Ganesh Balakrishnan, the co-founder of Flatheads Shoes, appeared on the fifth episode of ‘Shark Tank India’ Season 2 to raise funds for his start-up.
The investors in the reality TV show noticed that Balakrishnan’s start-up was struggling. The company’s funds had dried up, the co-founder had moved on leaving Balakrishnan behind, and the venture capitalists on the show pointed out that the start-up’s 4Ps of marketing (product, price, place and promotion) were misplaced.
The funding pitch of the seasoned entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience took an unexpected turn when one of the Sharks reminded him of his responsibilities towards his family and his 10-year-old daughter.
The IIT-IIM graduate broke down on national television.
Despite what went down on the show, Balakrishnan took to LinkedIn to reveal that his 10-year-old daughter wanted to be an entrepreneur.
At 10, Balakrishnan Jr had already started his entrepreneurial journey. She was busy creating the 2023 calendar with her paintings and had been taking pre-orders for the same. His post read, “She is an artist and is taking pre-orders for her 2023 calendar created with her paintings.”
The proud dad went on to share that his daughter was a fan of Lenskart founder Peyush Bansal’s ‘no-nonsense mindset’. He also said that he admires the cheerfulness and positivity of SUGAR Cosmetics founder Vineeta Singh. “She is super proud that I managed to get an offer from both of them,” he wrote in his post.
Balakrishnan said that while he was dreading the airing of the episode, he was overwhelmed by people’s messages praising his entrepreneurial spirit.
“Breaking down on national TV isn’t exactly great for one’s self-confidence. What I definitely didn’t expect is the episode to be received the way it has been, and it is very very heartening to see that people are applauding the entrepreneurial spirit – of all startup founders, with me as a proxy,” Balakrishnan wrote.
He also thanked the Sharks for helping him get some perspective. “A heartfelt thank you to the sharks Anupam Mittal, Aman Gupta, Vineeta Singh, Peyush Bansal and Namita Thapar for helping me get some perspective. And to Sony and Shark Tank India for giving founders like me a chance to speak about what entrepreneurship really is like,” he added.
“Most of all, a million thanks to everyone out there for all the support and love. It is taking some effort to process all this, so please give me some time. I’ll respond to everybody as soon as I can,” he shared.
Balakrishnan also said that the Flatheads sneakers inventory in India had almost sold out after the show. “We’ve almost sold out our inventory in India, so forgive us if you aren’t able to find your size on www.flatheads.in. It would be amazing if you could tell your friends in the US and UAE to try our shoes . Meanwhile, if you are in the US, you can check out Flatheads sneakers on Zappos and if you are in the UAE, we are on Infinite Kart.”
People Group founder Anupam Mittal took to the professional networking platform to wish Balakrishnan luck and that the entire country was rooting for him.
Balakrishnan’s reply to Mittal.
In his heartwarming post, the Shaadi.com founder said that Balakrishnan taught everyone the power of openness, honesty and acceptance. “I often say ‘entrepreneurship is not a straight line’ and when you look back, its the biggest failures that are the most rewarding because ‘success builds ego and failure builds character’. I know because I have been there … not once but twice … made it big and then lost it all … Onwards & Upwards,” he said.
Balakrishnan thanked Mittal for making him an offer on the show. “It was genuine and came from the heart, and I was very moved by your gesture. When things aren’t going your way, you tend to lose self-confidence, and I was in a vulnerable state at that time. Your spontaneous offer gave me the confidence that I can bounce back strong, even if things weren’t great at present. I’ll ever remain grateful to you for that moment,” he concluded.
Despite his struggles, Balakrishnan’s entrepreneurial spirit lives on. His story is the story of every small-time entrepreneur fighting against the odds to keep their dream alive.
What are your thoughts about Balakrishnan’s debut on ‘Shark Tank India 2’? Let us know in the Comments section.