We’ve all heard about the popular show “Shark Tank”, where entrepreneurs come to a group of well-known and wealthy investors and hope that one of the so-called sharks will invest in their company.
Today we will talk about a fundamentally new format of the show in which almost everyone can become an investor and enrich themselves by investing money in a company that eventually becomes a unicorn*! This is a fundamentally new format called Enrichtainment, and the creator and executive producer of this show is Alex Konanykhin.
Alex Konanykhin is a visionary international entrepreneur and best-selling author who wrote a playbook on unicorn hunting! His formidable entrepreneurial journey began in his mid-twenties when he created the largest bank in post- communist Russia before defecting to the United States. Alex is the co-founder and CEO of TransparentBusiness, an ecosystem of technology solutions for transparent remote workforce management. As a pioneer of the remote workforce revolution, he envisioned the benefits of this work model before they became apparent to the world. Today, the company is valued at more than $34 billion dollars.
What the main purpose of this show is, how to get on it, and what prospects it promises to the audience, are the topics Alex personally covered for us in this interview.
Alex, how did you come up with the idea of the “Unicorn Hunters” show?
For the last three years we’ve been raising money for the Transparent Business company before going public. We advertised the opportunity to become an early investor on various social networks, major target-audience websites, and television. Over the last year, we gathered a base of more than 40,000 potential investors, and that base cost us four million dollars that we’ve spent on advertisement. Analyzing these metrics, I was thinking on how to monetize this base of potential investors. Then the idea just flashed in my head! We need to create a program where people from around the globe could present their startup ideas, and viewers get a unique chance to become investors in the pre-IPO startups, and subsequently multiply their investments many times.
Is there a minimum money limit for investors and what regulations apply to the people living in the United States?
There is a minimum limit and it is one thousand dollars. It used to be five thousand dollars, but we’ve reduced it to make pre-IPO investment opportunities as accessible as possible for everyone. Regarding investors from the United States, most offerings will require US investors to be “accredited investors.” (According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, an accredited investor is a person who earned income that exceeded $200,000, or $300,000 together with a spouse, in each of the prior two years, or whose net worth exceeds one million dollars). We are building a global system and not focusing only on the American market.
In one of the episodes of the “Unicorn Hunters” show you said that a leader should be charismatic. What did you mean?
We are creating a show. It should be entertaining. Our show requires certain qualities from those who are willing to present their startups. We do not simply need people who are motivated and great entrepreneurs, they should also be charismatic and have interesting personalities as well. We had, for example, to pass on one promising software company as the founder’s manner of narration was very boring.
Could you name three areas that are the most promising in your opinion?
I think there are plenty of opportunities in various fields, but the areas with the fastest growth potential are IT, pharmacology and biotechnology. For example, the capitalization of TikTok reached $75 billion in just two years. In other areas, where we are talking about a physical product, the need for production and distribution logistics can significantly slow down the growth of the company.
Alex, what is the main incentive for you to always move forward and discover new areas for business, such as with the “Unicorn Hunters” show?
I have a very simple view of life: it’s more interesting when there is constant movement and when you are in the epicenter of events, passionate about new projects, meeting motivated and talented people.
Otherwise, the life may become mundane and boring. I had the experience of early retirement attempt at 25. I had enough money, I wanted to travel around the world and enjoy a more hedonistic life. But two weeks into it my enthusiasm faded, my mood dropped, and I came to a realization that it is incredibly important for a man to be like a shark, always on the move, otherwise retirement will really come, and it will bring no joy with it.
What is the fundamental difference between “Unicorn Hunters” and “Shark Tank”?
With all due respect to the creators, participants and investors in Shark Tank, I don’t like its format. The rich jury gets only richer, and entrepreneurs sell considerable shares in their companies for very modest investments (the average investment size is only $160,000). Our format involves entering the global market (we have projects from all over the world: England, New Zealand, Chile, Australia, etc.), and the opportunity for almost everyone to try themselves as an investor.
