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Hopeful Entrepreneurs Enter ‘The Boardroom’

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Once a month, hopeful entrepreneurs can now pitch their ideas for inventions and new businesses to North Texas investors.

It’s called “The Boardroom,” a softer, gentler version of the hit show “Shark Tank,” which hooks couch potatoes and millionaires alike with an inside look at what it takes to turn a great idea into a successful business.

Its creator, Charles Horton of Flower Mound, is a fan of the show but says he wanted to see more substance.

“I started this because I was excited watching the ‘Shark Tank,’ but it was more for pure entertainment,” explained Horton. “There wasn’t enough education in it.”

So Horton –– who, by the way, is a self-made millionaire who went into business at 15 with a check verification company at a local flea market –– hopes his monthly meeting will help other entrepreneurs. He also hopes to expose his millionaire panelists to investment opportunity.

“It’s a great environment to come out, learn how the business works and how investors think,” said Horton.

Here’s how “The Boardroom” works: once a month, nine self-made millionaires give two entrepreneurs a chance to practice their pitches. The experts share business advice and, if they like an idea, cash.

And it’s all for free.

The night our cameras visited the boardroom, we watched Dr. Len Lopez pitch his pushup and pull-up device called “The Workhorse.”

For more than 30 minutes he told his story, demonstrated how to use his device, and answered questions, hoping to whet the panelists’ financial appetites.

The feedback he got was –– well, let’s just call it constructive criticism.

But did investors show him the money?

We asked Lopez a few days later if his pitch produced cash.

Not yet, he said. But he believes the time he invested in the boardroom has already paid off.

“Going out there, hearing some of the questions being rifled at the person out there,” said Lopez, “It all makes you think about your product. Anybody can have a great idea but getting it to market is another story.”

Entrepreneurs submit their ideas online. Two are selected each month.

The Boardroom is free and open to the public.

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