What Startups can Learn from Shark Tank India

What lessons did the reality show Shark Tank India has left for the newbie entrepreneurs?

Reality shows in the Indian entertainment space hold a different meaning. Over the years shows like Roadies, Dance India Dance, and Big Boss has shown interest in participants whose absurdity can increase the TRP levels. But, Shark Tank India seems to have broken the narrative. For the first time in Indian television, Shark Tank India has stood out to become a reality show that has showcased the entrepreneurial side of Indians through its unique ideas with a purpose to solve larger problems of mankind and simplify the lives of people. This was the first time a TV show threw a spotlight on the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem where established D2C startup founders became sharks to fund the mushrooming startups based on the pitches made by the startup owners. Out of a pile of applications, the show showcased 198 startups that identified unique problems and offered solutions. Some received applause and funding while some returned empty-handed. The show with its season one complete has given Indians a chance to dream and think about starting a venture and generating wealth. In addition, to this, it has left numerous Dos and Dont’s for budding entrepreneurs. Here is a list of them.


Out of a pile of applications, Shark Tank India showcased 198 startups that identified unique problems and offered solutions.

Learnings for startups and D2C from Shark Tank India

  • Knowing your business entirely: A startup founder needs to understand how the internal and external factors would affect their business in the long run. For example- in one of the pitches in the reality show that showcased Modern Myth- a vegan bag brand, Ashneer Grover was quite unconvinced with the bag designs being non-replicable in the future for which the founders did not have an answer. Startup owners need to understand where their business stands today and how they scale in the future. Having a long-term plan and forecast of your business is very crucial.

  • Knowing the numbers: While seeking funds from investors, startup founders must know the numbers of their business like last year’s sales, net earnings, EBITDA, customer acquisition cost, etc. Not knowing the numbers will make investors see your business as red. Besides, own numbers entrepreneurs should also be aware of the market size they will be serving. Startups while asking for funds should also be aware of the valuation number basis on which they are seeking funds. A flower gifting startup named Shades of Spring asked for funds based on 300 crores but to the shark’s surprise, their sales were not convincing as per the ask that disappointed the sharks and they returned empty-handed.

  • Passionate about the venture: Nothing can match the passion shown by Jugaadu Kamlesh for his venture. After all, it is the passion of an entrepreneur that gives an edge to the business having a strong sense of purpose and desire to change the conventionalities. With no previous funding or loans, Kamlesh had the burning desire to introduce his hand-drawn cart that could ease the fertiliser and insecticide spraying for farmers. Not to forget the unique demonstration of his product on the show along with his nephew Naru which went on to become the ‘pitch of the season’. The startup’s idea attracted Lenskart’s founder Peyush Bansal who offered him Rs 10 lakh in exchange for 40% equity, and an additional Rs 20 lakh as a loan, without interest.

  • Is the business scalable: We remember Sippline’s pitch where the founder talks about solutions to ensure oral hygiene and limit contamination while venturing out by putting a plastic rim around glass and teacups cups serving beverages in hotels, small food joints, banquets etc. The idea of the startup was not appreciated by the sharks and questioned the scalability since making people carry the plastic rim while venturing out demands enormous habit change for which huge funds are needed. As of now, Sippline did not make impressive sales, for which the sharks could not agree to invest and found it to be unscalable. Entrepreneurs should ask themselves that is the business akin to the current times? Can the product cater to the present market or in the future? Getting a proper plan for your business may not be possible but readying for unforeseen circumstances is essential.

Shalmoli Sarkar
Shalmoli Sarkar
An MBA in marketing and a BTech in chemical engineering, Shalmoli writes on marketing strategies and business technology for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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