Of course, I do not expect that viewers will, in just 30 minutes, decide to invest money in a certain company or not, therefore our website www.UnicronHunters.com contains detailed information about each company and I advise everyone to check carefully the information about companies, who are presented on the show. Plus, at “Unicorn Hunters’ we have a very warm atmosphere on the set, we do not use our authority to push or belittle the participants, as it often happens in “Shark Tank”. We want to help first and make sure that cool breakthrough ideas can be understood by the audience, and those who see the value in these projects and invest at an early stage will be able to invest profitably in a startup even before it becomes a unicorn.
UNICORN HUNTER FACT SHEET:
Unicorn Hunters provide you with transparent access to make smart decisions and the opportunity to invest in pre-IPO opportunities. We put all our knowledge and experience into attracting the attention of companies in which we see a surprisingly high potential to become unicorns.
The team and group of UNICORN HUNTERS consist of experts with proven experience in the world of entrepreneurship, technology and investment.
Wozniak helped create arguably the most influential company of all time. As an industry pioneer, he is often asked about the future of the technology industry. Now, with Unicorn Hunters, he’s ready to take a first-hand look at the possibilities and give his opinion on finding the next billion-dollar company.
Alex is the co-founder and CEO of TransparentBusiness, an ecosystem of technology solutions for transparent remote personnel management. As a pioneer of the remote workforce revolution, he foresaw the benefits of this work model even before they became apparent to the whole world. His foresight and entrepreneurial prowess paved the way for Unicorn Hunters. Alex is the executive producer and co-creator of the series and is ready to share his unicorn hunting skills with the whole world.
As the first Latin American woman to lead a unicorn when her company reached a $1 billion valuation in 2020, Silvina Moschini knows that unicorn companies have three things in common: they are disruptive, they solve a global problem, and they are led with passion. She co-founded the TransparentBusiness SaaS solution to provide and facilitate remote work. As the founder and CEO of SheWorks!, Silvina helps thousands of companies scale around the world with talent, while giving women the opportunity to find work in the digital marketplace. Her efforts have earned her numerous awards, including the United Nations Equal in Technology Leadership Award, the Women for Life Technology Achievement Award, and she was named Woman of the Decade by the Women’s Economic Forum.
Lance Bass is the quintessence of a very successful and energetic jack of all trades: singer, presenter, actor, producer, writer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and astronaut. In addition to his fame as a member of the phenomenally successful band *NSYNC that has sold an impressive 60 million-plus records worldwide, he is the founder and partner of a mobile champagne and bar food trailer company, Bubble Tap Trailer /Tap Trailer Co, a restaurant partner, WeHo Rocco and an investor in a celebrity personalized video company Cameo. His infectious enthusiasm and charm gave way to some of the best moments of the series.
Moe Vela is a lawyer, media commentator, entrepreneur, author, speaker and consultant. Moe made American history by becoming the first Latino and LGBTQ American to hold the top leadership position in the White House twice – as a director of administration and senior advisor to both Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden. He is currently CEO and president of the Washington-based global consulting firm The Vela Group. Moe is known for his passion and energetic approach to every endeavor and demonstrates his leadership in thinking to audiences and clients around the world, and he will do the same at Unicorn Hunters. He is the author of the bestseller “A Little Secret. Big Dreams”.
Rosie Rios was the 43rd Treasurer of the United States, she left her mark on both the history books and U.S. currency. Rios’s signature appears on a record $1.7 trillion in circulation worldwide. Prior to her presidential appointment, she was Managing Director of Investments for MacFarlane Partners, a $22 billion investment management firm based in San Francisco. In 2016, Rios received the Hamilton Award, the highest honor bestowed in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She is a graduate of Harvard University and was selected as the first Latina in Harvard’s 385-year history to have a portrait commissioned in her honor. In 2020, Rios was named one of the “Women of the Century” by USA Today.
*A unicorn company is a company with an estimated value of more than a billion dollars.