James Caan

James Caan


James Caan official website

Hamilton Bradshaw


James Caan (formerly Nazim Khan; born 1960) is a British entrepreneur of Pakistani origin. He is CEO of private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw and has been building and selling businesses since 1985. In October 2007, Caan joined the panel in the fifth series of BBC Two's Dragons' Den. Having founded the Alexander Mann Group in 1985, a recruitment company with a turnover of £130m and operations in 50 countries, Caan sold the company in 2002.

Caan also co-founded executive head-hunting firm Humana International with his partner, Doug Bugie, growing the business to over 147 offices across 30 countries from 1993-1999.

In 2001 Caan was awarded the 'BT Enterprise of the Year' award, for outstanding success in business and having already been a finalist in 2000 he was named PricewaterhouseCoopers 'Entrepreneur of the Year' 2003. That same year, having graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, Caan also won the Entrepreneur category in the Asian Jewel Awards.

Setting up London-based Hamilton Bradshaw in 2004, the private equity company specialises in buyouts, venture capital, turnarounds and real estate investments and development opportunities in both the UK and Europe, investing up to £10 million in each individual. (Credit: Wikipedia).


The Real Deal

Virgin Books

The Real Deal, the autobiography from Dragons’ Den’s James Caan. James started his business life in a broom cupboard with no qualifications. Armed with just his father’s advice, his own natural charm and a copy of the Yellow Pages, he built a market-leading business with a turnover of £130 million and swiftly became one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs.


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Dragons' Den is a venture-capitalist television programme that originated in Japan where the format is owned by Sony. The format, which now airs internationally, consists of entrepreneurs pitching their ideas in order to secure investment finance from business experts — the "Dragons".

Show format

The contestants are usually product designers, who have what they consider to be a viable and potentially very profitable business idea, but who lack funding and direction. They pitch their idea to five rich entrepreneurial businesspeople, the eponymous "dragons". They have, before the show, named an amount of money that they wish to get, and the rules stipulate that if they do not raise at least this amount from the dragons, they get nothing. In return, the contestant gives the dragons a percentage of the company's stock, which is the chief point of negotiation.

Once the contestant has made their presentation, the dragons then probe the idea further, often revealing an embarrassing lack of preparation on the part of the contestants or uncovering troubling facts, and consequently rejecting the investment. It is common in a show to see five or six ideas and only one (or possibly none) that attracts the dragons' money.


Dragons' Den series have been produced in Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Canada, the Netherlands, Finland and lately Nigeria.


Titled Money no Tora (Money Tiger), this original version was created by and aired on Nippon Television from 2001 to 2004. It was the first entertainment programme in the history of Japanese television that dealt with the concept of business investment. During its three year run, as many as 16 business executives appeared in the programme as Tigers.


Dragons' Den

In the UK, Dragons' Den is broadcast on BBC Two and is hosted by former BBC economics editor Evan Davis. The second series ended on 20 December 2005, with a "Where Are They Now" episode, giving details of the outcomes of some of the ventures from the first series, shown the following day. A third series commenced on BBC Two on 3 August 2006. Continuing the trend for the series finale, another "Where Are They Now" episode for the third series also aired on 20 September 2006, with a further follow-up episode broadcasting in October. The programme was nominated for an RTS award and two BAFTA awards in 2007. The theme tune and background music of Dragons' Den were composed by John Watt.


In 2005 Rachel Elnaugh's company went into administration; the remaining assets were bought by two of Elnaugh's fellow Dragons' Den judges (Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis). Although Elnaugh was at the helm before and at the time of the company's failure, she blames the problems on the actions of the last CEO whom she appointed in 2002, whilst she took a non-executive role.

As a result of disputes with various Dragons, and the resulting uncomfortable position of the BBC if it allowed a perceived "failed" business person to be on a business panel, she agreed to leave the Dragons' Den panel.

In September 2006, in an investigation by the Sunday Mirror newspaper, it was claimed that most of the deals were unfulfilled after the programmes were shot. The article claimed that the Dragons either pulled out of the deals over minor technicalities, deliberately offered heavily unfavourable terms to the entrepreneurs in an effort to make them withdraw, or simply broke off all contact with them after the recording. The UK Dragons defended their record, with Duncan Bannatyne saying: "We don't hand over money to people who don't tell the truth.", while Theo Paphitis added: "I kept up my end of the bargain. The show is not about a cash prize, it is about us pledging to invest. But people must tell the truth. Simple." A BBC spokesman said: "After the initial agreement is made on camera, both parties enter a period of due diligence. Sometimes during this period the deals fall through."In fact, the BBC has never made a secret of this, with follow-up programmes openly admitting that many deals ultimately fell through.

It was announced on 21 May 2007, that Richard Farleigh had been dropped from the series. The Daily Mail suggested he may have been dropped in order to have a new dragon from an ethnic minority. Farleigh said, "It would be disappointing if that was the reason - rather than anything fundamental - if it was because I was the wrong colour. I don't know why this has happened and I am very disappointed and bemused - I wasn't expecting it because all the feedback I got was very positive. I had even moved back to the UK to focus on commitments for the show. I am gutted that I have not been invited back." James Caan, a venture capitalist and founder of Hamilton Bradshaw, replaced Farleigh in series five.


