The reality TV show may be a great launch pad for budding entrepreneurs, but does it guarantee success?
From budding entrepreneurs to ambitious startups, everyone is all geared up for the second season of ‘Shark Tank India’. The reality TV show has provided opportunities to many startups and investors (‘Sharks’). But only a few of them have received fantastic deals.
The most funded brands from the show include Revamp Moto, WeStock, Jugaadu Kamlesh, Annie, Wakao Foods, Skippi Ice Pops, etc. While brands like Bummer and Nuutjob couldn't get all ‘Shark Tank Deals’, they have made full use of the visibility provided by the show.
While the show managed to bring conversations around entrepreneurship, it became pretty popular in corp circles. Apart from innovative business ideas, what attracted the attention of the audience in the show was the ‘Sharks’ of the show.
Of all the seven sharks who were judges on season one of the show, Ashneer Grover, managing director and co-founder of BharatPe, landed in most number of controversies. But the person who invested the most on the show is the boAt CEO Aman Gupta. Gupta is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of boAt and he made the highest investment on the show. He invested a total of Rs 9.358 crore in 28 deals.
But does the show really have an impact on a brand's equity, sales and website traffic? What do the ‘pitchers’ really gain from the show?
Nuutjob, a brand that is into male intimate hygiene segment, saw a whopping 200% growth between January and November 2022. Ananya Maloo, founder, Nuutjob, shares, "Before we were featured on the show, there weren’t many companies that catered to the male intimate hygiene segment. But now, many companies have stepped up. ‘Shark Tank’ has helped to boost the growth of this new segment."
Bummer, an underwear and loungewear brand, grew roughly five times, in terms of revenue, after its appearance on the show. Sulay Lavsi, founder and CEO of Bummer, comments, "’Shark Tank’ has given us exponential visibility. We get at least 2-3 comments daily on social media, where people relate to us."
After getting featured on the show, the brand saw a huge spike on Google Search and social media platforms. "We noticed that the search volume of Bummer on Google was higher than that of Jockey for a couple of weeks," adds Lavsi.
The brand is aiming for monthly revenue of Rs 5 crore by the end of 2022, and is still keeping up the momentum with its marketing strategies.
Skippi Ice Pops, which got all the ‘Shark Tank Deals’ when it appeared on the show, has witnessed a phenomenal growth. The brand received Rs 1 crore funding from the show. Before appearing on the show, the brand had average monthly sales of approximately Rs 7-8 lakh. After receiving six ‘Shark Tank Deals’, the brand’s revenue went up 40 times and monthly sales increased to over Rs 2 crore. From a regional manufacturer and distributor, the company has now become an international exporter.
Ravi Kabra, founder of Skippi Ice Pops, shares, "The show has been very impactful for us. Today, we have around 200-plus distributors and over 8,000 stores across India. We are supplying ice popsicles to the most unimagined parts, like Jammu and Kashmir, Leh (Ladakh) and Mizoram."
On the day the show was aired, the website received more than 8,500 hits. Kabra adds, "I believe that even if we had spent a lot of money on ads, we wouldn’t have gained as much as we did with our ‘Shark Tank’ appearance."
Despite the success the show has brought, the appearance posed a few challenges too. Kabra shares, "Once we became popular, there were a lot of responsibilities on us. The customers had great expectations from us. For a startup like us, setting up people's expectations became difficult, as initially, our supply chain and production capacity was not in place."
Maloo of Nuutjob highlights, "We gained publicity and validation in our segment from the show." But it has become a challenge too, she adds, as the ideas shown on the show can be copied. Any person who saw Nuutjob’s idea on show, can copy, or may have copied, it.
The reality TV show may seem like a great launch pad for budding entrepreneurs - but dangers lurk, too, for start-ups featuring on it.
Uday Sodhi, senior partner, Kurate Digital Consulting, mentions, "The show features early stage companies. As these are basically unknown brands, any visibility on Sony TV’s prime time slot, provides a big boost, in terms of consumer interest, sampling, inbound calling, etc. It is then up to the brand to be able to convert this high visibility into (business) growth."
"Coming on the show gives brands some consumer recognition, but equity - none. The only brands getting built on Shark Tank are the judges’ personal brands," says Ritesh Ghosal, a solopreneur.
Ghosal adds, "Some startups may have benefited but on balance, I think it’s a very high-risk strategy to take one’s idea to a show chasing TRPs. The judges I suspect are more interested in doing what’s right for them and the show rather than assessing an idea on merit. An entrepreneur runs the risk of having a perfectly good idea run down on the show and thereafter struggling to find genuine investors."