By Dale Mulligan
A Ryerson finance alumnus scored a million-dollar deal last November when he appeared on the popular CBC show Dragons’ Den.
Charith Perera and his business associate, Mubin Vaid, were able to strike a deal with entrepreneur Michele Romanow, who offered them $1 million for a 27 per cent stake in their company, Tdot Performance.
Tdot Performance is an e-commerce company that buys automotive parts and accessories from the United States and sells them throughout Canada. What separates the company from other similar businesses is its wide list of products. The selection includes performance parts, interior and exterior accessories, lighting, electronics, tires and tools. Tdot Performance is able to match a product’s compatibility to the right make and model of the car as well as the year it was built. The company has another advantage over other online competitors as Canadian customers don’t have to pay duty or shipping for the same products.
Perera says that he attended Ryerson for the sole purpose of competing in the annual Slaight Business Plan Competition held by the school. He and his friends had an idea for a jewelry company and were eager to win the first prize of $25,000 for the best pitch.
“We spent the whole year before we’d even gotten accepted to Ryerson writing the business plan,” Perera said.“But we actually submitted the plan five minutes late and they didn’t even accept it.”
In 2013, Tdot Performance was ranked No. 12 on the PROFIT Hot 50 list of fastest growing startups. On Dragons’ Den, Perera said that in 2014 the company had $6.5 million in sales and projected over $10 million in sales for 2015.
With such a hot product on the table, Perera looked calm and confident in his pitch to the dragons. Before Dragons’ Den, he pitched Tdot Performance at multiple university business plan competitions, including the University of Toronto, where he placed first, and Queen’s University, where he placed third.
“The business plan competitions taught me a lot,” Perera said. “They taught me how to present our ideas. That’s what kind of prepped me for Dragons’ Den. A lot of people asked me how I was so comfortable on it.” For Perera it just felt like he was in another competition, he said.
Perera says his plan for Tdot Performance is to just keep growing. “Our end goal is to offer Canadians a one–stop shop for all their automotive needs.”