Leila Keshavjee made a grand entrance to the CBC’s season premiere of Dragons’ Den last night to pitch her business, Happy Pops. Riding her bicycle and towing a cart of her frozen treats into the Den, her goal was to raise $50,000 in return for 10% of her company. Last night, after months of anticipation, her family, friends, and supporters packed the Innis Town Hall at the University of Toronto to show their support for her growing business.
Leila created Happy Pops to redefine the popsicle. Instead of sticky and sugary desserts eaten on a hot day, she wants them to be enjoyed as a wholesome treat that can be enjoyed year-round. Her experience in the past few years has shown that there is demand for her new take on an old favourite.
Founded after graduating from the University of Toronto in 2016, she has worked with Impact Centre Senior Fellow Charles Plant and participated in the Techno entrepreneurship training program. Since starting her business by selling outside Toronto’s Aga Khan museum, Happy Pops has grown to supplying product launches, film sets, weddings, and high-end grocery stores across the city. Her 35 flavours range from mango to mint and are made with whole fruits with minimal added sugars.
“I had three goals for this year,” Leila said after watching herself on the big screen. “One was to sign Pusateri’s as a retail partner, one was to open an online store, and the last was to be on Dragons’ Den.”
Not only was she in the Den, but she came away with a deal. After hearing her pitch and tasting her products, 4 of the 6 Dragons made her an offer. But in the end it was Arlene Dickinson, a women Leila has looked up to for years, who made an offer she could not refuse. Arlene, who has extensive experience in marketing and invested in numerous food and beverage companies, offered Leila $150,000 for 30% of Happy Pops.
Not only will Leila have new funding to expand her growing business, she will be working with the team at Venture Communications, Arlene’s marketing and communications firm, as well as joining the accelerator program at District Ventures.