10 Best Startup TV shows list

10 Best Startup TV Shows to You Must Watch

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You have a business idea and want to dominate the world. Do you want to follow in Steve Jobs’ footsteps? Are you looking for inspiration to overcome your startup challenges? Here are the best startup TV shows to learn from those who chased their dreams.

We know that you’re busy changing the world with your brilliant idea. But it’s important to take some time off to avoid burnout. Watching entrepreneur TV shows is entertaining and allows you to see things from a different perspective.

These programmes teach you how to start small and build a big company. You can discover the methods successful entrepreneurs use to keep their businesses afloat. To avoid making the same mistakes again, you can also watch failure cases.

Dragon’s Den

Where to watch: BBC One, Apple TV

Broadcast: 2005 to present

It’s a show that started in Japan. Currently, the show has over 40 local versions broadcast worldwide. In this show, we have entrepreneurs that come to “the Den” to pitch their ideas to the 5 “Dragons”.

Some entrepreneurs possess a profitable business concept that they can offer to potential customers. Others already own businesses and are seeking to expand their operations. Every contestant introduces their business, how much capital they have, and how much equity they offer the Dragons.

Investors willing to finance an idea in exchange for stakes are called dragons. They decide if they want to invest or if they are “out.” Entrepreneurs have access to more than just money. They can also benefit from the dragon’s advice to grow their business.

Here are the key lessons we can learn from Dragon’s Den:

  • Demonstrate unwavering confidence in your business idea and pitch.
  • Effectively showcase your product or service and its core value proposition.
  • Develop strong negotiation skills to counter investor offers.
  • Thoroughly research each potential investor’s background and preferences.
  • Provide precise financial data, projections, and evidence of customer demand.
  • Showcase your operational expertise and ability to execute effectively.
  • Consider how an investor’s connections and expertise can benefit your business.
  • Investors value more than just capital; they invest in the person.

Here’s a short video of the show:

My Million Pound Menu

Where to watch: Netflix, BBC Two

Broadcast: 2018-2019

In this series, contestants pitch their restaurant ideas to the panel of investors. The Guardian describes it as “Dragons’ Den meets Masterchef” because it’s a combination of cooking competitions and business investment programmes.

The personal stories are what set this show apart from others. Each candidate tells her or his ups and downs, as well as how they got here. It’s awesome to see how resilience and purposefulness can lead to success.

The contestants must open a pop-up restaurant in Manchester for three days to let the public and investors taste their food. To secure up to one million pounds, they must impress the investors through various stages of food, service, and business planning.

In the last stage, the contestants have to wait for one hour to decide whether to get an offer or go empty-handed. The second season ran in 2019. Although it’s not officially cancelled, there haven’t been new episodes since 2020, probably due to the COVID pandemic.

Here are the key lessons we can learn from My Million Pound Menu:

  • Talent alone isn’t enough; execution is crucial.
  • Investors look for reasons to say no.
  • Success isn’t just about securing investment.
  • Strike a balance between taking advice and maintaining your vision.
  • For financial success, treat your passion as a business.
  • Having a trustworthy mentor can accelerate progress.
  • Investors are selective but open to innovative concepts.
  • Not all food concepts translate well to different settings.
  • Location matters in the restaurant industry.

Here’s a short video of the show:

Shark Tank

Where to watch: hulu, Amazon, Apple TV

Broadcast: 2009 to present

Much like the Dragon’s Den, Shark Tank is a reality show where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to five self-made millionaires, known as “Sharks.” This show is a chance for people to chase their American Dream.

Contestants aim to secure deals for their businesses, and sharks often compete to invest in winning ideas. You can expect a variety of innovative ideas that may inspire your startup.

The Sharks provide valuable insight and sometimes harsh criticism, making this show both entertaining and educational. Whether or not a pitch succeeds, the show is a great place to gain exposure, and the audience can witness the realities of seeking investment in the business world.

The key lessons from the Shark Tanks are:

  • Know your numbers; be prepared with financial details and key performance indicators.
  • Sales are crucial; high sales numbers and repetitive orders impress investors.
  • Solve an existing problem; products that address real needs are more likely to succeed.
  • Have a clear plan and vision for your business.
  • Patent protection is valuable for unique ideas or products.
  • High profit margins are attractive to investors.
  • Be persistent and willing to make sacrifices for your business.
  • Focus on your target market and understand who’s buying your product.
  • Limit debt to make your business more appealing to investors.
  • A strong, concise pitch is essential—make an impact in the first few moments.

