My short bio: My name is Greg West and I have been building reptile cages for about 14 years now. What started as a small hobby it has quickly blossomed into a full time business supplying reptile caging to the Canadian reptile industry. I was recently featured as a web pitch on Dragon's Den (Canadian equivalent to Shark Tank). This has been a roller coaster ride and hopefully it will keep going full steam ahead. Im sure there are a bunch of questions about my business and also about my experience on the Dragon's Den

My Proof: Dragon's Den Pitch

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Comments: 274 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

MechanicMonkey66 karma

If you could cage any human who would it be and why?

cornels_world69 karma

It depends on the day. In real life it would be a lot simpler to discipline your kids with a cage haha. Can't think of anyone to be honest. I have had a few customers though...

elektrolytz113 karma

Nicolas Cage 10/10

cornels_world49 karma

That's a good suggestion. Maybe Justin Bieber. Even my daughter would agree with that one these days.

dunkm1n12 karma

You've raised her well.

cornels_world13 karma

I do what I can. She will be trouble when shes older..

GiantSquidd3 karma

Be honest, it would be Kevin O'Leary, wouldn't it.

cornels_world5 karma

I loved him on the show, but definietely was scared to face him myself. I think most of it is for show. I bet he is a pretty cool guy outside of the shark tank and Dragon's Den

KingBevins58 karma

By your professional expertise, if you lock up 2 dragons in a dungeon will they live to see season 6?

cornels_world73 karma

It depends. Is one of them a lead character and a fan favorite?

KingBevins9 karma

I don't think we're talking about the same show...

awayfrommymind8 karma

that took me way to long to get (Game of Thrones)

cornels_world3 karma

I thought that was what he was talking about

ChadPallesen31 karma

Can you tell me about your experience on The Dragon's Den TV show? Was it a positive experience and would you do it again? What would you recommend for others that would want to go on the show? The big question: What was the final outcome of the show?

cornels_world83 karma

The show was a great experience. One I was able to do it with my daughter who also loves reptiles, but it was all completely positive. I was most worried about my valuation and not being sure if I was asking too high. I was also worried about Kevin ripping me a new one for whatever reason, but in the end he was replaced before the season started. For anyone trying to get onto the show there has to be some entertainment value to your pitch. Mostly if you have a stupid product that they can rip you a new one, those are the pitches that they like. I am positive the reason I got on is during the interview process I had a dragon with me and there was a news reporter in my pitch. At the end I thought it wasn't going well and was almost packing up, and then he pipes up "Oh I get it you want to bring a live Dragon to the Den". All of a sudden the producers seemed much more interested..

What happens after you pitch to the Dragons? After the taping you are sworn to secrecy by contract till thew episode airs. If it doesn't you still can't say anything for 4 years.

About a month after the taping I was contacted by Michael's assistants about entering into due diligence. It is pretty involved and can be quite costly being a small business. They want your books to review, they want you to send them sales reports monthly to track how your sales are going, and a lot more than I typically do. I record my sales as they happen, but only get my book keeper to update my expenses 2 or 3 times a year. If I had to do it monthly it would be quite a bit more expensive. I told them that I was interested in moving forward and getting them everything they required but I wanted to know how involved Michael would be in my company. I told them that if it was just monetary involvement I would just go to the bank and I was really wanting the business expertise to be able to grow my company. I never heard back from them. I sent the same email again but also cc'd Michael's email address that I had and still never heard back. I took that as meaning it would just be a monetary investment and I didn't think it would be worth it. At that point I went and talked to the bank and after a long drawn out process I got the loan I required and moved forward with purchasing my CNC machine, and moving into a commercial space.

Most people think that once you get a deal on those shows that you just get handed the money right after and a deal is a deal, but the deal on the show is just a handshake. Either party can back out at any time for whatever reason. I have seen that only 1 in 9 will ever see funding from an investor on the show. Most likely in due diligence they probably would have backed out for whatever reason, but I didn't want to waste any extra money and give up a part of my business I have worked so hard to build.

The best part of this experience was that it pushed me to quit my Full time job and concentrate on Cornelsworld full time. I may not be making as much as I used to but I love what I do and I typically leave work with a smile on my face and way less stress. I also now have more time for helping out at home and with the kids after school activities. For what I spent getting my family and my product out to Toronto regardless if it aired or not was worth it in the end.

insomniak0327 karma

Fantastic reply! Fascinating. Do you have any ill-will towards Michael? Sounds like his excitement in the clip didn't follow through to the actual investment.

