Shark Tank India: Your Ticket to Startup Fame [Format, Tips & More]

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Shark Tank isn't just a reality show. It's a hope for millions of entrepreneurs worldwide. And we Indians are the most hopeful 'lot' out of all. Who would have thought Shark Tank India would be a reality just after the pandemic, but now it’s here, let’s make the most out of it. 

The announcement from Sony about the India version of the popular American reality TV on June 22nd brought a hopeful wave after a prolonged period of uncertainty (thanks to the Pandemic).  

Many have already started visualizing this as the perfect opportunity that can catapult them into the 'BIG' league. 

  

 

The announcement promo itself was an interesting one from Sony. 

The story of an MBA graduate who wants to start a business - looked down upon father, adults, friends, even his girlfriend’s father, isn’t a unique story. Every entrepreneur in India has seen this ‘discrimination’ and ‘disgust’ from the ones who are closest. 

But with the chance to get in front of experts (and get funded) served on a platter in the form of a reality show, every passionate entrepreneur can dream about becoming the next big unicorn. Surely, the scenario being portrayed is picture-perfect - a ‘rags to riches’ moment ready to happen. 

With the success of Shark Tank Startups in the US, Australia and elsewhere, the opportunity isn’t something to be overlooked. 

Table of Contents

Important Information & Dates for Shark Tank India

  • Brought to India by SET India
  • To be Telecasted on SonyLiv
  • Registrations Open From: 22 June 2021
  • Registrations Close: 21 July 2021
  • Registration Link: https://sharktank.sonyliv.com/

How to Register for Shark Tank India?

  • Download the SonyLIV App
  • Search for Shark Tank India 
  • Click on the Register Now Banner and Fill Out the Form 

You can also visit https://sharktank.sonyliv.com/ to start the registration process. 

Shark Tank India Format 

 Shark Tank started in the US where investors like Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, Kevin Harrington, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner listened to a pitch on live TV and offered real investment for startups they believed in.  

Many startups went on to become big names in their industries after infusion of capital by sharks (or through the Shark’s network). More often, even if the startup failed to get an investment, the visibility they got from the platform brought amazing growth for them. (like Ring Doorbell, Copa Di Vino, etc.)

Now, the show coming to India translates into ‘high hopes’ for Indian startups and enthusiastic entrepreneurs (especially those who seek investors). 

The show format will be loosely based on the American counterpart where an entrepreneur gets into the tank asking for a specific amount of investment. If he/she manages to get the interest of one (or multiple) sharks for the amount asked, he/she gets the funding (and additional support). 

In return, startups (or entrepreneurs) are ready to offer a percentage of their business ownership to the investor in return, just like a classic funding deal.

But here, there's more - if you manage to get on-screen, you will be seen by thousands of potential customers and other investors across the country & the world via the OTT platform- SonyLIV. Meaning - eyeballs to your website, product, or startup. 

Investors in Shark Tank India - Who will Be The Judges in Shark Tank India?

There has not been an official update on the investors who will join Shark Tank India but the rumor market is ripe with speculations.

As far as the available information, it is confirmed that the panel will consist of 5 judges (investors). 

In the US (and elsewhere), stalwarts from multiple industries are seen in the tank. In India too, the same will be the case, it seems. 

Preparing for Shark Tank India

Enough about the show format and fundamentals, let's get down to the exciting part - how do you prepare for Shark Tank India?

Like the official videos suggest - the info you add to the registration form and subsequent screening rounds are extremely crucial. So, you better be ready with a market-ready pitch that speaks to the investors as well as other stakeholders. 

Remember, this is not like a sales pitch where you'll just tell them about the product, benefits and the problems you can solve. 

Shark Tank is 100% real as an investment round where the other party will ask you hard facts to substantiate everything - from your valuation to your revenues, projection to your own experience, and possibly more. 

What You Need to Create a Stellar Pitch for Shark Tank India?

Creating an investor pitch is not a new thing if you're a startup owner, but if you're ambitious to be on the Shark Tank, you need to do more than just an awesome pitch deck. 

Often, it is seen on Shark Tank US that founders, first-time entrepreneurs and product owners make the same mistake over and over again. They overwhelm the judges with loads of information and undermine their understanding of the market.

Also, it would be interesting to see a peculiar problem in the Indian Shark Tank. Much like the reality shows on Indian TV, this can soon turn into a storytelling endeavor with 'sob stories' of enterprising entrepreneurs from around the country (Because that sells on Indian Reality TV). Just hope that won't get true for Shark Tank India. 

Many times, entrepreneurs don't realize that even if the baby (startup idea) is special to them, it might not be the case with investors. The investors in the tank might not see you eye to eye and that's where the problem starts.

So, what you should do to not goof up the chances of you landing in front of millions o TV (and possibly secure funding, too). Here's something to help you get started:  

Know your Product

Investors are practical who might not care about your personal story much but the impact your startup has created (or the potential of a new idea). That’s why it's better (and safe) to keep your pitch around what's concrete (and real) and not get into the ‘idea theory’ and ‘potential’ much.

Here's what you should be part of your product pitch before entering the tank:

    • Your Product (Technology, Idea, Features, Bugs, Competitors, Failures) 
    • Distribution Strategy
    • Annual Revenues 
    • Market Impact
    • Intellectual Property Status 

Know your Numbers 

Numbers would be your best friend going forward in Shark Tank. If you know your Numbers, there are high chances you get desired attention in the tank.

Throughout the seasons in the US, the investors raised the biggest red flags to startups who had confusing numbers (or no idea at all). 

