Shark Tank, an Emmy-winning ABC series that first aired in the aftermath of the economic recession in 2009, has been adapted for the Indian TV screens. Sony Pictures Networks India acquired the rights for the show which is in its 13th season in the US. Ever since the Indian version of the show was announced, there had been a palpable excitement around the show and it finally hit the TV stands on Monday.
The show’s concept is rather simple. The judges in usual shows are replaced here by board founders of many successful startups who sit and listen to the ideas of budding entrepreneurs to invest in their startup.
Ashneer Grover (Founder and Managing Director of BharatPe), Anupam Mittal (Founder and CEO of Shaadi.com), Ghazal Alagh (Co-founder and Chief Mama of Mamaearth), Vineeta Singh (CEO and Co-founder Sugar cosmetics), and Namita Thapar (Executive director Emcure Pharmaceuticals) are the five ‘sharks’ betting heavy on the Indian startup ecosystem by going through profiles of hundreds of entrepreneurs.
Ashneer Grover mentions that the show is not limited to the TV screens as the sharks have already started working with the entrepreneurs to take their business to the next stage.
Quoted as saying by Business Standard, Grover stated, “We have already started transferring funds. By January 31, half the people would have got the investments. The idea is to capitalise early and help them grow,”
According to Sony TV, the show received 62,000 aspirants from India, out of which 198 businesses were selected to pitch their ideas to the ‘sharks’. The show may have not made waves few years back but the rapid rise of the startup culture in India means that the show could not have come at a better point.
India’s startup culture producing the talent:
India’s growing startup ecosystem, which is now churning one unicorn after another, is playing a key part in contributing to the easy availability of digital skills in India.
2021 has been a sensational year for the Indian startup ecosystem, which has surpassed all projections — both in terms of the number of unicorns and the funding raised. Till December, 43 unicorns have been born in the country with Pristyn Care being the latest. Overall, India now houses 79 unicorn startups.
Not only this, the unicorns have been able to take the next step by going public as well. A slew of IPOs released by Dalal Street this year found interest of the ‘no-nothing-investors’. Paytm became the country’s largest IPO ever with an issue size of 18,300 crores, with other companies like Zomato, Policy Bazaar, PharmEasy and Nykaa also coming up with their respective IPOs.
Rejection is not the end for participants:
While there have been several success stories on the American version including the Squatty Pot and Bombas, most entrepreneurs tend to get rejected on the show.
However, those rejected need not feel bad about their products. Popular dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel, was pitched to the sharks in 2015. Mark Cuban offered $30 million for the company, but the three founders walked away from the deal.
However, after the rejection, Cuban raised $23.5 million, and his app has over 10 million users now. The dating app matches users based on Facebook connections and includes a discount for a coffee or bagel on the date.
The sharks have noted that the majority of entrepreneurs came from the north and west regions of the country. However, if the show is successful and ratings are alright, it may ignite the curiosity of budding idea-makers from all corners of the country for the second season.
It may even become a skipping point for the majority of them, who may have no idea of how to expand and scale their product as well as business.