Meet Bengaluru-based entrepreneurs who made it to the reality show Shark Tank India
They speak about how it has impacted their lives and businesses
Raghav Jhawar and Muskan Sancheti never believed that Shark Tank would enter India. What was more surprising for them was their selection onto the reality show and cracking a deal with one of the ‘sharks’. Founders of Bengaluru-based startup The State Plate, Jhawar and Sancheti’s company sources ethnic food products from different states of India, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Kerala among others. The duo’s wish of getting funding from Lenskart founder Peyush Bansal actually came true. The sharks were impressed that the 22-year olds had both quit their jobs to venture into entrepreneurship. “We asked R65 lakh for 2 per cent but we got R40 lakh for 3 per cent. We understand the negotiations and are happy with the deal. We wanted to be on Shark Tank because it is a big platform to present our brand at prime time. More than funding, we wanted sharks’ expertise in taking our vision forward,” says Jhawar.
Meanwhile, Jayanti Bhattacharya, co-founder of India Hemp and Co, who was selected for the reality show, did not manage to bag a deal with the sharks. But like they say when one door closes, another opens. In Bhattacharya’s case, she has been swamped with calls from investors from different countries post her appearance on the show. Bhattacharya, along with her sister Shalini Bhattacharya, founded the India Hemp and Co, a set up that specialises in nutrition-packed hemp products like Hemp Trail Mix, Hemp Protein, Hemp Hearts, Hemp oil among other products.
“The scale of the reality show was incredible. The team actually eases you into the process. My ask was Rs 50 lakh for 4 per cent for a valuation of Rs 12.5 crore, but I got a counter offer of Rs 20 lakh for 10 per cent. I declined it. I did not want to reduce my valuation because the hemp market is growing rapidly,” says Bhattacharya, adding, “Since we have hemp products for people and pets, the sharks asked me to focus on one category and review my branding strategy.”
Anish Basu Roy, co-founder and CEO of TagZ Foods, whose ask was Rs 70 lakh for 1 per cent, ended up striking a deal of Rs 1.2 crore for 2.5 per cent from two sharks – Ashneer Grover, co-founder of BharatPe, a fin-tech company. Roy and Namita Thapar, Executive Director - India Business of Emcure Pharmaceuticals, a pharma company. “Right from the beginning, it was not so much about raising capital. We wanted to get visibility for the brand on a prime time show. Ever since we’ve been on the show, we have been in the top 20 keywords of Amazon under the ‘snacking’ category, received over 600 export enquiries, and 1,200 distributor enquiries from across the country. Moreover, we also launched a stock option for consumers to invest. We just closed the issue recently and it was oversubscribed with 4,000 consumers investing in the brand,” says Roy.