A pair of Selkirk College alumni were featured on the Dragons’ Den final show of 2020 and despite not slaying the panel for investment dollars, Mitchell Rosko and Steven Glass left the pitch with a significant national awareness boost to their upstart business.
Paved To Pines provides high quality custom school bus/van conversions with individual projects in the range of $100,000 each. Rosko and Glass started the company in Prince Albert, Sask., where they have been has been creating hand-crafted conversions for the last three years.
On the Dec. 17 airing of the popular CBC television program, the pair came asking the Dragons if they were interested in spending $200,000 for a 10 per cent share of their company.
“I love what you are doing, I think you are right on trend,” said renowned Canadian entrepreneur and venture capitalist Arlene Dickenson.
The pitch included a humourous video where the two business owners provided a tour of one of their impressive conversions they dubbed “Vandemic 2020.” Directly referencing Dickenson and fellow Dragon Manjit Minhas in the video, the six-member panel was intrigued by presentation.
“Your video didn’t impress me, but your pictures on Instagram do,” said entertainment mogul Vincenzo Guzzo, the grumpiest of the Dragons during the pitch.
Shout-out to college roots
Rosko and Glass arrived to the West Kootenay in 2014 where they first met as members of the Selkirk College Saints hockey team. Rosko was a student in the School of Business and Glass a member of the Rural Pre-Medicine Program cohort. Goaltender Glass and forward Rosko were part of Saints’ teams that won British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) championships in 2015 and 2016.
“We actually met playing hockey in college,” Glass told the Dragons during the pitch. “As far as the direction we were headed, I was in college looking to go into medicine and took an absolute 180-degree turn.”
With Kelowna-based tech powerhouse Lane Merrifield seemingly showing the most interest amongst the Dragons, Rosko took the opportunity to provide some geographical context while exhibiting pride in his alma mater.
“I was in business school where Steven and I met at Selkirk College just below Lane [Merrifield], in the Kootenays,” Rosko said. “We built a great team around us where we just fun building really cool stuff all the time.”
A bright future and entrepreneurial spirit
During the seven-minute pitch, Rosko and Glass presented financial numbers and a rise in interest that the Dragons agreed showed plenty of promise. With a growing team of employees and an increasing list of conversion pre-orders, the duo made a compelling case for strong profits in the coming years.
Almost unanimous in expressing that the two college hockey buddies are doing good work, ultimately all six Dragons passed on investment. Merrifield did add that Glass and Rosko might be hearing from him down the road.
“The bottom line is this… I will most likely be a customer at some point,” said Merrifield, whose own meteoric rise in the tech industry started with the children’s social network Club Penguin. “But it doesn’t make sense from an investment standpoint. I’m going to be out.”
You can learn more about Paved To Pines at pavedtopines.com.