business is too young for me sounds so cowardly. Some of these huge business empires started somewhere and are where they are because someone believed in them when they were still ideas. This is because they could see the bigger long term vision right from the start.

That’s how we wrap up the KCB Lions’ Den Season One episode one. We’ll be looking at the other episodes and strive to analyze them even more critically.



About the Author

Sharon Adisa
Sharon is a writer and editor who strives to continually further both the depth and breadth of her skills as a writer so as to contribute superior work and deliver client and customer satisfaction.

2 Comments on "Review: KCB Lions’ Den Show Season One Episode One"

  1. Does Kcb Lion’s Den allow participants from other country for example Tanzania

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