In Season 2 of Shark Tank India, the toxicity is out for good says Namita Thapar
Shark Tank IndiaS2 judges appeared on a podcasthosted by comedians Tanmay Bhatt and Rohan Joshi.
- The sharks talked about how the pitches changed in S2, and how contestants were better prepared to answer their questions.
- Vineeta Singh also mimicked her fellow judges and recited their catchphrases.
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During the 30-minute podcast, all five sharks poked fun at each other and shared interesting anecdotes about season 2 — like who’s the most emotional investor amongst them and how pitches have changed from Season 1.
“In Season 2, the toxicity is out, for good,” said
Amit Jain, co-founder CarDekho, joined the season for the first time, replacing two of the sharks from season 1 — Mamaearth co-founder Ghazal Alagh, and BharatPe co-founder Ashneer Grover. This season, comedian Rahul Dua replaced actor Rannvijay Singha as the host.
From winning over doubters to heightened popularity
Initially, the ‘VC circle’ had looked down on the show, judging the sharks for participating in it. Doubts were also raised on the ability of this American show to capture the interest of the Indian audience. However, the massive success of Season 1 turned the skeptics around.
“There was a lot of resistance (amongst VCs) initially. How can you take the Shark Tank of the USA and dramatize it for India? Once India embraced it, VCs would come and comment, ‘Oh we also got a call but we didn’t have time’. I’ve heard this so many times,” said Mittal.
As per Singh and Thapar, Aman Gupta and Anupam Mittal have embraced their newfound fame with the most ease. They even lauded Gupta’s ‘social media game’. Gupta then said that he manages his social media accounts, himself.
Brands and their branding
Thapar said that D2C brands benefitted from the heightened popularity of their founders — but Gupta denied it. He stated that while the show helped increase brand awareness, Indian customers are far too intelligent to make buying decisions based on popularity alone.
Advertisement“I don’t think sales get impacted. The Indian consumer is very smart - they’ll buy after making their own decision. Yes, brand popularity soars across India. But does it impact sales? I don’t think so. The consumer will still see the product and its value proposition. They won’t buy it because it’s Aman’s product or Peyush’s product. I don’t think that happens in India,” shared Gupta.
Bansal echoed Gupta’s statement, adding that it would be wrong to say that someone appears on Shark Tank India to build a personal brand. Jain also backed them stating if the product isn’t good, increased brand awareness won’t help sell it.
However, both Vineeta Singh and Anupam Mittal believed that building a personal brand was crucial to selling a product, as the current generation of consumers values authenticity over anything else, and that shapes their brand loyalty.
Longer pitches but better prepared to answer judges’ questions
In the 35-episode-long first season, reports said that sharks collectively invested approximately ₹41 crore in 67 of the 198 pitches. The massive success of S1 impacted the quality of pitches in the second season.
AdvertisementAccording to the judges, contestants pitching on Season 2 were more informed and far better prepared than their S1 counterparts, and ‘solid stories and entrepreneurs’ from across India appeared this time.
“Startups (pitching on the season) with ₹30-₹50 crore revenue, ₹10 crore profits from bootstrapped companies,- families of 2-3 guys doing it. We were shocked, blown out of our brains - from small towns in India, from God knows where,” added Mittal.
The average time for a pitch extended to 1.5 hours in S2, as compared to 53 minutes in S1 as the contestants were already prepared with the answers to commonly asked questions and used phrases and words most likely to impress the judges.
“They had learned (how to pitch). The answers to our questions were already in their pitches. Many times we had no questions because they’d already shared the information we needed to hear, in the pitch itself,” said Gupta.
The funding winter investors
AdvertisementThough detailed, the long-winded pitches often left judges Namita Thapar and Aman Gupta bored, who resorted to playing games like cross and knots and passing chits of paper to while away time — especially when the other panelists questioned the contestants.
As the group shared on the podcast, Bansal had the most number of questions to ask, while Mittal had the most ‘gyan’ (wisdom or knowledge) to offer. Making a subtle comment on the ongoing funding winter, Bansal and Mittal even added that Shark Tank was the only place where investments were still taking place.
“We’ve made so many investments in this (funding) winter. This is why people will see the show, I believe. Because no one’s investing in the market. So here, the element of hope is very high,” commented Bansal.
As of Friday, January 6, 2023, 11 of the 15 pitches from the show have received funding from the sharks. The four pitches that have not received funding are Recode Studios, Atmosphere (Kombucha), Flatheads Shoes and Organic Smokes.
‘Will you invest in Elon Musk?’
AdvertisementBy the end of the podcast, the judges played a round of ‘who’s most likely to’. Amit Jain was named as the judge most likely to make an investment due to an emotional story.
Thapar’s the shark who’s the quickest to cut a cheque, while Mittal is the most cautious investor. Gupta is the one most likely to misspell the word entrepreneur, and Jain emerged as the one most likely to win at poker.
The hosts also asked all the judges if they’d invest in tech magnate Elon Musk, considering the way he’s handled the microblogging platform Twitter after taking over as its CEO.
Bansal said that people’s memory is extremely short-lived and if Twitter’s profitable after two years, Musk’s current shenanigans will easily be forgotten. Jain further added that considering Musk’s ‘credible success rate’, he’d definitely invest in Twitter under Musk.
Mittal, though, shared that “given all the things going in the world, we need unifying voices. And the point Elon Musk is at right now, we can do with less of that.” Shark Vineeta Singh also mimicked all the judges and recited their catchphrases from the show.
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