Five years after the TV company itself went belly up, Network 10 is bringing back its startup investment show, Shark Tank Australia, for a fifth series.
The move comes at a time when the term “startup” is much more deeply embedded in the public psyche than eight years ago, when it originally kicked off in 2015 with Red Balloon’s Naomi Simson, Boost Juice’s Janine Allis, Andrew Banks from Talent 2 International, Dr Glen Richards, founder of vet empire Greencross, and River City Labs founder Steve Baxter, now of syndicate VC fund Ten13.
The “five business superstars” acting as sharks for the new series, to air this year, have yet to be announced. Their role is as competing investors in the early-stage companies pitching for cash, supposedly cutting a deal on the show. The original series ran for four seasons until 2018.
The most spectacular moment was when Banks was ready to tip $2.5 million into a coffee pod business called iCapsulate in mid 2017, but subsequently pulled out following due diligence.
The business was handed over to administrators a year later. Channel 10 knows how that feels – it was placed in voluntary admin in June 2017, and is now owned by US entertainment giant Paramount (which is currently denying rumours it will shut the station down).
One of the best known contestants was Car Next Door, which was acquired by Uber last year.
The first episode featured the live death of Rent Resume, with its founder in his own tech bubble in valuing the business at $2.5 million.
As Startup Daily founder Mat Beeche said the time: “essentially we saw his entire business get euthanised on national television”.
“The second pitch, Rent Resume was the tech-play of the night. The pitch was kind of like watching someone shoot a puppy. It was horrible to watch, and you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy,” Beeche said of that inaugural ep.
“The pitch that piqued the most interest of the night as far as the sharks were concerned was an electric skateboard product called Case Boards. It was a pretty shaky pitch out of the gate, but once the entrepreneur got going, the ‘novelty’ of the product became clear and the potential it has in the US market was enough to attract four sharks to make offers.”
The Shark Tank format was spun out of Japanese series Dragon’s Den, which went on to become UK reality TV in 2005, then mutated to Shark Tank in the US in 2009.
“If you’re a budding entrepreneur with a great business idea and want to take a chance to change your life, casting is now open,” 10 said in announcing the return of the show.
“It could be the most important pitch of your life. Are you ready to enter the Tank and face our Sharks?”
If you’re interested in being eviscerated on national TV and looking for cash rather than a spouse, application details are available at 10play.com.au/casting
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