Cumulative Scoreboard

Gayathri Vasudevan
CEO, LabourNet
Wilma Rodrigues
Founder & Member, Saahas Zero Waste
Vaibhav Lodha
Co-Founder, FTCash
Shelley Saxena
Founder, Sevamob
Jesse van de Zand
CEO & Founder, Janta Meals
Nikhil Dugal
Co-Founder, Aadhan Infrastructure
Swapnil Chaturvedi
CEO, Samagra
Deep Bajaj
Co-Founder, PeeBuddy
Nilima Achwal
CEO, Iesha
Siddhi Karnani
Co-Founder, Parvata Foods
Akash Agarwal
Director & Co-Founder, New Leaf Dynamic
Subodh Sangle
Coordinator & Speaker, Mumbai Dabbawalas
  • Winner
  • Runner Up & Won An Investment of 40 Lakh
  • Wildcard Entry & Won An Investment of 50 Lakh
  • Eliminated

Winner* - Gayathri wins The Real Deal Season 1, taking home with her Rs 1.5 Crore on the show.

The Grande Finale Part II
  • Gayathri Vasudevan Winner
  • Wilma Rodrigues Runner Up
  • Vaibhav Lodha Eliminated

The Grande Finale Part II

All good things have to come to an end and so it must be on The Real Deal. We have reached the final episode of The Real Deal season 1.

In this episode we see the final three entrepreneurs pitch for an investment deal. The investors have been watching and tracking the entrepreneurs through all the challenges and now its decision making time.

The entrepreneurs have a full five minutes to pitch their Ultimate Pitch but without using their laptops. The contestant who walks away with the most investment will be crowned The Real Deal.

Unfortunately, Vaibhav is not quite the fit the investors are looking at so they wish him well as he continues on his journey. Wilma fares better and walks away with 40 lac total investment from all five of the entrepreneurs. However, Gayathri wins The Real Deal season 1 taking home with her 1.5 Crore on the show!

Its been an incredible journey on The Real Deal for all the partners, entrepreneurs and judges. Social entrepreneurship was brought to the forefront of mainstream media, the contestants grew as people, their companies profited, and the impact sector got richer, thanks to The Real Deal.

Remember you can play a big part in progressing the country and our world. We each have the capacity to be The Real Deal. To find out how, email us at therealdeal@ndtv.com. In the meantime, get excited for season two airing early 2017 because its going to be bigger, badder, better and Really Impacting India!

The Grande Finale Part 1
  • Gayathri Vasudevan Finalist
  • Wilma Rodrigues Finalist
  • Vaibhav Lodha Finalist
  • Shelley Saxena Eliminated
  • Jesse van de Zand Eliminated

The Grande Finale Part 1

Uptil this episode of The Real Deal, we have been testing the contestants through various challenges to evaluate their entrepreneurial skills. The entrepreneurs have been tested in their leadership, networking, sales, hiring and so much more.

Now, in the two-part Grand Finale to the show, we will be testing the viability of their business models and, based on this, the judges will be making decisions on whom they want to invest in! Our three remaining contestants – Jesse, Wilma and Gayathri – will pitch their companies to our investors. Their goal is simple: convince the judges to invest. Based on the contestants’ presentations, and also consolidating all the experiences and findings gathered from their performance on the challenges till now, the five investors make investment offers to the entrepreneurs they think are deserving of equity funding. There is no more judging, no coaching, no second chances. Now, its time to get The Real Deal!

However, as always, there’s a twist. In addition to the three finalists, the judges decide to invite back to two wildcards to the finals. Just when they thought they were going home, Vaibhav and Shelley got a special knock on their door and were delighted to know they are being given another shot to win on The Real Deal. The three finalists were unaware that two wildcards were coming back to the race, and when they saw Vaibhav and Shelley, they got quite the surprise.

Each of the five entrepreneurs were given five minutes to make their final pitch to the judges, and attempt to receive their investment. Before the pitches began, Tom Singh, founder of the Artha Initiative and one of Europe’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, video-called each of the entrepreneurs and offered them inspiration, motivation and a few last minute tips.

During this episode of the Grand Finale, Shelley and Jesse made their pitches to the investors, and answered their tough questions. To start the celebrations, Shelley received investment offers from three out of the five judges and walked away with 50 lakh of investment commitments which will help him scale Sevamob to new heights.

Unfortunately, Jesse was not able to convince any of the five judges and thus does not get any investment. However, he did receive a lot of useful feedback and the judges wished him success in journey with Janta Meals.

