By Yogendra Kalavalapalli Mint, New Delhi.
A European start-up accelerator is bringing together two modern-day trends--start-ups and reality shows--to launch what could be the world's first reality show on start-ups.
It will be aired online on Spark10.tv, named after the accelerator that's starting the web-based reality television show launching in April-May.
Spark10 is India's first European accelerator and will be advised by, among others, Jon Bradford, one of UK's top start-up mentors and the person who drove the growth of TechStars accelerator as its managing director in London, said Atal Malviya, lead founder of Spark10 and Bradford at an event few days back.
"Visibility is a big problem for start-ups," Malviya told Mint during an interaction on the sidelines of the event. He hopes the web-based reality show will put promising ideas in the spotlight and give aspiring entrepreneurs a flavour of the start-up world.
The online show will be devoid of histrionics of some television-based reality shows. So it won't be on the lines of a show like Big Boss with secret cameras recording minute details from the lives of people locked up inside a house.
Instead, it would capture the drama in an entrepreneur's life--the uncertainties, successes and tribulations, while tracing the journey of early-stage start-ups selected by the accelerator.
"It is a reality show. But it will not be like Big Boss," said Malviya. "What you can expect is how a small solution is nurtured by many people and how your business starts developing out of a small solution."
Spark10 will admit 10 companies in every cohort. Two batches will be admitted each year for the 13-week programme at Spark10's accelerator in Gachibowli, Hyderabad.
The accelerator will invest Rs.20 lakh in the selected start-up in return for an 8% equity in the company. Along with seed funding, it will provide mentoring and networking support, besides giving office space for the duration of the programme.
"In an entrepreneur's life, there are many milestones, many ups and downs," said Malviya, himself a serial entrepreneur. "(With the reality show) we want to give people an idea of what happens inside."
Viewers, for instance, could get an idea of how co-founders prepare for a meeting with a potential investor or a customer and the lessons they draw from these interactions.
For Bradford, a prominent start-up evangelist in the UK, the reality show is another way to promote awareness about the start-up ecosystem.
"We will be showing people the journey of what it is like to be in a start-up. The show will be shedding light on what it is like from the inside and encourage people to start up, go out there and change the world," Bradford told Mint.
Spark10's first cohort will kick off in April. It's inviting applications from technology start-ups with a minimum viable product (beyond the idea stage) in the domains of mobile, Internet, analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), smart technologies and machine learning.