NBC Orders Business Competition Series with Tyra Banks


UNIVERSAL CITY: NBC has given a series order to Funded (working title), a 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. Dyrdek, Banks and Oza will select from a fresh crop of start-ups in each episode, each choosing one to champion and mentor. At the end of each episode, the start-ups and their mentors face a venture capitalist in front of a live audience, and must convince them their company could be the next great company if they can get the fund’s backing and a $1 million cash infusion. Only one start-up per episode can get funded.

Funded marks the first series from the newly formed Universal Television Alternative Studios. The show is executive produced by Dyrdek, Banks, Kris Curry and Lee Metzger (The Voice).

“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.”

Meredith Ahr, the president of Universal Television Alternative Studios, added, “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.”