Shark Tank India
3 min read

Shark Tank India

I knew the existence of the Shark Tank TV show in the US but I don't remember seeing any episode. When I heard about Sony bringing the show to India I was interested to see how it pans out.

The mainstream TV channels have a lot of holding power. They hold the attention of the millions of users of the largest democracy in the world. If you need to move the needle in what India watches the channels like Sony, Star and Zee are your best bets. Netflix & Amazon Prime cater to the subset of English speaking urban audiences.

I loved the format and the judges selected for the show. I only knew Ashneer Grover as he is from FinTech a space I belong to. Everybody else was new to me. I remember seeing a tweet from someone about how this is a personal branding issue that very few of us knew who these folks are. I think it's more a function of our echo chamber being small than they not making efforts to expand their digital presence.

Yes having a digital presence is important but in the larger scheme of running an organisation, it is more a distraction. Rahul Mathur who is the CEO of Verak Insurance says it best in the below tweet.

The series opens up the world of startups to a country that has largely ignored it. Only the folks who work in Startups and who belong to the tech ecosystem were privy to the world of venture capital and investment rounds.

The series aims to reach the hinterland and hence it's in Hindi. The folks in the South who are offended by this need to realise that the target audience of the show is folks who speak Hindi. There is a sizable population from the South who watch Hindi channels. Also if they cater to only English speaking audiences they will do the same mistake that Netflix has done.

I've seen people in their mid-fifties trying to understand the terms being thrown in the show. My father-in-law tried to understand what equity is and was entertained by the ideas and how they were being evaluated by the judges. The judges have now become household names. Ashneer seems to be a favourite among many due to his dialect and direct way of sharing feedback.

Namita Thapar's way of delivering feedback was prone to be memified. It felt like an open invitation for the online world to spend their creative energy in making memes. And they did. What's also interesting is how the judges have accepted the memes and are sharing them on their social media accounts.

It is refreshing to see people being able to laugh at themselves. Some of it can be posturing but even if that's the case they are posturing the right attitude.

Aman Gupta is a successful entrepreneur heavily influenced by Bollywood. His antics on the show are meme-worthy and seems like the young brat who knows how to do branding. I wonder if he is playing to an image that helps his company BoAt reach its intended audience.

I am particularly impressed by Anupam Gupta who seems to be a poised entrepreneur who knows a thing or two about building businesses. His thoughts are rooted in experience and he has an excellent voice that helps in the delivery.

As to the ideas - a few are silly but most of the ideas are excellent and give good insights into the minds of the entrepreneurs who are building across India. A surprisingly large part of companies was started during the pandemic. It makes sense considering the cheques being given by Sharks are of lower amounts and usually in the companies that are still finding their footing.

The show has drama, stories, products, sharks with personalities, business ideas and most importantly entrepreneurs. It is a celebration of entrepreneurship.