The Australian version of Dragons' Den was broadcast on the Seven Network and hosted by Andrew O'Keefe. Different from other versions, the host ran through the outline of the business with the contestant then negotiating with the Dragons for a deal. It was produced by Michael Horrock. The Australian Dragons were:

* Peter Higgins
* Sarina Russo
* Simon Reynolds
* Darryn Lyons
* Suzi Dafnis

The Seven Network announced in December 2005 that the show would not be back for a second season after poor ratings.

New Zealand

In New Zealand Dragons' Den is broadcast on TV One and hosted by Rawdon Christie. Initially the UK and Australian series were broadcast, but a local version has now been produced and screened in 2006. The series is produced by Eyeworks Touchdown. The New Zealand Series 1 Dragons are:

* Julie Christie
* Bob Jones
* Annette Presley
* Paul Webb
* Barry Colman

Production company Eyeworks Touchdown is currently soliciting applications for a second series of Dragons' Den.


In Israel, Dragons' Den is entitled Hakrishim (which is Hebrew for "The Sharks"). It is produced by Gil Productions and airs on Channel 10. It is hosted by Guy Zohar. In the Israeli version, there are 6 dragons who rotate their appearance weekly. The first season aired during the summer and fall of 2006. The dragons in season 1 were: Ze'ev Holtzman, Israela Shtier, Aviv Tzidon, Oded Dessau, Jacky Ben-Zaken, and Nir Sharatzki.

The second season began airing on Channel 10 on May 24, 2007. As in the first season, the dragons rotate their appearance weekly. Aviv Tzidon and Jacky Ben-Zaken returned from the first season and were joined by the following new dragons:

* Yossi Moldavsky
* Nir Barkat
* Amir Eyal
* Roni Ross
* Amos Luzon


Dragons' Den first aired in Canada on CBC Television on October 3rd 2006. Season one featured eight 1-hour episodes, including a final "where are they now" edition. Season two expanded this number to ten 1-hour episodes, with "where are they now" segments inserted into the last few episodes of the show. Season three will air in September 2008.

It is hosted by Dianne Buckner. The Dragons are:

* Arlene Dickinson (Season 2&3), the owner of Venture Communications, a marketing company with offices across Canada.
* Robert Herjavec (Seasons 1-3), who sold his IT security firm at the height of the dot-com bubble for over $100 million.
* Laurence Lewin (Season 1&2), co-founder of La Senza, a chain of lingerie shops with more than 310 stores throughout Canada, and, via corporate licensees, a further 320 stores operating in 30 countries around the world.
* Kevin O'Leary (Season 1-3), co-host of Business News Network's SqueezePlay, was formerly the President of The Learning Company, which was sold to Mattel for $3.7 billion in 1999.
* Jim Treliving (Season 1-3), a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who now owns Boston Pizza. In 2005, his restaurants generated well over $500 million in sales.
* Jennifer Wood (Season 1 only), one of the most influential executives in Canada's beef industry. Her career in the cattle business began in 1990, and she now owns a 6,500-acre (26 km2) ranch with over 20,000 head of cattle.

* W. Brett Wilson (Season 3 only), is a founder of FirstEnergy Capital Corp. in Calgary, Alberta and is the current owner of the English football team Derby County. He is also involved in numerous charities. He replaces Laurence Lewin.


In the Netherlands the show aired in May 2007 on Nederland 3, every Friday at 20.25 (+1 GMT). The second season will begin airing in May 2008 on Nederland 3, every Monday at 21.25 (+1 GMT). As in the first season, it is hosted by Jort Kelder. The dragons are:

* Henk Keilman
* Annemarie van Gaal
* Jan Pieter Melchior (2007)
* Willem Sijthoff
* Arjen de Koning
* George Banken (2008)



In Finland Dragons' Den is called Leijonan kita. The show started running in Finland on 27th September 2007 on MTV3 channel. The show is hosted by Anna Sorainen. The local Dragons, or Leijonat (Lions in Finnish), are:

* Kyösti Kakkonen
* Eero Lehti
* Toivo Sukari
* Lisa Sounio
* Kaija Ward

Arab world

In the Arab region Dragons' Den is known as Dragons' Den: Al Aareen (The Den.) It is broadcast on Lebanon's Future Television, which is available via satellite. The show receives contestants from various Arab countries.

The panel of Dragons for the 2007 series consisted of:

* Omar Al-Qawqa
* Ahmad Tantash
* Nassif Karam
* Roger Azar

The show has been scheduled for a 2008 series.

United States

In 2008, Television producer Mark Burnett signed a deal with format holder Sony to produce an American version of the series. The series on U.S. television will be titled The Shark Tank.

The U.S. network ABC has ordered a pilot show of Shark Tank which will be produced by Sony Pictures TV.

No announcement has yet been made as to when the series will air or who the Sharks will be.


An Irish version of the show is set to be broadcast this year in Ireland on RTE one or RTE two. (Credit: Wikipedia).



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