Hence, you should have all your numbers at tips. Some of the numbers you should know include:

    • Cost of Customer Acquisition
    • Annual Revenue
    • Annual Recurring Revenue
    • Profit Percentage (after paying yourself)
    • Industry averages

Know the Investors

You can never expect a positive response from a stranger (except when you offer a free holiday trip without any conditions). 

So, how can you expect a positive outcome if you don't know something about the investors you're about to pitch. 

Do your research and be thorough about the likes, dislikes and investment philosophy of the judges at Shark Tank India. 

Better, create a personalized pitch for one of the judges if you think they align better for your business growth. 

When you hit the right chords, you'll hear the perfect tune. 

So, don't go generic with a pitch they're used to hearing a thousand times a day. Instead, give them something that's music to their ears. 

[More Updates after Judges are Finalized]

 

What more do you need for Shark Tank India?

Shark Tank can open up unique avenues for your growth. You never know who's got an eye for finding the next big unicorn.

So, apart from just the basics (the pitch, the documents, the proof of concept), here's something more you can focus on: 

  • Streamlined Brand Identity

    You're planning to come on TV (Okay, OTT) and present your startup. A little investment in branding won't harm and would in fact etch your name in the minds of viewers of the show (or the investors). This might be a good time to work on reviewing your brand identity if you've been long thinking of a revamp. 

  • Conversion-oriented Website

    Don't just have a website to inform. Instead, focus on your clear and sharp positioning.

    Spend a few weeks on revamping the web copy and design as it will definitely give you the advantages you expect after coming to the show.

    Make sure to remove ambiguity and focus on capturing leads/users/customers through every element of your website. Keep in mind that you’ll be judged and screened initially by the team based on what info you offer on your website (and in the information shared). So, better start getting serious about your online presence.
     
  • Unique Verbal Pitch

    Don't go with a generic pitch to the tank. Do something unique that evokes curiosity among the sharks.

    In the US, entrepreneurs who came to Shark Tank spent a lot of time on showmanship and you can do it, too. It doesn’t need to be grand but something as simple as a unique pitch rap or a brand rap with attention-grabbing elements packaged in a form, which is right for a reality show. 

 

What to Expect After Shark Tank India? 

As I mentioned earlier, Shark Tank isn't just an opportunity to pitch. Rather, it's everything that can bring your startup in front of everyone. 

The viewership would definitely have some positive benefits for sure.

Also, it's not just about the investment, but network, contacts and lots of free organic marketing. 

So, you better prepare yourself for the following after effects if you get chosen for Shark Tank India: 

  • Spike in Website Traffic

    Millions, if not more, will see your pitch on Shark Tank. Naturally several would be interested to check out more info on your startup. So, your web servers should be prepared to handle the spike. You don't want a lost opportunity.
  • More Sales

    With so much traffic coming your way, it's natural that your sales would rise. So, if you're into e-commerce or physical products, you better have the right inventory levels.

  • More Downloads / Email Sign ups

    Many startups miss this part. They don't have the right engagement channels open early on - like an e-mail list. Well, if you have, that's great, but if you don't have a sign up mechanism on your blog or website, it's time you have that ready because you'll see a lot of enthusiasm around trying out your product after your pitch airs online.

 

FAQs about Shark Tank India

  • What do I need to apply in Shark Tank India?

Well, you need a functional startup (or even a prototype/MVP) to begin your online application process. You can check SonyLIV’s official announcement on its website for the complete list of requirements.  

  • What’s the process of applying in Shark Tank India? 

As per the available information, the process will be divided into 4 steps starting with the online application. In the next step, a 3-minute pitch video is to be submitted by the participating entrepreneur to the sharks on the show. If they like the idea, you’ll be called for an audition. The successful entries will showcase their pitch in the debut Shark Tank India season to be telecasted by SonyLIV. 

  • Do I need to have a real startup to apply?

Definitely not. But you need to have some kind of MVP, prototype or a scalable concept (with substantial proof to justify your growth claims) to be taken seriously by the Sharks. Your idea can be great (or unique) but without an MVP or proof of concept, there won’t be many takers, even on something as revolutionary as Shark Tank India. 

  • Who are the judges for Shark Tank India?

As of July 3rd, there is no official information or news on the investors who will be part of Shark Tank India as judges. Once they’re announced, the same will be updated in this blog. 

  • Will I get real investments on Shark Tank? 

 Yes. Investors spend their real money if they move ahead with investment decision. So, if you get on Shark Tank India and impress an investor, you're definitely walking out with the funds you need to grow your startup. 

  • Who can apply for Shark Tank India? 

If you're a startup, small business with a unique product (or solution) or an entrepreneur with an idea or prototype, you can apply for Shark Tank India. You can find more information about Shark Tank India eligibility in this blog.   

Should You Apply for Shark Tank India? 

That's like asking - should I focus on growing my startup. 

Definitely you should! There's no question about that. Just apply with full preparation because opportunity doesn't come knocking twice. 

The success of the first season would define its future. So, it's best you prepare your pitch before it winds up (or your competitors sneak in). So, get ready to build, improve and grow your startup and fulfill your growth dreams. 

 


Not Sure About Prepping Your Startup to be Shark Tank Ready (or Investor Ready)

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The story will be regularly updated. Expect more ideas, thoughts, tips and more to prepare your startup to be market, investor and Shark Tank Ready.


What to Expect in the Coming Weeks? 

  • Who can apply in Shark Tank India? 
  • Process to find the right valuation for Shark Tank Pitch 
  • What you need for a Successful Pitch 
  • Pitch Personalisation Tactics That Will Make You a Hit
  • Show Notes, Episode Updates and Latest News 
  • Preparation Tips & More… 


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