WATCH: This Shark Tank-inspired Indian web series saw 18 winning pitches grab Rs 41.5 Cr in funding in Season 1
Entrepreneurs with stellar business ideas, a panel of investors, and winning pitches – Indian reality series Horses Stable is applying the tried-and-tested Shark Tank formula. In a video interview with YourStory, Founder Prashant Agarwal reveals what goes into the making of a successful deal.Sutrishna Ghosh
Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Kevin O'Leary. Do these names ring a bell?
These are the top guns from ABC’s business reality programme Shark Tank. The extremely popular show features a rotating group of investors, business experts and billionaires, with a host of aspiring entrepreneurs. Over the years, it has become a platform to bring entrepreneurial ideas to life.
Given the wide appeal, it was only a matter of time before the format inspired other such shows closer to home.
Say hello to Horses Stable:
Bengaluru-based Horses Stable works on the same principle – a group of hand-picked entrepreneurs, a panel of investors, and a winning pitch. The Shark Tank-styled web show strives to offer a funding platform for Indian businesses. The goal is to help businesses find the ideal investor and open up exciting opportunities to investors.
“The idea is inspired by Shark Tank but with a few twists and tweaks. We have a deal master on-board, which helps all the Indian entrepreneurs understand the valuation of their companies and structure a proper deal with the investors or the Horses,” says Prashant Agarwal, Founder, Horses Stable.
Prashant bootstrapped the startup with an initial investment of close to Rs 1 crore. For every successful deal closed over the course of the show, Prashant receives a success fee, both from the funded entrepreneur (ranging between five-seven percent) and the investor (two-three percent).
Prashant adds that the startup makes available a deal master to these young companies who may not have a CFO to guide them through financial decisions. On Horses Stable, this role is played by none other than Nalin Singh, ex-CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He also serves as a business strategy consultant to businesses and corporate leaders across the globe.
Besides the deal master, the show also introduces a panel of Horses (the 'Sharks' equivalent), including investors such as Sandeep Agarwal, MD of M/s Karnataka Plascom Engineers Pvt Ltd; Kevin Saboo, CEO of FlatWorld Mortgage; Sandeep Agarwal, a business critic; and Rajesh Kumar, MD of Daemon India.
The series was conceptualised around December last year. They began filming in February 2019 and have already wrapped the first season with close to 13 episodes, spotlighting more than 50 pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs from across the country.
To keep the entire process impartial, the selection, scrutiny, screening, and shortlisting of entrepreneurs and company founders has been outsourced to the team of Natio Cultus, a consulting and financial advisory company. The top quartile is shortlisted once an investor-readiness report is generated by the team, Prashant explains.
“We coach them, we groom them for the pitch day,” he adds.
While the web show, currently streaming on YouTube, provides a unique opportunity to bring entrepreneurial ideas to life, not everyone gets funded. Of the 59 pitches that the Horses heard over the course of Season 1, around 18 businesses – a mix of startups and SMEs –cracked successful deals, garnering an overall funding of Rs 41.5 crore from investors.
Horses Stable is currently taking in applications for Season 2, which is scheduled to begin production around August this year. Aspiring entrepreneurs or anyone with a stellar business idea can send in entries till July 20.
Prashant considers this a step in the right direction.
“Many of them just make connections before leaving while some of them end up getting investment offers,” Prashant says.