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The Shark Tank India Effect: A Year On As per the testimonies of various Shark Tank India Season 1 winners, their appearance on the show boosted their personal popularity and exposed their business ventures to a network of fellow startup founders, venture capitalists and media professionals

By Soumya Duggal

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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All seven judges from Shark Tank India Season 1

In just a couple of months, our television screens are likely to be graced again by Shark Tank India—another Sony TV super-hit reality show whose recent success has rendered it to business what Indian Idol is to music and Kaun Bangega Crorepati to knowledge! Season 2 is reportedly expected to release in December 2022.

While we eagerly anticipate the show's return, it may be the ideal time to consider how Shark Tank India Season 1, which ran from December 2021 to February 2022, has since impacted the lives of its featured budding entrepreneurs, whose business ventures collectively managed to bag INR 42 crore in funding from a total of seven sharks.

The Fame Game

"I have turned into a "mini celebrity" of sorts. I have interacted with many other well-known personalities and it has felt very natural, far from surreal," said 13-year-old Anoushka Jolly, whose anti-bullying app, Kavach, won her admiration from viewers and INR 50 lakh in funding from founder Anupam Mittal and boAt co-founder Aman Gupta. "My family and friends have been very supportive of my work since the beginning and Shark Tank has made them proud. I have definitely proved a few naysayers wrong," she added.

Since the show aired, Jolly has been covered by The Economic Times, NDTV, and The Indian Express, among others, and also delivered a Josh talk. "I was invited to We the Women Global Townhall, wherein I spoke about my journey and future plans as a young entrepreneur with Barkha Dutt and the Sharks themselves!—Vineeta Singh and Ghazal Alagh," she said.

Jolly's experience is shared by many other entrepreneurs, whose appearance on the show boosted their personal popularity and exposed their business ventures to a network of fellow startup founders, venture capitalists and media professionals.

"There were instances of friends making their moms watch the episode particularly to encourage them to be mompreneurs just like mine. On the professional front too, my mother and I got invited to speak at many events, such as TedEx, and podcasts with like-minded entrepreneurs and were interviewed by well-known publications, from BBC India to HT City to Forbes," said Jash Shah, the co-founder and CEO of ice cream brand Get-A-Whey, which raised INR 1 crore for 15 per cent equity from Aman Gupta, former BharatPe co-founder Ashneer Grover, and Sugar Cosmetics co-founder Vineeta Singh.

Network = Net Worth

For Sulay Lavsi, the founder and CEO of underwear brand Bummer, 'networking' would've been a rather difficult prospect had Shark Tank not expanded his contacts beyond the startup's base in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. "Post the show, various Indian investors and venture capitalists have started reaching out to us as they were keen to associate with the brand in various ways such as someone wanting to take Bummer offline and some people wanting to start supplying our products in foreign markets like Europe, Australia, Kenya, Dubai and more," explained Lavsi.

Intrigued by Bummer's aim of disrupting the millennial-focussed innerwear market, sharks Aman Gupta and Namita Thapar, executive director of Emcure Pharmaceuticals, invested INR 75 lakh against a total equity of 7.5 per cent. "Both of them have not only lifted the brand in monetary terms but also guided us as incredible mentors. For instance, we wanted to collaborate with Myntra for a long time but it seemed difficult. With the help of Aman's reputation, mentorship and skills, however, we managed to onboard Myntra within just ten days," added Lavsi.

The show opened a world of similar entrepreneurial opportunities for Sagar Bhalotia and Anish Basu Roy, the founders of healthy snacks brand Tagz Foods: "Post Shark Tank, we were very warmly welcomed by consumers, retailers and distributors. We had over 5,000 consumers participating in our COP program, which got oversubscribed by 756 per cent in just 10 days. Our retailer base has more than tripled post Shark Tank and we now have distributors across the country and beyond," said Bhalotia. TagZ Foods raised INR 70 lakh from Ashneer Grover for 2.75 per cent equity.

Post-show Success

As per several entrepreneurs' testimonies, their businesses have not only shot to prominence in people's memory but also fared well in their account books.

"We've seen a 260 per cent growth year on year in revenue. As our brand is growing tremendously, we have expanded our team from 20 employees to 40 employees within eight months to cater to the needs and requirements of our customers. Bummer is in talks with investors like NSA, who know the brand's proposition and are keen to invest in it," stated Lavsi.

While TagZ Foods has reportedly grown three times to acquire a market share of nearly five per cent, Get-A-Whey's revenues have expanded 10 times since the show aired. The latter's presence has increased from spanning eight cities to 26 cities over the past few months.

"Today, I have a total of two million impressions online. My company's valuation was INR 50 lakh at which I had raised money on Shark Tank India. I got tremendous investor interest from all over the world and as we speak, the next round of fundraise is going on at a valuation of INR 20 crore, a 40 times jump from what it was," said Jolly.

Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer

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