As anyone involved in the operations of a startup will tell you, getting a company off the ground can be hard work. Thanks to a new TV deal, families across America will get the chance to witness what it’s like.
Highway1 and 500 Startups have teamed up to create a new TV show on Syfy that features 12 companies (6 from each accelerator) getting their start and heading for demo day. It’s being developed by Zero Point Productions, the company that was behind Anthony Bourdain’s popular series “No Reservations.”
Right now, the working title is “The Bazillion Dollar Club,” which Highway1 Vice President Brady Forrest said was supposed to be “tongue-in-cheek.” Each episode will focus on two companies, one software firm from 500 Startups, and a hardware startup from Highway1, with each startup getting its own standalone segment. Forrest and 500 Startups founder Dave McClure will tie each segment together.
Forrest, who co-founded the Ignite speaking series when he was working at O’Reilly Media in Seattle, said that the show isn’t going to be the sort of drama-tastic romp viewers might expect from reality TV.
“It’s not kind of a drama-full, ‘who gets kicked off the island’ type thing,” Forrest told GeekWire in an interview. “Instead, it’s: ‘how did they make their product happen?'”
While the trials and tribulations of getting a company off the ground will make for good television, Forrest said that he was attracted to the idea because of its potential to educate people about the process of making a startup work.
“I liked it because people who have this vision of startups being all wealth and fun and parties will see that it’s a lot of work,” he said. “It’s a lot of late nights, and it’s a lot of trial and error. And some of the teams will make it, and some of the teams won’t.”
The new show comes at a time when startups and the tech industry have a growing profile on TV. “Shark Tank” has turned the act of pitching investors into a spectator sport, and HBO has found a hit in Mike Judge’s show “Silicon Valley,” which satirizes the tech industry.
Highway1 is in the process of reviewing applications for its February class, which will be featured on the show. So far, they seem to be interested in the idea.
“I’ve started telling teams, and they’re mostly excited about it,” Forrest said. “Especially the ones that have watched ‘No Reservations.'”