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Last Updated: Jan 21, 2024

Learnings for D2C brands on Shark Tank India

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Shark Tank! Be it through memes, social media posts, articles, news, or even internet blogs, this name is all that’s been on anyone’s mind. A reality tv-show focused on connecting entrepreneurs to investors and is being watched by an audience with no knowledge of start-ups, investments, equity, etc. So, how did this come to be?

What is Shark Tank India?

Shark Tank India is the Indian franchise version of the show Shark Tank America. The show, which is a spin-off of a Japanese show, Dragon’s Den which came out in 2001, is all about entrepreneurs from different fields of life, pitching their business to a panel of 5 investors, a.k.a. the Sharks. The aim is for the entrepreneurs to invite investments in their business, and in doing so be able to get the best deal possible from the Sharks.

The very 1st season of Shark Tank India received 62,000 applications from hopeful entrepreneurs, out of which only 198 were chosen to pitch their business ideas to the sharks themselves. Sounds like a great way of raising money for your business while at the same time being able to get some fame out of it? Well, that’s exactly what the applicants thought too, and they weren’t wrong. In fact, some of the entrepreneurs featured on the show, have gone on to become common household names. Some people, like the author here, also found it a great way of being introduced to new food 😉

Who are the Sharks?

With an excellent track record of success as entrepreneurs, the sharks are some of India’s most successful entrepreneurs, themselves. These multimillionaires make up the panel of judges who listen to the pitches and decide whether they’d like to invest their own money to help build, market, or mentor the contestant. 

They are:

  • Ashneer Grover (Managing Director and co-founder of BharatPe)
  • Aman Gupta (Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of boAt)
  • Anupam Mittal (Founder and CEO of Shaadi.com and People Group)
  • Ghazal Alagh (Co-founder and chief of MamaEarth)
  • Namita Thapar (Executive Director of Emcure Pharmaceuticals)
  • Peyush Bansal (Co-founder and CEO of Lenskart)
  • Vineeta Singh (CEO and co-founder of SUGAR Cosmetics)

We have a deal!

So, now that you have a basic idea of the show, let’s look at some of the businesses that rose up to the task and were able to secure that much sought-after investment. To be more specific, 

 Let’s look at some of the D2C brands that we’re able to do so.

  1. Tagz Foods

A Bangalore-based start-up, this food brand is gaining popularity for its ingenious, lip-smacking, and fitter than most snacks for GenZ. This brand has gone ahead & given a healthy twist to everyday snacks by baking them instead of following the traditional frying approach in production. The idea is to let you stuff your face, without thinking about the calories.

Loving it? Well, so did the sharks and the brand was able to grab funding of INR 70 lakhs for 2.75% of their equity from Ashneer to expand their product further, target new markets and innovate with the flavors being offered. 

  1. Heart Up My Sleeves

Not just any other fashion brand but an innovation that may be just the thing that the ladies out there may have been waiting for. The brand, being run by a 23-year-old Riya Khattar, aims to make detachable sleeves the new fashion trend. The idea is to increase the longevity of apparel, making them an ‘everyday must-have.’

The brand received funding of INR 25 lakhs for 30% equity from Anupam and Vineeta and intends on using the resources towards market expansion.

  1. Ariro Toys

A toy brand that takes a more natural approach to production, to provide kids with more of a Montessori environment for their developmental needs. Ariro works with data-backed, tried and tested designs, and local artisans to craft engaging wooden toys.

The brand was able to secure an investment of INR 50 lakhs for 10% equity from two sharks, Aman and Peyush. They intend on using the resources towards doubling their toy productions, testing new innovations, and growing their market. 

  1. Hammer

The Panipat-based tech startup provides a stylish and extraordinary range of audio gadgets and fitness bands. Hammer inspires and promotes an active lifestyle and has served 1.5 lakh customers in just two years. 

The tech-DTC startup received INR 1 crore in funding from Aman in exchange for 40% equity. The brand’s goal is to double down on its marketing, advertising, and product range to grow faster with the funding in place.

  1. Skippi Ice Pops

This food and beverage brand brought our childhood back with its flavored ice pops. The best thing about these ice pops is that they get delivered right to your doorsteps. Currently, Skippi Ice Pops is available in over 660 outlets in Hyderabad alone and 2,200 outlets across India. 

The Hyderabad-based startup received a funding of INR 1 crore for 15% equity. The founders plan to use the investment to drive more innovation and introduce more refreshing flavors to the Indian market. 

Many such brands received great funding from the Sharks and are going to use these to expand their business. 

Has reading all about the businesses and sharks got you fantasizing about your own turn at a pitch investment, in the future? Maybe, secure that deal that makes you a household name, too? Here are some business lessons that you can take away from India’s hottest new tv-reality show.

Business Lessons to Take Away from Shark Tank India

  1. 10 Seconds is all you get  for grabbing the attention

A Shark will guess whether you’re a friend or foe within the first 10 seconds of your pitch! A brand’s ability to sustain its position in a fast-moving market can be gauged by how well it is able to demonstrate the value it brings to the market during these few seconds.

  1. Clarity and Confidence are your keys!

Shark Tank pushes entrepreneurs out of their comfort zones with challenging questions. The one thing all of these business owners have in common is that they clearly define their business, the value it offers, and how they plan to make it successful in a competitive market so they can hold their ground.

A great way to do this is by identifying your unique selling points and using them to communicate clearly. 

  1. Know Your Market

Innovating and creating something new is great, but only if it can be put to use by consumers too. Businesses need to learn about the size of a problem their product or service solves, and at the same time, what size of the market they can create for themselves. And this is where market research becomes essential.

  1. Presentation Matters

How you present an idea is your make-or-break deal. Presentation is about how you break down the idea so that the Sharks can understand its potential. A bad presentation can pull down the brightest of ideas. 

  1. Tell your Story

Another prospect these successful contenders have in common is their approach to the business. When they are authentic and true to themselves, with a clearly defined vision and mission, they’re able to do the pitching and convincing much better than the others. 

Now, whether you follow Shark Tank India or not, these business lessons will definitely help you if you ever get your own chance to pitch a business idea to the Sharks or any other investors in the future. And in case you decide now is just the time for upskilling and decide to invest in your career instead, there’s always Coding Ninjas!

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