Are you bummed that you won't be able to have him help you grow your business, or are you confident in your bank loan and personal skillset?

cornels_world38 karma

I don't have any ill will towards him at all. I think watching the show every episode he is a great addition to the show. I also think from watching his pitches that he seems very genuine and will invest in something based on a personal feeling and not just based on how much money he can make. He seems like Brett Wilson in that regard and he would have been the 1 person that I would have loved to have pitched too. I was annoyed they never responded to me, but I am not sure he had anything to do with that. Most likely even the email address I had for him went to others first and are then filtered to him on a need to see basis. I think it may have been a blessing in disguise though.

Am I disappointed I didn't get the money. Yes and No. While I think Michael would have contacts that could further my business in terms of overseas buying etc I am not sure how much more he could have done. I am happy that I was able to get on the show for exposure and ended up taking it full time while keeping the business fully owned by myself.

I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but my business has continued to grow year after year and at a decent rate. It may not last forever but every year I keep thinking I can't top the sales volume I did in that year and I haven't dropped yet.

Boredivist6 karma

A lot of the followups on Shark Tank (America's Dragon Den) show that most of the people benefit from the "shark tank bump" but a lot of them also get very little from the shark that made a deal with them. To me it seems like just being on the show gives you a bigger boost than a shark investing, even if the shark does give you the money.

cornels_world2 karma

It really depends on the product and what value the dragon and shark can offer you. A product that will do well on infomercials would do great having the woman buying in on the shark tank. Same with Arlene on Dragons den and a product that will need a ton of marketing.

craigyoureajerk23 karma

What are your thoughts on the case in New Brunswick where those kids were killed by a python? Are there any species you consider unsuitable for caged environments?

cornels_world39 karma

The big 3 snakes, venomous reptiles, and Crocodiles, Alligators etc I think would be the main animals that should be restricted. Anything that gets that big is going to be risky for people other than people with specific training for those types of animals.
The New Brunswick case seems really wierd to me and with recent charges to the owner I am wondering if foul play might have been involved. Only time will tell. Really sad for the family of the boys for sure. I personally don't think the snake was to blame.

BrisbaniteNine12 karma

Just to clarify, are you saying they should merely be restricted to those with training, or that they are unsuitable for your cages?

cornels_world21 karma

I think the animals I mentioned should be restricted to a permitting system or something like that as those are animals that can be dangerous to or those that are inexperienced. While many are capable of keeping burms and the like many are not able to properly care for them once they get to their adult sizes

PoppetFFN10 karma

It's nice to see someone in the business say this. I have been a member of reptile forums and such for years and if anyone mentions permits for big snakes, people get pissed. I love that people are passionate about the hobby, but I personally don't see anyone without a permit being allowed to have berms, hots or crocodiles as pets. period. There are too many idiots out there.

cornels_world14 karma

Any time that reptiles are in the spotlight it is always negative and hurts our hobby more and more. This is the reason for all the bans in recent years. If there was a permit system for problematic species like burm, retics, gators, and venomous, it would limit ownership and there wouldn't be the news stories of snakes killing kids, or venomous snakes biting people. It is the idiots in the world that run everything for people like us. Its no different than pit bull bans. It doesn't solve the problem. It is the idiots owning them that are the problem.

Cicatrized22 karma

Hi Greg,

Do you have any chameleon cages? I'm from Alberta and our air is very dry here. I was wondering how your cages balance the need for humidity with the need for airflow.

cornels_world25 karma

I have done screen cages for a couple of years. I have 4 set sizes and order them in from a friend in the US who manufactures them. Unfortunately they don't sell that great for me so not sure if I will continue with them

Cicatrized11 karma

I took a quick look at your site and I actually have the large mesh cage you're selling. I think the biggest problem with it here in Canada is the fact that it is almost impossible to maintain high humidity when the cage has airflow on all four sides.

I would love to see some sort of glass-mesh mix. Maybe glass on three sides and mesh on the front for the airflow.

cornels_world18 karma

I can do custom but obviously the cost is much higher.

ChaosScore1 karma

You wouldn't need glass. It would look nice, but plexiglass would probably be better.

cornels_world6 karma

It depends on the air flow inside the cage. If it is kept really humid and limited air flow plexiglass will warp over time.

