Shark Tank Has debuted in India and Fans Can’t Contain Their Excitement
The celebrated American show that gave many entrepreneurs their wings is now in India.
I am a big fan of Shark Tank. I vividly recall being so captivated by the show that I’d just grab a ton of food and plonk myself on the sofa for hours together totally lost in it.
This was back in 2020, when the show was in its nascent stage, still in the process of garnering the bulk of its fan following. I used to binge-watch episode after episode on Netflix, and sometimes, an entire Sunday would pass by, leaving me scratching my head as to where my weekend disappeared all of a sudden.
Whether it was the shrewdness of Mr Wonderful, the sharpness of Laurie Greiner, the tactful Daymond, or the fun and enthusiastic Robert, Shark Tank never failed to capture and enthrall audiences worldwide. As one company after another pitched their novel ideas to the Sharks, there would always be that lurking suspense as to whether the Sharks would invest or not. Sometimes it would end up in a deal, sometimes a laughter riot would ensue, and sometimes, the participants would be left leaving the set with their tails in between their legs.
As a nation of 1.3 billion people, it was only a matter of time before someone purchased the franchise rights to the show and brought it home to millions of fans in India.
Shark Tank India
So who are the Indian ‘Sharks’ on Shark Tank India?
Akin to the US Sharks, the judges on the panel of Shark Tank India consist of highly accomplished individuals, who carry with themselves a wealth of experience and expertise from their respective fields to the show. The knowledge pool of the sharks consists of an equal mix of finance, technology, marketing, and sales expertise. And naturally, each shark invests in an idea in accordance with their expertise and background, knowing fully well how they’ll be able to help the pitcher scale new heights or achieve success with their business idea.
The Indian Sharks are -
- Aman Gupta — Co-Founder and CMO of boAt
- Ashneer Grover — MD and Co-Founder of BharatPe
- Anupam Mittal — Founder and CRO of People Group
- Namita Thapar — Executive Director at Emcure Pharma
- Ghazal Alagh — Co-Founder and CIO of Mamaearth
- Vineeta Singh — CEO and Co Founder of SUGAR cosmetics, and
- Peyush Bansal — Founder and CEO of Lenskart.com
Every Shark has attained their own respective level of success owing to their hard work, determination, perseverance, patience, and courage along with a sprinkling of their own personal strengths.
An interesting twist in the Indian Shark Tank is that the audience is shown tiny snippets of Shark Life in bits and pieces during the show, detailing the trials and tribulations each Shark went through to get to where they are now. This not only serves as an inspiration to employees wanting to become entrepreneurs to actually push off the edge and take that leap of faith, but also acts as a motivator to people already on the entrepreneurial path to valiantly forge ahead.
The Indian Twist
Now, what sets Shark Tank India apart from the rest is the language. The show is telecast in Hindi, the official language of India, and one that is most commonly spoken across the length and breadth of the country. While it may not be our national language, and many Indians don’t even speak or understand it, it nevertheless binds us to our national roots and evokes a sense of patriotism.
The participants were also able to connect on a much deeper level with Sharks who were from their own hometowns or nearby states that spoke the same language or dialect. This considerably managed to bridge the gulf of (professional) difference that already existed between them on set, and made it much easier for them to relate to each other.
Secondly, since India is a huge country with people coming from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, there’s always certain nuanced ways in which some entrepreneurs relate to certain sharks. And while emotions and common history are no grounds to be investing in a company, they bind people nonetheless, and the gulf of difference between the sharks and pitchers is greatly reduced. For example, when “Jugaadu kamlesh”, a village entrepreneur from the Indian hinterland came to pitch the idead of his crop harvester machine, he managed to connect with the judges on such a deep level which someone coming from a place of privilege would never be able to understand.
Another interesting personality who appeared on the show and won the hearts of not just the judges but of all us viewers, was little star Prathmesh Sinha. A visually challenged 10-year old who had come to the set with the team of ‘Thinkerbell Labs’ to demonstrate the powers of ‘Annie’, a learning device made for the visually challenged. He entertained the audience not only with his expert knowledge of the device, but also with his childlike antics and shenanigans around the sharks.
Many viewers expressed how comforting it was to see the little one on the show despite his impairment, and how he managed to pull off the entire thing with such grace and confidence:
One commenter realized the value of his eyes on seeing Prathmesh on stage and expressed how thankful he was to have his vision perfectly intact and in working order:
Another one spoke about how amazing the start-up ecosystem is and how wonderful it was to give a chance to today's youth to not only innovate and solve global problems but also helping to uplift and
And another altogether chose to feature him on his Youtube channel:
The Sharks were truly impressed, touched, and even moved by the trials and tribulations faced by the pitchers during the entrepreneurial journey.
Alas, investing in an idea is a decision that can only be made with the astute knowledge of a product, its industry, and the current demand for it in the market. So no matter how touching their stories were, not all pitchers were awarded deals on the show. The show is after all a competition in itself so there was already prior knowledge that not everyone would be receiving deals from the sharks.
But due to the tear-jerking nature of certain entrepreneurial journeys that were too hard to ignore, some of them did receive promises of support and assistance, and were asked to contact the Sharks outside of the show to receive the promised aid.
Just looking at the wide-ranging impact Shark Tank is having on a developing country like India is heartening in itself.
But the sheer opportunity and “chance of a lifetime” that it proffers to people who would have never otherwise had a chance to showcase their skills and potential, is what sets it apart from other versions of the show. As the first season comes to a close, we only hope to see this entrepreneurial spirit continue in subsequent seasons with an increasing number of entrepreneurs pitching their ideas, getting incubated, and ultimately succeeding in life. Because it isn’t just the people and their immediate families who benefit from the opportunity bestowed by the Sharks. The economy of the entire nation gets a boost from the success of a few, which if replicated nationwide, will only propel the country forward, ultimately cementing India’s place among the developed nations of the world.
Whether it was Jugaadu Kamlesh’s push cart fertilizer machine, or the ingenious Peeschute, that solves the problem of finding a toilet in public for women in India, a large number of issues are being solved by everyday entrepreneurs.
What do you think is the next innovative product or service that we’ll get to see on Shark Tank? What’s your idea?