Marty Vanderhoek is the longtime truck driver behind Smart Lites, a mirror and lighting system to help drivers see into the vehicle’s blind spots to prevent injury and death. (Smart Lites video)

Langley trucker survives walking into the Dragon’s Den

A local man came away with an offer from one of the show hosts but others are also now interested.

Langley’s Marty Vanderhoek found out in February that he was going to be on national TV last week.

He was on the CBC show Dragon’s Den to solicit investment dollars for his startup called Smart Lite.

It’s a kit that uses a mirror and light system to help truckers see into their vehicle blind spots.

“I have purchase orders for about 4,000 sets,” he told the dragons on the show which aired last week.

Vanderhoek went on the show asking for $400,000 in exchange for giving one of the ‘dragons’ a 33 per cent share in the company.

The truck driver with about three decades on the roads told the Langley Advance that he was filmed in May of 2017.

Vanderhoek was inspired to create the system from catching a glimpse of something in a piece of chrome on his rig and being able to avoid an accident. But he also admits to a blind-spot accident.

“And I can also attest to the countless numbers of times that it was an inevitable close call,” he said in his company video.

There are about 5,000 death annually and about 140,000 injuries involving big trucks. Most are due to blind spot issues, he noted.

More than 500 drivers test marketed the system on their big rigs to provide anecdotal feedback.

“Each and every one of these drivers have come back to us to say that it would be very difficult for them today to ever drive a commercial vehicle without having a Smart Lite installed on the vehicle,” he noted.

Vanderhoek was getting lots of response even before the show.

“I’d be selling thousands right now if we had them,” he told the Advance.

That’s why he needs the capital.


Dragon Jim Treliving agreed to provide the $400,000 capital for a 33 per cent stake in his firm.

The rest of the dragons turned him down but Manjit Minhas, the co-founder and co-owner of Minhas Distilleries, said she wants Smart Lites for each of her delivery trucks.

The Langley truck driver has already put in about $400,000 into Smart Lites.

Vanderhoek noted that in the interim since filming, he’s been approached by unrelated investors and is in negotiations. He hopes to start production soon.

Just Posted

Langley twins sell out sixth cancer fundraising concert

This Saturday’s Gone Country - Here for the Cure is a multi-artist show raising money for the cause.

Langley man fights for his life against flesh eating disease

The rare infection has landed Rob Erke in hospital since July 7.

Aldergrove Food Bank leader ‘retires’

Darlene Isaak has a ‘legacy written in the hearts and bellies of the vulnerable’

Junior cadets get glimpse of RCMP life in Langley

The annual summer event saw kids learn about policing.

GranFondo riders to rally in Langley Sunday

The massive bike ride will send 1,400 cyclists through the Fraser Valley.

VIDEO: Plant lovers helped raise more than $2,000 for charity

A Langley nursery opened up their private gardens for the 17th year in a row.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read