AbbeyRoade14 karma

How did you come up with the name "Cornel's World"?

cornels_world23 karma

The stupidest reason ever but its too late to change it now. As a kid I came up with a nickname Cornelius as I thought it was a funny name. Never really stuck obviously. Fast forward to about 14+ years ago when I wanted to set up a website the only name I could think of was Gregsworld. Of course that page was already taken, and cornelsworld was the next name that popped into my head. Obviously not a lot of thought went into the name, and at the time it was a hobby with never a thought that this could be a full time business. If I could change it now I totally would, but having been in the hobby this long it is the name most people associate with me so it would be hard to change it now.

melon-collie25 karma

Get a mascot and name him Cornel, then it will be a better origin story!

cornels_world19 karma

That's a great idea!

fartfacepoopypants10 karma

I've heard rumors of you being in some way connected to a long lost family member of mine, he may have gone by either Nikolai Chowchesku, or Hezekial Jenkins? He ran away from our colony when he was quite small, and we've been trying to track him down.

cornels_world5 karma

I think we may be one in the same. I wonder if those adoption papers are still kicking around somewhere

zimm3rmann4 karma

Well this is bizarre... story time?

cornels_world4 karma

That's my brother. haha. I was the oldest of 3 kids, and I made up adoption papers for my middle brother with my cousin when we were younger to prove he was adopted. We looked in an encylopedia for the first Russian name we could find and went to work. Still funny...

Incognito6710 karma

Hi Greg, I believe there was a long period of time between when the pitch was actually done, to when it was aired live.

Did they tell you when the show was going to be aired, or did you just have to wait and see?

Does Michael Wekerle personally keep in contact with you and get involved with the business?

cornels_world14 karma

There was a long time between the pitch and when it airs. The biggest problem is there is no guarantee your pitch will make it to air even if you get a deal. I pitched to them at the end of March last year, so I waited almost a year and before Christmas I wasn't sure I would ever get to see my pitch.

Michael never contacted me. I think had he contacted me and I dealt directly with him instead of his assistants it might have ended up differently. He seemed like a very sincere and down to earth guy. See my answer to Chad above about what happens after you strike a deal with the dragons.

tone_hails9 karma

What did you think of that guy who was supposed to be intentionally eaten by an anaconda?

cornels_world25 karma

Reality shows these days are stupid and only for ratings. To be honest I never even looked into it. Obviously he wouldn't have been able to do it. The shitty thing is it sensationalizes snakes and reptiles in a negative light, and it is what most of us work so hard to disprove. How many times have you heard the story of a friend of a friend who was sleeping and their snake came along side them to measure them up to see if they would fit..

Ludozing12 karma

THIS. Seriously, the number of times people say that it happened to their best friend. Really? No it didn't.

lps22 karma

Just like the 'my brother/cousin/friends snake started laying down next to it in bed - the vet told them it was sizing them up to eat them' crap story I get anytime I tell people I keep snakes. I'm really struggling to find a polite way of letting them know it is a myth when they insist it is true. I'd say I get the story 7/10

Murderous_Hobo1 karma

Quick question:

What about a snake starving itself to eat someone?

Out of curiosity of course, most animals will eat a person in the right circumstances.

lps25 karma

There is no snake that can even eat an adult human. I have heard of large constrictors like African Rock Pythons killing children but not so sure about eating them - also, ain't nobody going to be laying next to a rock python

Murderous_Hobo2 karma

Well duh, I never claimed that it did or could.

I was just asking if the behavior of a snake 'saving room' for a larger meal had been documented.

cornels_world3 karma

Most of the time in the wild snakes eat when they can and then may starve till they find their next meal. I would think they eat when the opportunity arises more so than starving to fit the next meal in. In captivity snakes typically don't strike because they are assholes and that is the way they are (most of the time.. some are assholes), but most of the time it is either a feeding instinct ie owner handled rodents or prey type items and the snake can smell it, or it is trying to protect itself.

gonna_overreact8 karma

Any plans on doing extra exotic cages? Waterfalls, features etc? Making true show pieces?

cornels_world12 karma

I have done fully set up enclosures in the past ranging anywhere from $150.00 for a basic small enclosure to over $5,000 fully set up, and automated. Those type of orders are less common, but I definitely love working on orders that make me think. The PVC caging is way more popular now but I still love doing the custom wood and glass enclosures that got me started in this business.

foogiesama7 karma

Oh! A friend of mine bought a huge beautiful enclosure from you for her rainbow boa a few years back right here in Calgary... I always wondered if you had ever done any tortoise table type setups!! I actually built my own tortoise table (for lack of better options), so I really admire your craftsmanship and entrepreneurship- have you ever done custom tortoise-table type setups? also... ARE YOU HIRING??!? :D

cornels_world9 karma

Not hiring right now as I just hired someone but I would probably post on my Facebook page if and when I need someone else. I have a design for a tortoise table that I rendered in 3d that people always commented on at the shows but haven't had anyone put a deposit down on it. It was expensive as there was a lot of woodworking involved but it would be a showpiece in any house for sure

