Press release from NBC, July 13, 2016:
Entrepreneurs with revolutionary and disruptive business ideas that are primed to explode into the next game-changing innovation will have the opportunity to team up with three of the brightest business minds of today and compete for up to a $1 million investment in NBC’s new alternative series “Funded” (working title).
NBC has given a series order to “Funded,” the first business competition show built around an investment fund. 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.
Smart and authentic, practical and provoking, “Funded” pulls back the curtain on the high-stakes world of Venture Capital and will unveil the next generation of rock star entrepreneurs.
“Funded” marks the first series from the newly formed Universal Television Alternative Studios.
“We set out to create a highly entertaining show for quality business ideas with innovative entrepreneurs who, with a little bit of guidance and capital, will have explosive growth,” said Dyrdek. “At its core, ‘Funded’ is a serial entrepreneur competition show where the winner is the American dream!”
“I have spent my life encouraging people to BYOB – Be Your Own Boss,” said Banks. “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.”
“Rob, Tyra and Rohan offer a level of business experience and expertise that is priceless to a burgeoning entrepreneur. They are perfectly suited to be at the helm of this series as it sets out to shine a light on extraordinary start-ups, provide invaluable guidance to innovators and give financial backing to the most deserving and revolutionary ideas that will shape our future,” said Meredith Ahr, President, Universal Television Alternative Studios.
For those wanting to be considered for “Funded,” please go to www.fundedcasting.com.
Rob Dyrdek is a renowned storyteller, systematic entrepreneur, venture capitalist, pop-culture personality, ex-professional athlete, retired stuntman, brand ambassador and groundbreaking media impresario all wrapped into one. If you had to put one label on him, it’s simple: He’s a Pureblood Do-or-Dier. He is the embodiment of having the fortitude, work ethic, grit and determination to turn passions into reality. Although he may wear many hats, it all comes back to a simple system – he sees it, believes it, plans it, and then does it. The Dyrdek Reserve and the Dyrdek Machine were born from this obsession and aim to deliver on his life mission. Dyrdek is compelled beyond reason to live the most amazing life possible and help others do the same. His passionate commitment to Living Amazing involves curating the right ideas and the right Do-or-Diers, helping them put all the right pieces together, and then watching dreams come alive.
Tyra Banks | Chairman and CEO, The Tyra Banks Company; Founder, Fierce Capital, LLC Expanding the definition of beauty is something Banks has always believed in, as a supermodel and as a super-businesswoman. Banks is CEO of The Tyra Banks Company – a place where beauty meets entertainment. An original Victoria’s Secret angel, Banks was the first African-American model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. For the last decade, she has been the creator and executive producer of “America’s Next Top Model,” the first and longest-running fashion competition-based reality television series. Most recently, Banks created a one-of-a-kind cosmetics experience – TYRA Beauty. With a radically fierce, fresh and unique approach to the beauty industry.
Called “Hollywood’s Brandfather” by the Hollywood Reporter, Rohan Oza is the master of transforming groundbreaking consumer products into household names. A global pioneer in celebrity equity deals, Oza creates personality and brand collaboration in an utterly distinctive way. In 2002, Oza left the Coca Cola Company to become partner and Chief Marketing Officer of then-fledgling beverage company Glacéau. From this position he built the powerhouse brands Vitaminwater and Smartwater through groundbreaking partnerships with celebrities, including 50 Cent, Jennifer Aniston, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, Venus Williams and Alicia Keys. These partnerships not only catapulted Vitaminwater and Smartwater into becoming the culturally significant brands the world knows today, they also transformed the landscape of entertainment marketing. Rohan’s career came full circle when, just five years later, The Coca-Cola Company purchased Glacéau for $4.1 billion, and appointed him Chief Marketing Officer across all still Coke brands. From this position, Rohan further expanded his efforts to identify key gaps in the marketplace and invest in small, better-for-you brands in order to transform them into household names. In 2016, Rohan became a co-founder of CAVU Venutres, along with Sweat Leaf Tea & Deep Eddy Vodka founder Clayton Christopher, and former Thematic Capital Partners managing member Brett Thomas. These titans of the consumer packaged goods space are joining forces to leverage each other’s skills to bring the public the best in better-for-you products.
“Funded” is executive produced by Dyrdek, Banks, Kris Curry, and Lee Metzger (“The Voice”). The series will be produced by Universal Television Alternative Studios in association with SuperJacket Productions.