 

Here’s a trailer of the show:

The Profit

Where to watch: Amazon, Apple TV

Broadcast: 2013-2021 (8 seasons)

It’s a business reality TV show featuring Marcus Lemonis, a business guru, as he works for businesses that are struggling to survive. These businesses often have problems with management, business plans, and internal conflicts.

He typically exchanges his money and expertise for stakes to aid in the business’s profitability. Lemonis strives to implement changes such as rebranding, improving operations, and resolving interpersonal issues. It’s a way to learn how to turn around a business that is nearing failure.

By the end of each episode, you can observe whether they are able to improve their performance and increase their revenue. The good news is that there are various types of ventures in the show, so you can learn about many industries.

Here are the key lessons from the Profit show:

  • It is possible to systematically improve effective management.
  • Know your numbers and focus on high-margin products.
  • Simplify operations for better efficiency.
  • Basic organisational improvements can significantly boost productivity.
  • Resolve personal conflicts to address business problems.
  • Create a compelling brand story or mission.
  • Good design and packaging increase perceived value.
  • Effective communication is essential for success.
  • Take calculated risks based on accurate financial projections.
  • Maintain integrity and honesty in business practices.
  • Stick to a successful formula rather than constantly changing direction.

 

Here you can watch how Lemonis transformed a burger shop:

Here are two documentaries that founders will find useful:

Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates

Where to watch: Netflix

Broadcast: 2019

As the name says, it’s a documentary about one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, Bill Gates. In this show, you can see how he thinks, what motivates him, and what his thoughts are about the future.

It’s an in-depth look at the co-founder of Microsoft and shows how he’s finding solutions to the world’s complex problems. But some critics think the show focuses more on his philanthropic activities through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Here are the key lessons we can learn from this documentary:

  • Know your numbers and be accountable for your business’s finances.
  • Focus on product validation and market acceptance before seeking investment.
  • Understand your investors and tailor your pitch accordingly.
  • Don’t act out of desperation; evaluate offers carefully.
  • Be open to advice and constructive criticism, even if you don’t get a deal.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses, and be open to partnerships that complement them.
  • Leverage any publicity or marketing opportunity, even if things don’t go as planned.
  • Don’t get overly attached to tentative offers; deals can fall through.
  • Personality matters; investors often invest in the person as much as the product.
  • Be open to different business models or expansion ideas suggested by investors.

 

Here’s a trailer of the show:

Becoming Warren Buffett

Where to watch: Amazon, hulu, Apple TV

Broadcast: 2017

It’s an HBO documentary that takes an intimate look into Warren Buffet’s career and personal life. This show shows how he went from a number-obsessed boy to a respected investor across the years.

Additionally, he shares his investment philosophy and moral principles with us. In this show, you’ll find out about Buffett’s humble lifestyle. For example, he loves McDonald’s breakfast. Aside from that, we can see his commitment to philanthropy.

Here are some key points we can learn from Becoming Warren Buffett:

  • Focus and discipline are essential to achieving your goals.
  • Define your circle of competence and excel within it.
  • Aim for consistency and simplicity in your approach.
  • Proactively address your weaknesses to improve yourself.
  • Prioritise ethics and integrity in your business practices.
  • To stay adaptable and curious, remain a lifelong learner.
  • Cultivate meaningful relationships and a spirit of generosity.
  • Demonstrate resilience to bounce back from setbacks.

Here’s the official trailer of the documentary:

The following documentary shows how a business founder could deceive a group of investors and sell them an empty dream:

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

Where to watch: hulu, Amazon, Apple TV

Broadcast: 2019

It’s a fascinating documentary about the Theranos scandal. The show tells the story of Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford dropout, as she rises and falls in Sillicon Valley. It’s about ambition, deception, and the power of convincing in the tech industry.

Through interviews and archival footage, the director shows how Theranos (worth billions of dollars) could sell an idea to investors (including politicians) that was not really working.

In the end, the film warns us about the risks of blind faith in tech startups and emphasises the need for careful examination of new technologies, particularly those affecting people’s health.