JonnyTwoBalls7 karma

How many times have you been bitten by something and what was the worse one ?

cornels_world11 karma

I don't keep many reptiles and have never had snakes. I have been bitten a few times by smaller lizards which aren't typically too bad. The worst was while vending at a show and a friend having a tokay gecko bite my chest and arm. They have crazy strong jaws. We may or may not have had a few drinks to put on that show

Malatryx6 karma

How long does it typically take to build a rack or enclosure? What's the most time you have spent on a project?

cornels_world10 karma

Racks are quick. I can build one in about an hour. Cages depend on what add ons they have added to the order. Most people add lighting, heating, thermostats etc so those orders tend to take a bit longer.

Right now the biggest time delay is the amount of orders I have been getting and where a person is on the order list. I have recently hired someone to help me so that is helping a lot right now.

jabbaciv6 karma

What's a good low maintenance way to maintain humidity in my milk snake's habitat during the very dry winter months?

cornels_world12 karma

The best option is to get a Mist King starter system. They are a great misting system and probably the best on the market. Marty has built a great business and a great brand that most have heard of. I have been selling them for 4 years now and use them myself on my cages that need them

tardisrider6136 karma

What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

cornels_world7 karma

Having an Asian wife I have eaten a ton of weird stuff. I haven't ever eaten any crickets or worms but most likely would for entertainment. I recently tried frog legs which actually do taste like chicken

ssserpentsss1 karma

I ate mealworms at the last WCRE. They tasted a bit nutty, and like whatever sort of seasoning was sprinkled on them. Not bad at all!

cornels_world2 karma

I am one of the people who put on that show. I have seen those for sale before but cant say I have wanted to try them. Maybe after a few drinks Saturday night at this year's show!

catman4204 karma

Are you going to be commercially producing venomous cages and racks any time soon?

cornels_world9 karma

I have a design for caging that can have panels that slide in and out from the outside so you can limit the interaction with the animals. In Alberta they are restricted so there aren't that many people that deal with them. I was approached by a vet in BC for pricing on cages like that, but it never happened. There would probably be a lot more demand for them in the US but my shipping across the border is typically cost prohibitive for most people. The US market is super competitive as well and very small margins, so I have concentrated on mainly the Canadian market. I do get the odd orders from the US from time to time though but typically only the high end orders where there isn't many people out there doing those types of caging.

Consent_van4 karma

How has it been being a company to compete with huge manufacturers such as zoo med,zilla and tetra?

cornels_world5 karma

They are a different market altogether. They have probably never even heard of me as they concentrate solely on the pet store market. I would love to have their margins though

Consent_van3 karma

Thats great! I run a petstore in pennsauken , new jersey, if you'd like to pick up another client id be happy to review a pricelist!

cornels_world2 karma

I can send you one for sure but more than likely the shipping wouldn't make it worth your while if reselling. I am a long ways from you so the only way shipping would make sense is to buy them a few pallets at a time.

lps22 karma

I take it your main competitors are the likes of Boaphile and AnimalPlasics? (Do they ship to Canada?)

cornels_world3 karma

They ship to Canada as well, but my main competitors are out in Ontario, but they are a lower end cage in terms of the thickness of the material they use and also the quality of the hardware that they use. I deal in 3/8" material and high end (expensive) hinges and locks. They may sell quite a bit more than I do, but I have somewhat of an advantage as I can supply the heating, lighting etc which a lot of people like to add onto their orders.

Br00dr00ster4 karma

Hey there I got 2 questions if you don't mind.

I have found that there are a LOT of different idea's about ideal reptile housing. and they vary wildly by country, do you have any insight about why this could be ?

