Tyra Banks Joins ‘Funded’: A New Reality Show Awarding $1 Million to Entrepreneurs

ABC’s widely popular series Shark Tank draws more than seven million viewers weekly. Now, NBC hopes to rival the competition reality show with its own Funded, which will feature entrepreneurs competing for capital, Variety reports.

Whereas Shark Tank has branding guru and business mogul Daymond John, Funded has supermodel-turned-media mogul Tyra Banks. Joining her is skateboarder-turned-venture capitalist Rob Dyrdek and marketing specialist Rohan Oza.

Funded Versus Shark Tank


While the format of Funded differs from Shark Tank, the core principles are the same. Banks and her fellow mentors will guide budding entrepreneurs, as they fight for an up to $1 million cash infusion in what NBC is calling, “The first business competition series built around an investment fund.”

In each episode of Funded, startup companies will be paired with one of the three mentors. At the end of each episode, the startups and their mentors will face a venture capitalist in front of a live audience. They will then try to convince that VC that their company could be the next great business, if they get the fund-backing and the $1 million cash infusion. Only one startup per episode will be awarded funding.

According to Variety, Funded marks the first series ordered from NBC’s new Universal Television Alternative Studios. President Meredith Ahr is confident that the trio of Banks, Dyrdek, and Oza will usher in a successful new venture for the network.

Tyra Banks Wants You To “Be Your Own Boss”


Dydrek notes in a press statement, “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. At its core, Funded is a serial entrepreneur competition show where the winner is the American Dream.”

Banks commented in a press statement, “I have spent my life encouraging people to BYOB–Be Your Own Boss. Making every day 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.”

Banks is not new to the world of reality TV; she established herself as reality star sensation while hosting America’s Next Top Model for 22 seasons.  She returned to daytime television last year as an executive producer and co-star of the Disney/ABC syndicated panel talk show, FABLife, but left after less than three months. FABLife was cancelled shortly thereafter.

In a statement released to The Hollywood Reporter, Banks, at the time, said she wanted to scale back on her daytime duties in order to focus on her new, growing cosmetics company that expanding faster than anticipated, TYRA Beauty, as well as overseeing The Tyra Banks Company’s other ventures.