With the rise in popularity of reality-style television shows, it is no surprise that shows such as Shark Tank have gained large audiences eager to watch would-be entrepreneurs pitch product ideas to a panel of potential investors. Adding to the list of venture-capitalist based reality shows is Adventure Capitalists, a Shark Tank-like television show that is specific to adventure, outdoors, and sporting equipment. Adventure Capitalists promises to provide viewers a glimpse into next-generation outdoor and adventure equipment while providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch to a panel of venture capitalists not otherwise available to them (not to mention the wide exposure that such an appearance may provide).
However, if you fantasize about making your dream of producing an exoskeleton mountain climbing machine a reality by pitching it on a venture-capitalist television show, be sure you have your intellectual property ducks in a row before applying. Any products you plan to pitch on the show should be covered by a patent application, even if it is just a quick provisional application or two. Not only will robust patent coverage of your product protect your ideas from being stolen (and secure on-going coverage since presenting your product on a television show is considered public disclosure), but it will also demonstrate to potential inventors that you are serious and have a viable business model already in place.
Additionally, be sure to read the fine print before signing any contracts prior to appearing on a show. Shark Tank infamously required contestants agree to provide the show’s producer a 2% royalty or 5% equity stake in the contestant’s business venture. While this requirement was eventually dropped, it is always wise to double check that any requirements made by the show’s producers do not adversely affect your ability to actually capitalize on your product or any future business ventures.