Stay tuned for next week’s episode where the remaining three contestants’ will pitch and one incredible social entrepreneur will be crowned The Real Deal!

The Gritty Sales Challenge
  • Gayathri Vasudevan Finalist
  • Jesse van de Zand Finalist
  • Wilma Rodrigues Finalist
  • Vaibhav Lodha Eliminated
  • Nikhil Dugal Eliminated
  • Swapnil Chaturvedi Eliminated
  • Shelley Saxena Eliminated

The Gritty Sales Challenge

This week, our contestants will be on the ground and come face to face with actual customers in our “Gritty Sales Challenge”. They will be forced to consolidate and use all their skills in this penultimate challenge. It will take agility, adaptability and audacity! Before we get into it, let’s first share more on the creator behind the product they’ll be selling today.

Amar Singh is founder and CEO of Clove Dental and has state-of-the-art dental clinics and dental clinic vans where he caters to the underserved. Oral hygiene is a behavior too often neglected in our culture and so this week, our contestants compete to sell the most Clove dental kits and the behaviors around oral hygiene. The important thing to note here is that our entrepreneurs are not only selling a product, but also selling customers on a behavior change. This is something social entrepreneurs often have to deal with. A toothbrush, even if free, serves no purpose if no one knows how or why they should be using it. Contestants will get to keep the profits from what they sell today and the top three who make the most net profit will move into the finals!

We will be dropping our contestants in two different locations, with two very different customer bases. Their first stop is Mumbai’s Dharavi, Asia's largest slum. Upon getting dropped off, our entrepreneurs will have to negotiate with the vendor Amar, who will be supplying the Clove Dental kits. Contestants will have to be smart about the deals they strike; they’ll have to buy just the right amount of kits at the right price. By showing how many kits they want to buy, they are also stating how well they think they can sell them and how confident they feel. Interestingly, the entrepreneurs don’t know they are allowed to negotiate, curiously most go straight into asking for a discount. They have 30 minutes in Dharavi to sell the most and make the most profits. The judges will follow them and observe their every move.

They say social entrepreneurs must know how to dine with both princes and paupers. So, we’ll now be going to a very different side of Mumbai, the Oberoi Mall, home to hundreds of brands that cater to another socio-economic segment. Our contestants will find that they’ll be dealing with a very different audience now. Of course, as a customer changes, so must the marketing and messaging. Some entrepreneurs adapt to their new environment much better than others. They’ve got another 30 minutes at the Oberoi Mall to sell as many Clove Dental kits as possible. There will be no scoring during this challenge; the entrepreneur simply has to earn the most net-profit from both the sales.

This completes our last challenge before the finale! So, our three finalists are, Gayathri, Jesse and Wilma! Stay tuned for a power packed double finale starting next week and be aware of the twists. Who will be The Real Deal? Find out more next Friday!

Note: Finalists are the contestants who finished with the highest net-profit in the Gritty Sales Challenge and moved onto the finals.

Gayathri received won an investment of Rs 25 lakh from Asha Impact’s Vikram Gandhi in the 'Great Gala Challenge' and qualified for the next round.

Do or Die Challenge
  • Gayathri Vasudevan Qualified*
  • Vaibhav Lodha 94
  • Jesse van de Zand 94
  • Nilima Achwal 90
  • Shelley Saxena 90
  • Swapnil Chaturvedi 78
  • Wilma Rodrigues 78
  • Deep Bajaj 76
  • Siddhi Karnani 76
  • Akash Agarwal 66
  • Nikhil Dugal 66
  • Subodh Sangle Exited*

Do or Die Challenge


In this week’s episode, the mystery investor from the Grand Gala is revealed and it is none other than Asha Impact’s Vikram Gandhi! He was scouting the Gala for one entrepreneur who he wanted to give an investment of Rs 25 lakh. The winner of Vikram's investment, Gayathri Vasudevan of LabourNet, also receives immunity from the elimination challenge (as she now has officially secured investment)!

In addition, before the elimination challenge got underway, it was time for Subodh Sangle to take a voluntary exit but not before sharing his experiences and all that he learned as a young social entrepreneur participating on The Real Deal.

