TV mogul Simon Cowell to launch X Factor-style series for start-ups

A prominent Australian entrepreneur has called for a domestic television series on start-ups, following TV mogul Simon Cowell’s launch of an X Factor-inspired show for tech entrepreneurs in the UK.


Cowell is best known for his role as a talent judge on TV shows such as The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol.


Now, he’s trading music acts for start-ups, announcing his plan to create a reality TV show in search of up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs.


It’s been reported Cowell is teaming up with American rapper to develop the show, which will probably be filmed in the United Kingdom.


The show is expected to follow a similar format to The X Factor, requiring would-be entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a judging panel.


Will.iam. told The Sun singing and performance only creates a couple of jobs, whereas start-ups “will create lots”.


“It’s about getting in touch with youth and giving them a platform to express themselves, whether that’s in science or mathematics,” he said.


Domenic Carosa, executive chairman of Future Capital Development Fund, told StartupSmart he would love to see a similar TV series created in Australia.


“Anything that encourages entrepreneurship and encourages people to create more start-ups is great. I’m a big fan of [US television series] Shark Tank,” Carosa says.


“There has to be a balance between the business focus and being entertaining… [But] networks are looking for a lot more local content, [so] this has got a huge amount of potential.”


Here’s a snapshot of what other countries are doing:


Dragons’ Den – United Kingdom


First launched in Japan, Dragons’ Den is now an international brand with versions airing across the globe.


Entrepreneurs pitch for investment in the “den” from five “dragons”, all of whom are venture capitalists willing to invest their own money in exchange for equity.


The program has been produced by BBC Manchester since its inception, and was first broadcast on BBC Two in January 2005.


Shark Tank – United States


Shark Tank is an American reality TV show, which premiered on ABC-TV in August 2009.


The series, which is based on the Dragons’ Den format, features a panel of “sharks” – entrepreneurs and business executives – who consider offers from other entrepreneurs seeking investments.


“Think of it as Dragons’ Den but on steroids,” Carosa says.


SevenVentures Pitch Day – Germany


Germany’s largest TV company, ProSiebenSat.1 Group, wants start-ups to pitch their concepts at its SevenVentures Pitch Day, which will take place at a conference in November.


SevenVentures is the venture arm of the ProSiebenSat.1 Group.


“If you can convince a tough and distinguished jury that your business idea will rock the markets, then millions of TV marketing will help you make a breakthrough in Germany,” the company says.


Applicants must be either an international internet company seeking to enter the German market or a German start-up that wants to become a market leader in its field.


Companies must be no more than three years old, and active in one of three investment categories: digital commerce, lifestyle or health and beauty.


They also have to address consumer users – which means no pure tech or infrastructure companies – and have a genuine desire to “get big” in Germany.


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