Meet the Drapers this weekend.
Silicon Valley VC family -- Bill, Tim, and Jessica Draper -- will appear in a new show referred to as the “kinder, gentler version of Shark Tank,” as Tim likes to describe it. There’s one catch though -- viewers can also invest in the startups.
The 13-episode first season will feature all three Drapers as judges accompanied by celebrity guests. Each hour-long episode will showcase three startup pitches. Crowdfunding platform, Republic, will enable viewers to chime in on the action by logging onto their site and chipping in as well.
With the latest JOBS Act into effect, Republic debuted last year and offers equity crowdfunding to the American public. Minimum investments are merely $10. Successful campaigns on the site include some mission-driven brands such as agtech startup Farm From A Box, eco-friendly sunglass brand Ellison Eyewear, and public health company Maternova.
"We're thrilled to now bring crowdfunding to TV and galvanize the world’s most powerful investors — the audience,” says Republic CEO Kendrick Nguyen. “Bringing startup investing to a wide, diverse audience is at the core of our mission. And what better way to do this than through a game-changing TV series?"
Tim said he had this idea for a TV show percolating for decades: “I actually came up with the idea of an investor show 20 years ago and I always thought what I did was so interesting that others should see it.”
However, despite pitching it to countless executives in Hollywood, it didn’t click. “I think I was too far ahead of my time,” he said in an email interview. “After seeing that crowdfunding became legal, though, I thought that this was another opportunity to innovate around an investor show, and this time the viewer could actually invest their money in these entrepreneurs.”
Producer Sarika Batra met Tim on his YouTube show, “The Startup Hero,” and offered to help bring the show to life. Meet The Drapers premieres on Sony Entertainment TV, which is available via Roku, Sling, and Dish television. Given her own networks in the community and having worked with Sony Entertainment TV for six years, Batra says the show is targeted for a South Asian audience. Hence, the show will have a limited audience (whoever gets Sony Entertainment TV); however, in six months, the team hopes to have it online for easier viewing.
The criteria for the entrepreneurs is quite broad: build a tech-enabled business, be mission-driven (though the definition of mission-driven is vaguely defined by the team), be based in the United States, already have some traction as a company, and be interested in raising funds from the Drapers via Republic.
The first episode airs on Sunday, November 19th at 6 pm ET.