The remaining ten contestants received their scores and feedback based their networking skills at the Grand Gala. Unlike past episodes, the judges decided to give consensus scores rather than score individually. Although the candidates’ spirits were high from all the awards they received at the Grand Gala, the mood was about to turn because it was now time to eliminate the bottom 6 of the leaderboard. Based on the scoreboard after the Gala, Shelley, Jesse, Siddhi, Akash, and Nilima were set to go home. However, with a twist to the plot, the judges announced a ‘Do or Die’ challenge worth double the points! This meant the bottom of the scoreboard had a shot at qualifying and the top of the scoreboard had to do their best to hold on to their positions and not get eliminated. The eliminations would happen based on how the contestants stacked up after this challenge was completed!

Collaboration amongst social entrepreneurs to solve development problems is one of the most critical attributes of the sector and what makes them different from traditional entrepreneurs. Our investors wanted to test the ability to the entrepreneurs to collaborate with each other and come up with unique solutions beyond their own business. The 10 entrepreneurs were given five minutes to find a fellow contestant that they could partner with to enhance their respective companies or combine forces to create a new business model. Then they had three minutes to pitch to the judges. Each pair would receive double points and each entrepreneur of the pair would add the doubled points to their individual rankings. The investors were looking to judge for the following:

- Who the entrepreneurs chose to partner with and why
- How innovative and realistic was their collaboration proposal
- How well did they pitch their joint idea

Once the pitches were over and scores given, in addition to Gayathri, the 5 entrepreneurs who survived the Do or Die challenge and are thus moving on to the next round are: Vaibhav, Nikhil, Swapnil, Shelley, and Wilma. Given that Jesse failed to qualify by only a single point, the judges unanimously decided to make an exception for him and also let him through to the next round to see how he does. Thus, at the end of Episode 7, in addition to Subodh, Deep, Nilima, Siddhi and Akash have now been eliminated from the competition.

With the 7 contestants making it through, this ‘Do or Die’ challenge is the last challenge that will be scored. Next week’s challenge will be judged on an objective result. Based on their performance in this challenge, several of the remaining contestants will get further eliminated. Stay tuned to the Real Deal for this next elimination challenge, the hardest one yet, where we test one of the most important skills a social entrepreneur must possess, and do so under some major pressure!

Note: Gayathri received immunity from the elimination challenge as she won an investment of Rs 25 lakh from Asha Impact’s Vikram Gandhi and has qualified for the next round, while Subodh took a voluntary exit.

The Grand Gala Challenge
  • Gayathri Vasudevan Qualified*
  • Wilma Rodrigues 50
  • Deep Bajaj 50
  • Shelley Saxena 50
  • Nikhil Dugal 40
  • Vaibhav Lodha 40
  • Swapnil Chaturvedi 40
  • Jesse van de Zand 40
  • Siddhi Karnani 30
  • Akash Agarwal 30
  • Nilima Achwal 30
  • Subodh Sangle Exited*

The Grand Gala Challenge

Networking is a skill, and often an overlooked one. Like all entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs have to raise their investments and identify various sources to earn funding from. This week’s challenge tests our social entrepreneurs’ networking skills. In order to up the stakes we added a dash of glamour and a touch of Bollywood to this very starry challenge. The Hans Foundation presented The Real Deal’s Grand Gala at the St. Regis in Mumbai. The Grand Gala opened with an introduction from Lt. General Mehta, CEO, The Hans Foundation, followed by a motivational keynote address from Manoj Bhargava, principal donor and co-founder of The Hans Foundation.

At the Grand Gala, our 12 contestants showed our five judges their networking skills as they mingled with all the guests. All types of people attended the Grand Gala, HNI’s, investors, celebrities like Vivek Oberoi and media personalities like Raj Nayak. Hidden amongst the guests was a single mystery investor who was looking to make an early investment of Rs 25 lakh in one contestant. This mystery investor was roaming about under cover and scoping the one contestant he/she liked the best.

The chances to win money and prizes didn’t stop there! Julia Heller Canopus, the project manager, and Dr. Peter W. Heller, the co-founder and executive director of The Canopus Foundation of Germany gave a grant to Akash Agarwal for 5,000 Euro! What’s more, Sreejith Nedumpully of Upaya Social Ventures gave Siddhi Karnani a 5 Lakh loan for her tremendous work in Sikkim. It didn’t end there! Catrin Froelich, the program manager of PeaceNexus, flew all the way from Switzerland to honor Wilma Rodrigues, Gayathri Vasudevan and Nilima Achwal for their contribution to peace and social cohesion created by their enterprises. The three ladies got 2 lakh each.

