NBC announced its series order for Funded, the working title for its new business competition reality show that stars Top Model‘s Tyra Banks, MTV star Rob Dyrdek, and former Coca-Cola marketing executive Rohan Oza.
The format sounds like a hybrid of The Voice and Shark Tank, as the three stars will mentor startups and then pitch those businesses to venture capitalists, who will give the winning company $1 million in cash.
The connection to The Voice is also behind the scenes: the new show’s executive producer, Lee Metzger, has been executive producer on The Voice since its first season, and also worked on shows such on The Apprentice, American Inventor, The Contender, and Jingles.
Funded is now casting, and asks entrepreneurs if they’d “be willing to give up 5-50% of your equity for up to a million dollar cash infusion and a chance to have your business featured on National Television”.
The unnecessary capitalization of words that are not actually proper nouns continues in NBC’s description of the format:
“In each standalone episode, start-up companies will be paired with one of three mentors: maverick entrepreneur and venture capitalist Rob Dyrdek, brand ambassador and media tycoon Tyra Banks or iconic brand-building guru and investor Rohan Oza.
In every episode of Funded, Dyrdek, Banks and Oza will select from a fresh crop of start-ups, each choosing one to champion and mentor. These are no ordinary start-ups but, rather, represent the best and most promising new companies in the world, with the potential for exponential growth and the chance of become global brands. These companies will get game-changing expert advice from our mentors and their elite advisors, and viewers will get priceless business insight previously only known to CEO’s and successful entrepreneurs.
At the end of each episode, the start-ups and their mentors must face a Venture Capitalist in front of a live audience, and convince him their company could be the next great company if they can get the fund’s backing and that $1 million cash infusion. Only one start-up per episode can get funded, and only one mentor can claim bragging rights as the savviest visionary entrepreneur.”
The first reality series from NBC’s new studio
The show is the first to be produced by NBC Entertainment’s new Universal Television Alternative Studios, which was formed last month and is led by Meredith Ahr; it exists to produce reality programming for NBC and other networks.
It’s also the first show for Tyra Banks since she quit her daytime talk show last November, which happened right before America’s Next Top Model was cancelled, a few months after she said she’d probably leave the show soon.
Leaving The Fab Life, Tyra said she “[would] be devoting more time to my new, growing cosmetics company, TYRA Beauty, which is expanding faster than anticipated, as well as overseeing my company’s other entertainment ventures.”
In her press release quote for this new show, Tyra said,
“I have spent my life encouraging people to BYOB—Be Your Own Boss. Making everyday people’s dreams come true is what I live for. Funded is the life-changing type of television power project that gets me pumped. We will enlighten and entertain audiences big time and encourage our viewers to attack their most outrageous goals with fierce determination.”