Spray-Net Visits the Den

Photo courtesy of CBC.

At the age of 19, Canadian franchise entrepreneur Carmelo Marsala started his own company, Spray-Net. This Wednesday, Marsala took his award-winning outdoor painting company to the Dragons.

The Dragons in CBC’s Dragons’ Den, that is.

Marsala boosted his business by developing an exceptional exterior paint formula and technology for spray-applied painting. His creation produces permanent, fast, and factory-finish results, transforming the look of a home in a day. Unlike typical painting, which requires latex paint and a brush and roller, Marsala created something different: a cost-effective exterior renovation solution that serves as an alternative to replacing a home’s siding, doors and windows. Spray-Net’s work is even backed by a 15-year warranty.

Marsala quickly saw an opportunity to develop Spray-Net as a franchise business, and the rest is history. Franchisees began to sell out in Marsala’s home province, Quebec, and are close to selling out in Ontario. Currently, the company is casting its net and expanding across Canada.

It was only a matter of time before the Den would come a’callin’, and Marsala was, at first, a little nervous about bringing his business to the Dragons.

“At first we didn’t want to do it. We didn’t want to give up any (percentage) of our business. We didn’t want to look like one of those companies that just go on (the show) for exposure. And then, after that, we won the Air Miles Small Business Achievement Award and I had a mentorship with (startup expert) Sean Wise,” Marsala explains. “He said that a lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of not wanting to give up any of their business…At the same time, one of the producers of Dragons’ Den sent me an email, so I said, you know what, this is a sign, let’s go. It was a fantastic experience, it was quite fun.”

Marsala ended up leaving the Den with a partnership with business giant and venture capitalist Jim Treliving. Marsala wasn’t shy about setting his sights on partnering with Treliving, either.

“I was actually quite transparent about the fact that the person I was there for was Jim. All of the Dragons, at the same time, said that Jim has never done a deal under 25 percent, and I was asking for 5 percent. I said, ‘How about we have Jim decide that?’ And we did the deal.”

Overall, Marsala is very pleased with his experience on the show. “It’s very flattering that those kinds of people recognize what we’ve been doing as something that’s good,” Marsala laughs.

Spray-Net offers painting services across Ottawa. You can learn more about Spray-Net by visiting their website.