In Europe there are several countries trying got whitlists for what pet can be held as a pet, this means a LOT of reptiles will be illegal to keep. Do you have a stance on the white list policy?

cornels_world5 karma

Unfortunately the problem with restrictions for reptiles is most log the time the lawmakers have no idea about reptiles other than the negative stigma you hear with reptiles. As they get more and more popular there are many people trying to educate to dispel the many myths that are associated with reptiles. I know in Europe they are very strict with caging requirements and size minimums for housing which is a great idea.

jules_fait_fer4 karma

Here in Ontario we have a place called Reptilia. It's a reptile education centre and museum. Have you found places like Reptilia to be a big buyer of your products? Do you actively try to fit into niches such as museums/education centres through specific means (custom work, personalized services, etc) or do you concentrate on simply marketing a good product and let customers find you?

cornels_world6 karma

I have more requests lately from vets and zoos but my main clientele is individual keepers. That may be because they don't know of my business yet so I am hoping with more exposure I can start branching out more into the zoos

uberperk3 karma

What factors do you take into consideration when you start designing a tank/cage for production?

cornels_world4 karma

Every cage is different and dependant on what is going into it. I don't usually recommend a cage size that isn't appropriate to the animal going in it. Overall cost is the biggest concern for most so I have to try and consider that with every design. There is no point designing something that will limit the sales potential if it costs too much.

JakeTheSnake07093 karma

I was gonna ask you a question, but then I saw you were from Calgary. (Just kidding, just an Edmontonian having fun)

What in your opinion is the best type of lizard to keep as a family pet? And what cage would I need?

cornels_world1 karma

I would say leopard gecko but it depends on your interests. I wasn't ever a snake guy but lots of snakes make great starter pets as well.

cloudiestdragon3 karma

As a small business owner myself, I just really want to congratulate you on an awesome and successful business idea and concept. I really hope your cages get to dominate the market since they look like a great idea and seem to be the best type of cage as of now. I have a couple questions:

  1. You said you always had reptiles as a kid, though did you ever think about working with them? When you were younger, what did you want to do when you were older?

  2. What sort of business advice can you offer others just starting out?

  3. Why did you search for the investment now rather than waiting a couple years to gather the investment yourself? And why Dragon's Den as opposed to a bank?

  4. Was it a hard decision to ask someone else to invest in your business?

Sorry for the many questions! I love AMAs from entrepreneurs. :)

cornels_world3 karma

Thanks for the great questions. I can't believe how many people have posted here. I didn't imagine I would get much.

I can't say I ever thought of doing what I do now. I was never in woodworking classes and my dad built a ton of stuff whether it was rebuilding vehicles, or welding up some contraption that would help on the farm but never woodworking stuff. Not sure where it came from to be honest. I started schooling for engineering as I really liked drafting. Once graduated I realized drafting for pay and not for fun sucked a lot, and ended up getting an estimating job for a glass shop. Until then I hadn't really got back into reptiles other than having a couple, but once I had access to glass I was able to play around and start building reptile cages for myself and that blossomed into building for others starting from 1 or 2 a year to now over 400 a year in various forms.

For me I was lucky as it was a hobby that I was able to turn into a business. I has getting paid a full time salary and this business was really just play money. It quickly grew from that as as it gre I was able to buy more tools, and now the CNC I have which has to be the best toy ever for anyone who likes to draw things and see them built. I really wanted to go on the Dragon's Den as it is one of my favorite shows, and I knew the exposure would be great. I actually never thought I would ever get an offer and was blown away that I actually had 2 offers (The other one from Vikram was selectively edited out as it didn't make sense). Once I did get the offer it gave me a chance to think about what I really wanted to do. Im still pretty young so it made the decision easier thinking that if it didn't work out I could go back to what I did before or find something else out that interests me. I ended up backing out of the deal as I have mentioned before and did end up getting a loan from the bank once I decided to move forward and make it my full time business. I was lucky as I had a cabinet maker friend who had space in his shop and a CNC in his shop could benefit him as well, so it was a win win for both of us.

I had the hardest time with the valuation and I thought I would be asking too much when in fact the offer would have got me more than I asked for. I wasn't sold on the fact of having to answer to someone else though so had I went through with it it would have been interesting how it would have all worked.

ohno__bees3 karma

Hey Greg,

How many reptiles do you own, and what breeds? I only have two, but if I could reliably make my own cages like you, I know I'd have many more.

cornels_world1 karma

Its a useful skill to have. Its what got me started in this. I'm cheap so I started building my own as I didn't want to pay pet store prices.

anatopism3 karma

Do you have any reptiles of your own? If so, which is your favorite? Do you have anything you would like the world to know about any of the species you keep? What legal or social challenges do you face regarding any of your reptiles that you would like to get rid of?

