Shark Tank is a business reality show owned by ABC and is the no. 1 business reality show in the world. The concept of the game show involves ambitious entrepreneurs presenting their breakthrough business concepts to ruthless investors or “Sharks” to convince them to invest in the concept.
The most important part of Shark Tank is the panel, aka the ‘sharks’ who decide whether or not to invest in the ideas of the entrepreneurs. In the Indian version, Shark Tank India, we have the following sharks (Judges) in the panel:
- Vineeta Singh - CEO & Co-founder of SUGAR Cosmetics
- Ashneer Grover, Founder and MD of BharatPe
- Peeyush Bansal - Founder & CEO of Lenskart.com
- Namita Thapar - ED of Emcure Pharmaceuticals
- Anupam Mittal - Founder and CEO of Shaadi.com
- Ghazal Alagh - Co-founder and Cheif Mama of Mamaearth
- Aman Gupta - Co-founder and CMO of BoAt
Some aspects that come to mind when someone says Shark Tank: grilling someone on the industry size, the market opportunity, the size of the niche market they want to target (if they are targeting a niche market), competitors, financial data on their competitors, how they got that data / how they arrive at the assumptions about their competitors etc.
On top of this, Sharks also want to get to know the entrepreneurs. There are a few episodes in the original Shark tank where the Sharks have walked away from a pitch not because the product was bad, but because they didn’t want to work with the investor.
On the flip side, there were also times when Sharks made offers not because they loved the product but because they believed in the entrepreneurs. We get a glimpse into some of the characteristics of these entrepreneurs but I’m sure they go more in-depth.
The first episode of Shark Tank India was aired on 20th Dec 2021 on Sony Liv. The panel for the first episode included Vineeta Singh, Ashneer Grover, Namita Thapar, Anupam Mittal, and Aman Gupta.
BharatPe MD and Co-founder Ashneer Grover, who is still one of the judges of the Indian version of Shark Tank, has been recently engaged in a financial fraud of BharatPe and is asked to be on a mandatory leave of absence. He and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover, who is also associated with this financial misconduct, has been on a leave of absence along with five others. BharatPe Co-founder and MD can also be fired from the company by the Board, as far as the reports dated January 29, 2022.
Products Featured in the First Episode of Shark Tank India
First Product: Blue Pine Foods Pvt. Ltd.
Aditi Madan aka Momo Mami and the Co-Founders- Rohan Singh and Naveen Pawar.
₹50L for 5% equity
Blue Pine Foods is a frozen momo company that makes 100% natural, preservative-free handcrafted momos using traditional Himalayan ingredients. The shelf life of the momos is over 4 months.
Made and sold over 80 Lakh momos through both B2B and QSR. Sales of ₹3.6 cr over the period of 5 years.
Ashneer did not wait too long before making the first offer of ₹50L for 7% equity with a warning that it was an exploding offer. Anupam pulled out saying he cannot make an offer that’s lower than Ashneer’s. Namita Thapar was the next one to pull out as she “cannot relate with the industry”. Vineeta offered ₹50L for 20%.
Together, Aman and Ashneer offered ₹50L for 12%, to which Aditi gave two counteroffers of ₹50L for 10% and ₹75L for 12%. Ashneer, Aman and Vineeta came together and made a tempting offer of ₹75L for 16% equity, which was happily accepted by Aditi.
₹75L for 16% Equity
Second Product: Booz Scooters
₹40L for 15% equity
Booz is South Asia’s first App-based electric scooter operator that serves at business parks, Commercial parks, residential areas, industrial areas, educational campuses, tourist spots, clubs, resorts and other such confined premises by offering electric kick scooters on rental.
Charging stations, installations, daily maintenance, charging plugins and plug outs are offered at monthly subscription. The vision of Booz is to eliminate fuel vehicles at these places and make premises more pollution-free and add leisure experience to recreational spots.
Last Year the business got revenue of 4 Lakhs.
Anupam pulled out immediately after giving a brutal statement that he doesn’t see any value in it. Namita, once again, pulled out as she doesn’t “relate to the product” and because the product did not excite her on a personal level. Vineetha and Ashneer came together and made an aggressive offer of ₹40L for 50% Equity. Rutvij countered the offer with an offer of 40L for 33% Equity but Ashneer stood his ground till the founder finally caved.
₹40L for 50% Equity
Third Product: Heart up my sleeves
₹25L for 10% equity
It’s a unique brand that makes detachable statement sleeves. The sleeves are reusable, sustainable and you can style them in different ways.
Sales of ₹11.6L in 9 months. Last month’s sales were ₹1.96l.
Aman and Namita did not think twice before pulling out as they did not see potential in the product. Anupam and Vineeta swooped in to grab the opportunity, and an offer of ₹25L for 40% equity was placed on the table. The 23-year-old entrepreneur countered it with an offer of ₹25L for 30% equity which the sharks couldn’t say no to because of her beautiful pitch.
₹25L for 30%
Review of the First Episode of Shark Tank India
The investors faced a lot of backlashes after the show was aired. But there were a lot of people that found nothing wrong with the actions of the investors. The controversy can be summed up with the help of the post and the comment below:
Shashikant Chaudhary, an angel investor posted the following on LinkedIn:
“I was really very excited to watch the first season of Shark Tank India - both as a viewer and as an angel investor. This show promises a platform for entrepreneurs from tier 2 and tier 3 cities to take their business to the next level. Crucially, this show is also going to double as educational for millions of people as it reveals things about business and funding.
It is in this context that I found the way sharks were making an offer to entrepreneurs by asking for a 40-50% stake in the company for 25-50 lacs uncomfortable to watch.
As an angel investor myself and instructor of an entrepreneurship course, I feel, If an entrepreneur is giving up 30-50% of the company in a single round, by the end of the third or fourth round of investment, the founding team will be at less than 15-20% stake. There would be very little incentive for founders to work for such a low equity stake. In the end, he/she would leave the company.
I know it can be argued that the sharks are doing their best by getting the best deal for them personally but I also feel that this is a tricky message for the startup community (especially those not well-versed with technicalities of the impact of giving away too much stake in a single round). I wish people watching the show somehow also know that this is the kind of offer that is detrimental to the founder in the long run.”
And the top comment by Paresh Masade, Founder of Vaave (Coherendz India Private Limited) read:
“Isn't the very notion of "Shark" in a tank wrong, they are supposed to be "Angel" investors. You have been a mentor, guide, advisor and well-wisher, not even close to being a shark.
My views on the shark tank differ a bit, it is designed to be a TV show and to entertain the audience. They resemble more of the WWF matches, very glamourous and sexy, nothing real. I may be wrong here, but many of the seasoned angel investors I have seen, understand very well that it's the entrepreneur who is in the driver's seat!”
The original shark tank created a huge fan base for itself across the globe over the past 13 years. The Indian show definitely shows a lot of potential for creating a massive loyal fanbase as well. It is amazing to see the spirit of the young entrepreneurs and supportive seniors on Indian television. Hopefully, the show will bring a new wave of ideas and entrepreneurs to the country.
You can watch the episodes of Shark Tank India live on SonyLIV or Sony TV. With new episodes coming out from Monday to Friday at 9 PM on the designated platform.
Who are the judges in Shark Tank India?
Vineeta Singh, Ashneer Grover, Namita Thapar, Anupam Mittal and Aman Gupta, Ghazal Alagh, and Peeyush Bansal are the judges in Shark Tank India.
Where to watch shark tank India?
You can watch Shark Tank India on Sonyliv.