Shark Tank India, the reality television show where aspiring entrepreneurs from India pitch their business models to a panel of investors and persuade them to invest money in their idea, is back with its second season which kickstarted on 2 January. The popular show, which created quite a stir in its debut edition, has already started garnering eyeballs and driving social media conversations from startup fraternity as well as viewers.
Recently, Shantanu Deshpande, the founder of Bombay Shaving Company and Bombae, took to LinkedIn to share his opinion of the reality TV show.
Through his LinkedIn page titled 'The Barbershop with Shantanu', Deshpande posted a 32-second long video talking about Shark Tank India season 2. In the video, he congratulates the panel of judges on the second season but ends up making a point about the crucial investor-founder relationship.
He starts by saying that it is lovely to see good founders get capital and hopefully build out big businesses.
"...but I think there's one thing that I think the show should change: it shows founders coming in, standing and asking for money from investors who are sitting almost on their high thrones. It's an American concept of capital first and people second, and showing an unequal relationship between the founder and the investor," he notes.
To put things in perspective, Deshpande says that India is a country which has been colonised for too long and we are breaking out of it with a lot of courage, enthusiasm and speed.
"But I think the show has the responsibility to show the founder investor relationship as it actually is, which is that of equals. A lot of investors, in fact all the investors on the show are founders and many of them are close friends of mine and have been public about their relationship with fundraising and they will absolutely agree with this... So, I hope for the future seasons of Shark Tank they show this relationship to be one of equals," he added.
Content is king
The reality TV show's second season has already sparked off social media conversations. The first episode of Shark Tank India 2 saw the co-owners of a startup called Recode pitching their cosmetic brand. While their business data impressed the sharks, they were also subjected to a lot of harsh feedback. Social media ever since has been abuzz, with users criticising the ‘sharks’ for mocking the pitchers.
Namita Thapar of Emcure, especially, was called out for declining to invest in them given her friend, SUGAR’s Vineeta Singh, also owns a similar brand. Thapar responded to the criticism via a social media post.
In the episode, while Sugar’s co-founder Vineeta Singh feigned ignorance about knowing a brand named Recode, Dheeraj Bansal had revealed Sugar follows his company on social media.