cornels_world3 karma

I have a few but my wife isn't a reptile person so we don't keep that many. We have a very busy and active life so limiting the numbers aren't a bad thing. Currently we have a Red Eyed crocodile skink, a couple dart frogs, a couple of leopard geckos and a hermanns tortoise. Right now the frogs have been added to the restricted list in Alberta so that is causing a big concern for a lot of people. Hopefully the people working on getting the restriction lifted are successful. They have to be the most interesting and colourful reptile that I have seen

taco_town2 karma

Yeah they're beautiful. I picked up an ocellated uromastyx after a few years of planning and reading last year. He's mostly just brown with white polka dots right now but the colours in the adults are probably the prettiest I've seen of any species, a long with dart frogs.

cornels_world1 karma

Uros are awesome. Especially the not dealing with crickets part.

taco_town1 karma

That was the primary reason I got him/her, was hard to find them in Canada but I finally found a breeder in Quebec. Are most of your clients from Canada or international?

cornels_world1 karma

Mostly in Canada, but have sales here and there in the US looking for more elaborate setups. I have done the San Diego Super show one year, and I am doing the PACNWRS show in Portland next month. I do those more for fun as both shows are put on by friends of mine. It is more of an excuse to be a business write off than to get rich off of.

surviro1 karma

If you're interested in making tanks suitable for dart frogs providing ventilation, drainage, etc I feel as though the people at dendroboard may have some interest(myself included)

cornels_world1 karma

I go there from time to time. This frog ban is putting a damper in Alberta. If you have suggestions for what you would like to see I am all ears.

kingshawn473 karma


cornels_world3 karma

Talk to Jim at J&J Reptiles. If he doesn't he will know who does.

1Codex2 karma

Do the dragon's follow up on the deals they make?

cornels_world3 karma

They make some deals obviously but with any business dealing where money is involved they want to do their due diligence before forking over the money which can take a long time. Some deals never happen just because it took too long

1Codex1 karma

They make hundreds of deals how do they keep up

cornels_world1 karma

That's what their assistants are for.

worldmaggot2 karma

Hey Greg! I build my own snake cages out of plywood, they're 5'L×2'W×18"H and im just wondering the best way to light them as to not potentially burn my Boas?

cornels_world6 karma

Led lighting is the cheapest safest option. They don't heat up and have a very low profile while giving out a lot of light

Mackinstyle2 karma

dragons den is like the payday loan of investment sources when it comes to the terms and what you get for what you give away. What did you try prior and snag decisions led to being on the show?

cornels_world2 karma

Nothing really as at the time I was working a full time job, and didn't necessarily need the money. I ended up getting a loan after the taping as it made the most sense.

Mackinstyle2 karma

Cool! So it was more of a "this is a fun experience in life" rather than "I need a solid source of investment." How was the experience?

cornels_world2 karma

At the time it was for exposure, but after taping I decided that I did want to take a chance and take my business full time thus needing the money I was asking for. Getting a bank loan was the best option I think so that is what I did. Luckily I had a cabinet maker friend who had shop space available and a need for someone with a CNC, so I was able to secure a commercial space and some added revenue and was able to purchase the CNC. Commercial space was too expensive for me to afford on my own so I wasn't able to purchase the CNC until I secured the space. It has been great so far. The Dragon's Den experience was awesome and I am thankful I had a chance to participate. It is a favorite show of mine, and I am proud to say I was able to stand in front of the Dragons and pitch them my business. To get 2 offers was even more crazy. I wasn't even expecting 1. They edited a lot of my pitch out and reshot the end as Vikrams offer didn't make sense. Its cool to see how they bring the pitch all together. They made it seem like my pitch was an easy shoe in, and they just immediately invested, but there was a lot of questions, and back and forth before an offer was made. It was crazy but Arlene kind of had me pegged saying that she thought I seemed happy and content with where I was at and did I really need the investment. That part they completely cut out. I thought it was just amazing that she had that correct instinct from talking to me for 15 minutes.

original_greaser_bob2 karma

Think you could you could take Monty Kirzanof Montys Traveling Reptile show in a cage match?

cornels_world3 karma

I used to love watching his show as a kid. He was the man back then. I hear he does small shows somewhere in the US now

jstrydor2 karma

Hi Greg, I'm gonna cut right to the point here, do you have any cages that are capable of housing humans? I've had bad experiences in the past where if the cage is too big, it gives them too much room to kick out of it. So what can I do to find a cage that's just right? Also, does your website offer discreet shipping?

cornels_world16 karma

I think you may be looking for a coffin.. I could totally build those as well. That would have to be a cash job and I would just leave it outside of my shop for you to pick up late at night. Not something I can easily post for sale on my website though.

