Why I was too early to Shark Tank?

In my final year of college, a friend recommended Shark Tank US to me, and from the moment I watched the first episode, I was completely hooked. I binge-watched the first 5 seasons that year and quickly caught up on the remaining ones.

During my final year internship in Mumbai, I couldn’t help but wonder why there wasn’t something like Shark Tank in India. With a population of over a billion, I was convinced that it could be a huge success. I’ve always been passionate about celebrating entrepreneurs and shifting the spotlight away from Bollywood stars. Visuals of Indian entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to Lakshmi Mittal kept me up at night. Determined to take action, I approached one of the popular Indian TV series directors via Facebook DM, and to my surprise, he responded after a few follow-ups. He invited us (my room mate joined me) to his flat in Mumbai, where I presented my idea of launching Shark Tank in India. My roommate also saw the potential and joined me. Looking back, our Prezi presentation was far from perfect, but we went ahead and pitched the idea to our potential business partner.

After our pitch, he expressed concerns about the cost, as it seemed like a significant investment. Back in 2015, startup success stories were rare in India, and the lack of media coverage for startups made the journey even more daunting. As 21-year-olds, his doubts were discouraging, but the pressure of securing a job after college weighed heavily on us. So, for the time being, we put the idea on hold and got absorbed in our day-to-day struggles. The fate of another similar show, The Vault, made me doubt whether Shark Tank would work in India, a country where safety often takes precedence over taking risks. After going through multiple episodes of The Vault on Youtube, I let go of the concept, hoping that someone else might pick it up someday. Little did I know that Sony would be the one to bring it to life. Interestingly, the director I had reached out to in 2015 also produced shows for Sony, and their success with Shark Tank India is now history.

Come next time, I hope it’ll be me and not another Sony.

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