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Govt considers reality show for startups, looks at Shark Tank

The programme, to be simultaneously broadcast on Doordarshan, a private general entertainment channel, radio and digital platforms, would have startups pitch to a panel of investors for on-the-spot investments.

Written by Deepak Patel | New Delhi | Updated: March 19, 2017 8:29 am
Like in Shark Tank, startups will pitch ventures on show

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has given in-principle approval for a government-run reality show on the lines of the popular American TV programme Shark Tank, to promote startup culture in the country. The programme, to be simultaneously broadcast on Doordarshan, a private general entertainment channel, radio and digital platforms, would have startups pitch to a panel of investors for on-the-spot investments.

As per the proposal, there would be one round of “screening” and two rounds of “evaluation” for the startups to feature on the show. While the DIPP is reportedly facing problems arranging the finances, its secretary Ramesh Abhishek is learnt to have accorded his in-principle approval on March 4.

During preliminary discussions, NASSCOM told the government the show would require a budget of Rs 64 crore. While Rs 34 crore may be raised from states and sponsors, the DIPP would have to shell out at least Rs 30 crore from its own pocket.

The applications would first be sourced through online and offline outreach, targeting young professionals and startup founders. “A filtering process shall be applied… The focus of the outreach programme would be to encourage entries from all states of the country. At the screening at the application stage, 2,000 (out of 10,000 applications expected) will be shortlisted,” says the DIPP note detailing the programme.

In the first round of evaluation, selected startups would participate in offline events, to be held in seven cities — Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, Bangalore, Indore — where they would present their business plan to a panel of mentors and investors. Ultimately, 440 would be selected, out of which 35 would be deemed as “regional winners”.

These winners would proceed to the second round of evaluation, or the “grand finale”. According to the DIPP note, “after a week-long workshop, the 35 winners compete in front of an investor panel. (These) Selected startups will again pitch to a panel of investors, who will assess the business potential of the startup and may choose to offer funding in lieu of an equity stake in the company. This round will be shot in studio setting and will be televised.”

The DIPP is also thinking of keeping in a provision for public voting, which would decide the ‘Most Popular Startup’ award, so as to “facilitate greater engagement with the audience on the show”.

The show will be simultaneously broadcast across DD and other platforms to “allow greater reach and connect with both the urban and rural audience across different sections of the society”. “The DIPP intends to partner with a TV production house and/or a media house to oversee the implementation, production and execution of the TV show,” the note adds.

While the DIPP will have complete rights over the programme, NASSCOM (the National Association of Software and Services Companies) is likely to be the coordinating agency for “managing” day-to-day operations. “For implementation, a task force will be constituted with a partner leading in each region, who will be responsible for the execution of the entire show. This will include running day to day operations and for management of all deliverables, timelines, agencies and interfacing regularly with all sponsors and partners in each of the regions,” the DIPP note says.

The proposed partners for north, east, west, south and central regions are FICCI, The Indus Partners (TiE), Indian Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Parks and Business Incubator Association (ISBA), NASSCOM, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), respectively.

A steering committee to oversee governance of the programme would include representatives from NITI Aayog, the HRD Ministry, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and Department of Biotechnology, as well as Yes Bank and Axis Bank.

On November 9 last year, at a meeting to discuss issues related to the show, the stakeholders decided that “follow up events/seasons will be held to sustain the momentum of the entrepreneurial spirit” and “success stories and videos educating about the startup ecosystem & culture etc will be promoted to ‘seed’ the show before it was launched”. At this meeting, it was also decided that “60 finalists will be given a reward of Rs 10 lakhs each”.

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  1. R
    May 10, 2017 at 4:02 pm
    I think this will be a good idea. Same way our politicians should showcase how they really develop the places they are elected from and some body must be set up to evaluate their promises before election and also check their progress periodically and must be liable to get penalized if they don't meet their promises before the end of their terms. If they don't fulfill their promises, they must not be allowed to parti te in Indian politics for the rest of their lives. India already have great potential to be among world top 5 countries in all aspects. Its the politicians who make road blocks in its achievements.
    1. G
      Mar 19, 2017 at 3:29 am
      Indics have proved a million times they have no brains of their own. Indics can never be makers of anything. They will use if somebody makes for them. I have seen indics priding themselves on their boss's achievement at "Indic's home"!!!!
      1. V
        Mar 19, 2017 at 4:00 am
        "Minimum Government" ..."Govt has no business to be in Business ."lt;br/gt;These are the comments made by the PM himself in the past .lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Now Govt wants to run reality shows ? Because it does such a stellar job with Doordarshan and Air India ?lt;br/gt;Startups don't need Govt support , they need Govt to get out of the *effing way.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Govt should privatize PSU's and engage in labor reforms , instead of wasting time on nautankis and gimmicks like this .
        1. G
          Mar 19, 2017 at 4:06 am
          Some has post graduated into a super in Modiot's govt!