Rosetti2 karma

Ooh, this is timely. As part of my Uni course I have to give a dragon's den style pitch on how I'd improve one of the on campus businesses. The presentation is supposed to be 3 minutes long with 2 minutes for questions.

Any advice? I'm not stuck for ideas, but I feel like there's an ocean of stuff to talk about, but 3 minutes is not a long time.

cornels_world5 karma

3 minutes isn't long. I was in there for about 30 and had to be prepared for any questions. The key is to know your business and be passionate about what you are presenting. I think many pitches fail when the person isn't able to answer one of the questions they ask

Lygodactylus062 karma

Hi Greg! Loved your pitch on the show and love your tanks, I have a few myself! My question is: with the money you got through the bank, will we see any new features/designs in your enclosures?

cornels_world2 karma

I am hoping to add some things in the future. The biggest problem I have had in the past is time. Now that I have an employee I am hoping to have more time for design and testing

Lygodactylus062 karma

Awesome to hear! Looking forward to meeting you at the spring BCRC show

cornels_world1 karma

See you there. It has been a few years since I did that show. Hopefully it goes alright as it is an expensive trip shipping everything out there.

Cannedbeans2 karma

Hi there! Do you have any experience with aquatic turtles? I know it's not in the same realm, but I thought I'd ask. :D

cornels_world2 karma

I have only ever had 1 request. I have got many requests for aquariums but I don't carry liability insurance for it. I can do it now that I am doing it full time though if you are looking for something more aquatic

Malatryx2 karma

Do you have a storefront or any locations where people can purchase your products?

cornels_world2 karma

I now have a commercial location at 109 1120 5th Ave in Calgary. I am there most of the day Monday through Friday and for a couple of hours on Saturdays

txglasgow2 karma

Hey Greg! It's nice to hear from a fellow Greg. So question. I have a ball python in a fish tank and I'm having a hard time keeping the humidity up. I currently have a heat lamp over the top of the mesh cage along with a washcloth. I'm thinking about buying a piece of plexiglass and cutting it to fit the top of the tank while leaving a space for the heat lamp. How does this sound and what would you recommend?

cornels_world2 karma

A lot of people go that route. The problem with your setup as you know is with the screen top you are losing all your humidity. The plexiglass or actual glass is a good start just make sure not to put it under the heat lamp. Also make sure your heat lamp is secured to the top. I hear horror stories with fires caused by heat lamps falling off the cage and sitting on the floor heating things up

txglasgow1 karma

That's great advice. Thanks! Good luck with your business! I've actually been thinking about starting to house venomous snakes with the hopes of being able to give the venom to those who need anti-venom. If I take it up, I'll definitely give you a shout.

cornels_world2 karma

Sounds great. Be safe.

lps21 karma

I would recommend going with a UTH instead of a heat lamp. Also, your plexiglass idea should work. I just use a quilted cover for my ball python and it does fine keeping humidity in (granted I am in the south east US where humidity is a bit higher than average)

cornels_world2 karma

an UTH (Under Tank Heater) with a thermostat is a much better option than a heat lamp for sure.

bozobozo2 karma

What is your favorite dinosaur?

Also, I have a three foot long adult iguana. Could you recommend a cage type?

cornels_world1 karma

Iguanas need a ton of room. Sometimes an actual room.

I like the stegosaurus most if I were to choose one

total_aggieny2 karma

How would you design a home for a reticulated python?

cornels_world1 karma

I don't deal too much with retic caging as they are restricted here, but they need huge cages. The max size I can do in PVC is 8' X 2' X 2' which might be alright for them but is still on the small size. Once they get full grown I suggest looking at converting a room which most people can't do, or at the very least a huge wood cage.

kasper891 karma

8' May be plenty big. It depends if it's a male, female, locality, feeding habits. We build cages in the us and mainly cater to the retic community. Pm me if you have any questions. Not to take away anything from /u/cornels_world just throwing my .02 in the pot

cornels_world1 karma

Good to know. Lately all the requests are for 4' deep and 5' high, and it just doesn't work with PVC. Wood or modular caging would be the best way to go for caging that big.

TheVaporChef2 karma

I just want to say that you are awesome and you seem to be a great father. What is your daughters favorite animal?

cornels_world3 karma

She says her favorite is ball pythons. Unfortunately mommy has a no snakes in the house rule or she will cook it....

Supercrushhh1 karma

What are your feelings about the exotic pet trade?

cornels_world1 karma

I have always liked exotic pets, but like dogs and cats as well. I always liked animals that were different. It is getting harder and harder to keep exotics these days with provinces, states, counties etc trying to bring in exotic bans. I am hoping that doesn't happen and am very appreciative for those who are involved with fighting those bans like PIJAC, USARK etc.

