Vincenzo Guzzo, president and CEO of Cinémas Guzzo, has recently taken the role of a Dragon on the reality show Dragons’ Den, wherein aspiring entrepreneurs pitch product and business ideas to eager investors.
Guzzo began leading Cinémas Guzzo into success in 1996, when he had just finished law school, and took over the company from his father, Angelo Guzzo, who founded the theatre company back in 1967. Vincenzo Guzzo was just 37 years old and was able to increase the number of theatre locations from three to ten in about two years. He claims he used law school as a means to an end in order to fight the necessary battles to get this company to where it is presently.
Today, the Guzzo name is taking over the real estate, construction, and hospitality and restaurant industries, what with its numerous divisions that Vincenzo Guzzo has established and has branched out into.
Guzzo claims that his and his company’s philosophy is like that of a spider’s web. In a recent interview he did with CBC, he explains that they started at a central point, the movie theatre business, and have now expanded into several different subsidiary companies that bring the whole company to new levels. Everything is therefore intertwined by this one big deal.
A statement that Guzzo made in the same interview when talking about his business experiences and partnerships, is “Either I can be your partner and we make money together, or I have no use for you.” Every entrepreneur is out there to make money and is out there to get into a battle with different dragons, competing in the same market as they are. Thus, choosing who to partner with and where to allocate spending, is one crucial component of being a successful entrepreneur. As Guzzo mentions, humanity has no place in this business, but ego and money are powerful factors.
In regard to taking on his new role as a Dragon, Guzzo has mentioned that branding is a key element that he looks for in pitches from start-up entrepreneurs who will be presenting to the Dragons’ Den panel. When investing, if this element is not a part of the product or business presented, he will not consider it. Another priority of his is that the pitch has to fit in with his existing companies, as well as an enabling of trust between the entrepreneur and himself.
Guzzo describes himself as the type of investor to be as interested in the product and company as he is in the individual presenting such. An investment is an act of effort and time into something profitable and worthy, therefore any smart investor will not waste their resources, time and money on someone who will not put in the same amount of work as they are willing to.
What Guzzo strives to complete as an incoming Dragon is to bring different approaches to the business realm, like that of branding, than those of current Dragons. He says he also brings “good looks and a great fashion sense” to the Dragons’ Den.
We can look forward to seeing more of him and his strategic approaches in the new and thirteenth season of Dragons’ Den.
Written by: Maria Dryden