Burnaby advertising company meets with Dragon’s DenNov 17, 2011
BY JANAYA FULLER-EVANS, BURNABY NOW
Ads on Naps co-founders Jag Manhas and Phil Chow entered the Dragon’s Den voluntarily, and survived.
Manhas, a British Columbia Institute of Technology student and Chow, a Simon Fraser University alumnus, took part in a mini Dragon’s Den at SFU’s Surrey campus on Sept. 9.
The advertising company sells high-definition ad space on napkins, which are supplied free of charge to businesses in Canada.
The Ads on Naps team went up against another team – presenting a social networking venture called Caregaroo – and met with Jim Treliving and Bruce Croxon from CBC’s Dragon’s Den.
Treliving is the owner of Boston Pizza International and Croxon is the founder of Lavalife and Vida Spas.
The Caregaroo team presented the winning business pitch, but Treliving and Croxon were interested in the Ads on Naps concept, according to the founders.
“Both Phil and I started talking to Jim and Bruce,” Manhas says in a phone interview on Oct. 21. “Hopefully we’re going to get a deal done with Jim on the side, and we’ve been invited to the show in Toronto.
They’re working on getting their napkins in every Mr. Lube in Canada, according to Manhas, and possibly every Boston Pizza across Canada, as well.
The company also prints QR codes – scanable bar codes – on the napkins, with micro-websites attached to the codes. The codes can be accessed using a barcode scanner application on a smart phone.
“It’s not just a print ad, it’s a digital ad that goes right to your phone with a micro-site,” Manhas explains. “You can view video, galleries, get directions, click to call, play a game, or enter a contest.”
The company plans to supply the napkins to bars, restaurants, cafes, stadiums, airlines and other businesses free of charge, he says. The company hopes to have its napkins picked up by franchises, he adds.
Ads on Naps currently has a campaign for Open Road Autogroup for the Scion IQ.
The company uses Facebook and Twitter to engage with prospective clients and promote its campaigns, including a Scion IQ contest, Canucks ticket giveaways and gift card giveaways, Manhas says.
“Facebook’s starting to blow up pretty nicely,” he says. The company’s Facebook page had 161 likes as of Oct. 24.
The company is also holding a one-day event at a Blenz in Surrey in November, Manhas adds.
“We’re still pretty fresh,” he says of the company, adding that once the company completes its market research, it’ll take off.
Manhas and Chow, who attended Alpha Secondary together, have been working on the concept for a year and a half, Chow says.
Chow works full-time, while Manhas attends SFU, so the pair has worked on it on the side as much as possible, along with a team of helpers.
They’ve also put in some money, as well, Manhas says, so they hope to see a return.
“In other places around the world it’s really, really successful,” Manhas says, noting that no one is doing it in Vancouver as of yet.
The pair hopes to get the company’s napkins in businesses across the country.
“When the time comes to expand across Canada, we’ll look at investors,” he says. “Right now we’ve used our own personal savings to really get going.”
The mini-Dragon’s Den was put on by the Beedie School of Business, in partnership with Venture Connection and Coast Capital Savings. Venture Connection provides support and advice to student ventures at SFU.
Manhas and Chow have received support from Venture Connection, Manhas says, and are open to being contacted by entrepreneurs to give back that support to new ventures, as well.
For more information on Ads on Naps, go www.adsonnaps.com. The company is also on Twitter @adsonnaps, and has an AdsOnNaps page on Facebook.