Shark Tank India falls short on investment pledges

Over a year following the inaugural season of the Indian edition of Shark Tank, the seven esteemed investors made good on less than half of their investment pledges, according to a new analysis, the latest in a series of criticisms for the show.

The “sharks” overall invested in only 27 of the 65 investment pledges shown on the TV show, market intelligence firm PrivateCircle said. The sharks committed $4.87 million to the startups, but had only invested about $2 million as of last week, PrivateCircle said. The firm reached its conclusion by combing through corporate filings, it said. The analysis didn’t include debt investments.

The outlook appears even more precarious for the second season of Shark Tank India, which concluded in March of this current year. Despite the panel of sharks promising 115 deals, only a single investment has been disclosed to the local ministry.

A couple of qualifications are necessary, to be sure. There is a distinct possibility that several investments may still be undergoing the due diligence process. Additionally, ongoing technical glitches on the ministry’s website could be a plausible explanation for the sparse disclosure figures.

Sony Network India, the broadcaster of Shark Tank in India, declined to comment Tuesday.

Investments by Shark Tank India “sharks” in the show’s maiden season. Image and analysis: PrivateCircle Research

“Our findings show that some deals committed on the show may have fallen through because of concerns in company due diligence. Also some startups seem to have passed on the Shark Tank deal to raise funding at higher valuations from other investors,” said Sumanjan Kumar, Lead Financial Analyst at PrivateCircle, in a statement.

The new analysis is the latest criticism for the show, which Sony estimates has reached over 250 million people. Some startups that appeared on the India version Shark Tank have criticized the show in recent months, saying many investors ghosted them after promising a deal on the TV.

Anupam Mittal, who founded and serves as one of the investors on Shark Tank India, defended the show in a recent LinkedIn post, saying that 66% of the deals presented during the show’s inaugural season were successfully executed, a figure he claimed surpasses that of its U.S. counterpart. Most deals take three to six months to materialize, he said.

Aman Gupta, co-founder of the consumer electronics brand Boat and also an investor on Shark Tank India, also defended the show, saying that many entrepreneurs prefer to either negotiate the investment deal or decline it entirely after the telecast.

PrivateCircle’s analysis corroborated the claim, noting that at least six startups passed on their Shark Tank deals and pursued funding from different set of investors at higher valuations.