“As long as there are ideas in the market, there are investments for those ideas.” – Sanjeev K Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO, Kuberan’s House
“We call ourselves the startup of all startups. We have done all the genres of reality shows possible on television and now we wanted to do something around the startup community. That is where the whole idea of Kuberan’s house came. It is India’s biggest startup reality show,” says Sanjeev K Kumar, the Co-Founder and CEO of Kuberan’s House in an exclusive conversation with Startup Story Media.
While there is no lack of entertainment on Television, the string of dancing, singing and gaming reality shows has indeed become redundant on Indian Television. Kuberan’s house is a strong answer to that redundancy. Kuberan’s House was born out of a desire to do something for the startup community of India and break the age-old chain of same old reality shows on Television. Today Startup Story Media will take you on the journey of India’s first startup reality show, as narrated by Sanjeev K Kumar, who has directed around a hundred reality TV shows
Inception and vision of Kuberan’s House
Kuberan’s House was co-founded by director Sanjeev K Kumar along with Ram Gowda and Ranjith Royal. The idea of Kuberan’s House was conceptualised by Sanjeev who always wanted to do something around the startups in India. Sanjeev told Startup Story Media that he wanted to change the perception people have about business and startups.
“In India, the psychology is that if someone says I want to start my own business, I’m a student, the parents don’t always take it nicely. They want their son and daughter to get a job for himself or herself. So we thought that mindset should change and we came up with this idea,” he explains.
The idea behind the name of the show is inspired by the Hindu God of wealth Kubera, explains Sanjeev. “We wanted to make it very Indian in the name and feel. That’s how we came up with the name Kuberan’s house because Kubera is the god of wealth.” Also, he told us, they call their investors Kuberas.
A big platform for great ideas
The best thing about Kuberan’s House is its application process which is easily accessible through their website and provides a great opportunity and exposure to ideas from small villages and big cities alike.
As Sanjeev tells Startup Story Media, seeing amazing ideas coming up from the smallest parts of India had been incidental in reducing the stress and pressure that came with the hectic work. “When we see people come up with such excellent ideas from small parts of India, it actually reduces our stress and inspires us,” He says.
Opening up about the lack of a platform and guidance for young entrepreneurs in India, Sanjeev said, “The kind of startups that have come up is actually a food for thought that there are so many startups in India that are just not being harnessed well and don’t have a forum to reach out for investment.”
Kuberan’s House is something which goes ahead and tackles this problem by becoming a guiding light for those who don’t know how to execute their ideas. As Sanjeev explains, “Our show is more about showcasing these ideas and the process about how an idea gets investment. It’s not only about converting it, we want to showcase so that other people can get inspired by the entire process.”
Collaboration with Sonu Sood
Calling Sonu Sood “the best part of the show”, Sanjeev told Startup Story Media how the collaboration came to be. Owing to the fact that this wasn’t a typical reality show, Sanjeev and his team had been looking for someone who can be a powerful brand ambassador and the face of the show.
Given the fact that Sonu had already been doing a lot of social work during that time and helping a lot of people, he was the perfect choice for Kuberan’s House, which ultimately takes his work to the next level by helping them earn their own money. “We presented the idea and he immediately said yes without asking about anything else. He didn’t even ask about the money,” explained Sanjeev.
“He is a very integral part of the show and whatever he has done for people, we want to take it further. He has gone out of his way to help people with money and many other things. And now he is going to help teach people how to make their own money.”
Sanjeev further adds, “When an idea gets invested, it’s going to help a lot of people around the community because after the investment comes it’s gonna be a set up where they will employ people and help the entire community. That is why Sonu Sood came in, he loved the idea. He is the brand ambassador, the moderator and the face of the show.”
The application and procedure
The application process for Kuberan’s House is extremely simple and hassle-free as most of the information can be simply accessed by visiting their website.
Sanjeev tells Startup Story Media more about the screening process and selection criteria, saying that the applications are all screened by domain experts. “Basically, all the applications get screened by an expert community. There is a panel to screen all this. The lakhs of applications will end up in the top 500 applications. From the 500, the top 100 will be selected who will be then called to a workshop. We want to do a holistic workshop, take them through an entire grooming process where a lot of experts will come and do special coaching for each of these hundred startups. Following this workshop and grooming procedure, the top 60 will be selected to appear on the show.”
When asked more about the grooming process, Sanjeev tells us how that’s one of the most important parts of the show. “Grooming is very important for entrepreneurs. Here they will learn not just how to execute their ideas effectively, but also how to present this idea in front of a panel of investors.”
The challenges overcome
Sanjeev also discussed with Startup Story Media the challenges that came in the form of reaching out to startups and investments. It wasn’t immediately easy to go on with Kuberan’s House, given the fact how different the concept is for a reality show.
“When we started, we knew where we were going, but we didn’t know how to go about it, how to make it a national show. We started out in a very very small way. But the biggest challenge we faced is that we are a bootstrapped company and we didn’t want to go for external funds or anything like that. So we went about it ourselves with investment,” he tells us.
Another big challenge for Kuberan’s House initially had been to get the startups to believe that it was a true and legitimate forum they were applying for. But with hard work and strategy, all the challenges were eventually overcome. “Today Kuberan’s house is a complete organisation. We have got around 30 big institutional partners,” says Sanjeev.
And to think that the challenges were only practical issues would be wrong. Many people didn’t like the idea of a startup reality show, saying it wouldn’t work out with a genre like this. Although there were frowning faces, Sanjeev says he believed in the concept and it will be entertaining for people to watch. “My idea is that anybody who enjoys watching Kaun Banega Crorepati should be able to watch and enjoy our show.”
A message to the world
When we asked if he sees himself as an educator with the upcoming show, Sanjeev told Startup Story Media, “We don’t want to be doing the teaching and saying that this is what this is. If someone enjoys their learning, learning is much much better. We want to make the show so very simple, entertaining and interesting that the learning happens seamlessly. It is going to be a game show cum reality show cum startup show. It is going to be fun watching.”
When asked about the secret of success, Sanjeev says that there is no such secret, it’s all about hard work. “You can have a great idea, but it won’t be executed if you don’t put in the hard work.”