An appetite for risk takes many forms. Some people swim with sharks. Others become sharks and sniff out ingenious ideas to put their money into. Our guest on Buzz by the Bay this week is the second variety. Anupam Mittal, founder and CEO of People Group. He digitized and revolutionized matchmaking over 2 decades ago with Shaadi.com and is a name that is synonymous with innovation and trailblazing.
He has garnered a lot of popularity as a judge on the show that funds start ups - Shark Tank India,
and in this interview he talks about the promising investments from season two of shark tank and the outlook for season 3, as well as other innovative companies in his personal portfolio.
When can we expect season 3 of shark tank?
It’s the same cycle. Typically season shoots from September to December. Then it airs end of December - Jan
Who selects the companies that make the short list for shark tank?
Sony TV production selects them. When we see the company is when the audience sees the company. When we walk onto the tank and sit on our chairs, then the doors open and you (the viewers) see the founders and we see the founders at the same time. Otherwise you wouldn't have the surprise element or the organic elements. It would be too contrived. It wouldn’t be as much fun.
There are critics who say it’s scripted, what do you have to say to them?
We aren’t actors. If it was a reality show with actors you could always say it was scripted. If this is scripted and that’s the job we are doing acting, we should be in the movies. I should be at the Oscars
Has the networks started the process of selecting the final contestants for season 3?
Yes. This year I expect an explosion because if you look at the external investment climate it’s pretty dry when it comes to money, and on Shark Tank it’s always raining money. So people are going to queue up and people have also figured out that appearing on one episode of shark tank - if your story is compelling- you can become a household name. Brands have come out of shark tank, which were going to fold up. One brand comes to mind - Flatheads - a shoe company. The guy was wrapping up, he was out of money. He just sold the company. It’s the cheapest form of advertising.
According to you who were some of the most promising founders of season 2?
Everyone who I invested in is the most promising. There are some companies that I’m very excited about. One is Snitch which is trying to build the equivalent of Zara from India. Incredible numbers. When he came to shark tank india he was already doing 7 - 8 Crores a month. Now he’s doing 25 - 30 crores a month. There’s another story of these two kids - 18- 19. Zillionaire. They’re doing jewelry for the millennials or Gen Z generation. It’s all this street wear jewelry. They’re operating at 3 or 4 x their numbers.