The key lessons from this show:

  • Verify revolutionary claims, especially in healthcare.
  • Beware of the “fake it till you make it” mentality.
  • Charisma and storytelling can mask a lack of substance.
  • Scrutiny and transparency are crucial for tech startups.
  • Prioritise actual progress over hype and image.
  • Investigative journalism plays a vital role in exposing fraud.
  • Success in marketing doesn’t guarantee technological success.
  • A culture of secrecy can lead to ethical compromises.

Here’s the official trailer of the documentary:

Startup.com

Where to watch: Google Play, Amazon

Broadcast: 2001

The documentary focuses on govWorks.com, a startup that rose to prominence during the dot-com boom. Boom.govWorks.com was a service that helped people manage their government payments through their personal computers.

Despite raising $60 million in funding, the startup couldn’t survive. This is a TV show about a tech startup that provides a look into the challenges of entrepreneurship, the stress of rapid growth, and the strains of personal relationships.

The key lessons this show offers are:

  • Know your numbers; be prepared with financial details and projections.
  • Have a clear, concise, and compelling pitch.
  • Demonstrate passion and commitment to your business.
  • Be resilient and open to feedback.
  • Assemble a strong, competent team.
  • Have a well-thought-out execution plan.
  • Focus on solving real market needs.
  • Be prepared to answer tough questions.
  • Understand and appeal to the right investors.
  • Show potential for scalability and growth.
  • Be willing to learn and adapt.

Here’s the trailer of the rise and fall of the American dream:

Billion Dollar Buyer

Where to watch: Amazon

Broadcast: 2016, 2018

This show features the business mogul, Tilman Fertitta, as he travels around the US to find innovative products in the hospitality industry. He visits small businesses and evaluates them to see if he can discover a large-scale deal.

Entrepreneurs have a chance to impress Feritta and secure a game-changing partnership with Landry’s, Inc. (Feritta’s company).

By watching, viewers learn about how both small businesses and big companies think when they’re making deals. It’s like getting a peek behind the scenes at how business works in real life.

The key lessons the Billion Dollar Buyer reveals are:

  • Know your financial numbers inside out.
  • Focus on improving the small details.
  • Choose business partners wisely.
  • Maintain high standards.
  • Stay hands-on with your business.
  • Treat all employees with respect.
  • Be open to advice and learning.
  • Prioritise quality in all aspects.
  • Be prepared for tough business questions.
  • Continuously seek areas for improvement.

Here’s a trailer of the show:

Mary Queen of Shops

Where to watch: BBC Two,

Broadcast: 2007-2009

Mary Queen of Shops is a British reality TV show starring retail expert Mary Portas. In each episode, Mary helps a struggling small fashion boutique or clothing store improve its business.

She works with the owners to execute adjustments after identifying issues with inventory, retail layout, marketing, and customer service. You can see how Mary’s straightforward approach and useful retail recommendations have transformed businesses.

 

It offers viewers entertainment and insights into the challenges of running a small fashion retail shop in a competitive market. It’s a show worth watching if you’re thinking about starting a business in the fashion industry.

These the key lessons we learn from the Mary Queen of Shops:

  • Understand and apply the tricks of the trade in retail.
  • Adapt to changing market conditions to keep small businesses viable.
  • To improve struggling shops, implement effective commercial advice.
  • Focus on creating a unique selling proposition for boutiques.
  • To attract customers, improve the visual merchandising and store layout.
  • Develop better customer service strategies.
  • Update inventory and product selection to meet current market demands.
  • Learn how to effectively market a small retail business.
  • Recognise the importance of adapting retail strategies to stay competitive.

Here’s an episode about a 115-year-old grocery store that is about to fail:

Final Words

Here you saw the 10 best startup TV shows worth watching. These shows talk about various aspects of starting and running a business, from the idea to implementation. Some of them also show the realities of starting a new business.

So, if you want to know what it’s like in the real world, how to pitch your idea, and how to turn threats into opportunities, we recommend taking some time to watch some of these shows. The way giants think can help you find your way on the path to changing the world.

Anyway, we encourage you to share with us your favourite show in the comments below. And remember, whether you’re pursuing your passions or building a business, we’re rooting for your success every step of the way!

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