Supercrushhh0 karma

Actually, I was more wondering what you think about the suffering a lot of exotic animals go through because of the pet trade? Thanks for answering :)

cornels_world2 karma

I don't like the mass collecting of wild caught animals for the pet trade, but if it wasn't for wild caught animals being brought in in the past we wouldn't have the animals available that we have today. Most of the reptile trade is dealing with captive bred reptiles these days so the trade has come a long way.

Telust1 karma

Do you think Glencross is getting traded?

cornels_world1 karma

They are a pretty decent young team and he doesn't fit as well as he used to. Best to trade him when you might get something decent in return.

[deleted]1 karma

What is the best reptile to keep as a pet in your opinion

cornels_world5 karma

It depends on who the reptile is for. For beginners I think for a lizard it would be a leopard gecko as they are very easy to care for and their requirements aren't too hard to maintain. For snakes I would say Corn Snakes. Again easy to care for and very handleable. Ball Pythons are way more popular right now, but they can sometimes go off feeding so might not be the best for beginners

JIH71 karma

How did you feel when you were immediately offered more than you asked for?

cornels_world2 karma

Blown away that I even got an offer. I don't even think my producer thought I would get an offer. I asked before the pitch if I got an offer if I could go to the back room to discuss with my wife and she told me they didn't plan to use the room for my pitch. I was like oh I get it. If there is no offer then there is no need for cameras in the rat pit

thatguyfred1 karma

How do you feel about the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy?

cornels_world2 karma

I didn't hear of his passing but he definitely lived long and prospered

Diiiiirty1 karma

My cat crashed through the screen on my 3-foot California kingsnake's cage yesterday while I was at work. The snake is unaccounted for...dead or otherwise. Do you think the snake is alive or do you think my cat snuffed it and hid it in my apartment somewhere? What are some good techniques for locating a missing snake? Finally, how can I prevent my fat-ass cat from sitting in the lid and falling through again? Thanks!

cornels_world1 karma

I have heard that story a lot. It is likely alive, but might be injured. Im not a snake person so not the best to ask, but if you put a heat mat out with a prey item (dead obviously) on top of it it may entice the snake to come out of hiding. Good luck

Diiiiirty1 karma

That's a good idea...didn't think of luring him out with prey. My cat will probably eat the mouse though :( maybe if I put the mouse in a 2L bottle, the snake will go in to eat it then become too fat to escape. Thanks for your reply!

cornels_world1 karma

I would do it overnight and keep the cat in a room. The snake might be drawn to the heat for warmth as well, so it may stay there if it is looking for warmth

shinjuki1 karma


cornels_world4 karma

Ima let you finish...

LakeRat1 karma

What's your substrate of choice for bearded dragons? I like tile because it keeps their nails filed down and allows spot cleaning, but it's a pain to clean the stuff that gets in the cracks between the tiles and the sides of the enclosure. I like butcher paper because it's easy to clean (take out the whole thing, throw away, replace) but I can't spot clean it and it doesn't file the dragons' nails.

What do you use? Any big ideas in the works for revolutionary new substrates?

cornels_world2 karma

I used to use wheat bran which worked really well but was really dusty, and I was always sneezing. It was easy to keep clean and kept the smell down when they did poop. For their nails if you get those paver stones you can put it below the heat lamp and they will use it and it will file their nails down. Then you can use butcher paper, or paper towel. Most people still use sand which isn't the best substrate. Hope that helps.

picapica981 karma

Tea or coffee, and how do you prefer it?

cornels_world1 karma

Energy drinks actually. Never liked coffee and rarely drink tea.

mothzilla1 karma

Have you ever been in a speed boat?

cornels_world1 karma

Yes many times. Crazy hey?

ecain7111 karma

Greg, What was it like fully committing to your own business? What was your day job before fully dedicating your time, money, and effort to your craft?

cornels_world1 karma

It was a tough decision. My full time job was a commercial glass estimator. Great company to work for and great people, but a boring ass job. Its hard to weigh out a huge risk when you have such stability, perks, and a good salary to something that may or may not work. Seems to be going great and paying the bills with a smile, so I will keep on truckin.

ChildishGambinoFan0 karma

The good dragon's den or the American one?

cornels_world1 karma

The Original one. ;)

ImpossibleLevity0 karma

Is there a reptile besides turtle worth eating?

cornels_world1 karma

Have you tried Crocodile?