And no, the winning didn’t end even there! During the Gala our guests were each given one vote to vote for their favorite entrepreneur and whom they thought should win the Hans Foundation Investor’s Choice award of 5 lakh! The guest used the touch screens on the walls and the iPads on their tables to cast their votes. It was stiff competition but Deep Bajaj won the coveted trophy and the Investor’s Choice award and walked away with a Rs 5 lakh cheque.

Note: Gayathri Vasudevan won an investment of Rs 25 lakh from Asha Impact’s Vikram Gandhi and has qualified for the next round, thus she's not getting a score for this challenge. And Subodh Sangle took a voluntary exit from the show.

Week 5: Speed Hiring Challenge
  • Nikhil Dugal 78
  • Jesse van de Zand 71
  • Vaibhav Lodha 70
  • Siddhi Karnani 69
  • Swapnil Chaturvedi 64
  • Shelley Saxena 64
  • Akash Agarwal 63
  • Nilima Achwal 57
  • Deep Bajaj 53
  • Gayathri Vasudevan 48
  • Wilma Rodrigues 38
  • Subodh Sangle 32

Week 5: Speed Hiring Challenge


This week we are going to test one of the critical aspects of scaling your company - hiring. Social entrepreneurs often operate in niche markets, which means they can’t always compete with the large salaries offered by high-profile companies. This makes acquiring young talent difficult for social entrepreneurs. Students also face a dilemma: they want to live a socially impactful life, but feel the societal pressure to take high-paying jobs. As part of this week's challenge, our 12 contestants will have to convince 12 students from IIT Bombay, ISDI, and SP Jain that they can have their cake and eat it too.

Each contestant will have exactly 60 seconds with every student and do their level best to convince them to work for their respective companies. After this “speed hiring” challenge concludes, each student will have two votes each to decide which entrepreneur they would want to work for. For every vote a contestant receives, he or she will win 10 bonus points in addition to the scores he or she receives from the judges.

The judges are scoring on:

How the entrepreneurs present their companies, working culture, and sectors.
How well they listen to their potential employees.
What truly drives the growth of their respective companies.

At the end of this challenge, Nikhil, Vaibhav, and Swapnil are in the green zone totaling at 193, 184 and 179 points respectively.

Note: Total score for Episode 5 includes both judges' score and score based on student votes received (10 points per student vote).

Week 4: The Marshmallow Challenge
  • Nikhil Dugal 40
  • Swapnil Chaturvedi 40
  • Vaibhav Lodha 40
  • Wilma Rodrigues 40
  • Deep Bajaj 0
  • Gayathri Vasudevan 0
  • Subodh Sangle 0
  • Akash Agarwal 0
  • Shelley Saxena 0
  • Siddhi Karnani 0
  • Nilima Achwal 0
  • Jesse van de Zand 0

Week 4: The Marshmallow Challenge

They say engineers make the best entrepreneurs. In this weekly challenge of The Real Deal, we’re going to test that theory. Chemical engineers, aeronautical engineers, software engineers and marshmallow engineers. Yes, you read that right. Our task might seem simple, but it’s going to test our contestants’ innovation and teamwork under pressure. Groups of four will have 12 minutes to build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow.

This is a high stakes challenge and we are purposely grouping our entrepreneurs with personalities that may conflict. Moreover, this challenge is scored with expectations that all the groups will be able to raise their free standing structure. This is a test often used in high school and college campuses to test design and skill under pressure. The judges are looking to score the contestants on:

Innovation Design
Interpersonal Skills
Work under pressure

The results of the cumulative scoreboard reflect the added scores from last week’s Leprosy Mission Challenge results plus the Marshmallow challenge’s results. Its exciting times for Nikhil, Swapnil, and Vaibhav who shot up to the top of the Scoreboard and are enjoying the safety of the Green Zone. However, they know not to get too comfortable up there because the challenges will get even tougher and the competition is hungrier for more than just marshmallows.

Week 3: Leprosy Mission Challenge
  • Gayathri Vasudevan 45
  • Subodh Sangle 42
  • Deep Bajaj 42
  • Akash Agarwal 39
  • Shelley Saxena 39
  • Nikhil Dugal 37
  • Swapnil Chaturvedi 36
  • Siddhi Karnani 35
  • Nilima Achwal 35
  • Vaibhav Lodha 34
  • Wilma Rodrigues 34
  • Jesse van de Zand 31

Week 3: Leprosy Mission Challenge

In the third week, words weren’t enough and our contestants had to take action, by tackling a real social challenge in our society. Our 12 contestants faced an ongoing problem in our country: leprosy. Now you might be wondering: haven’t we already solved that problem? Well, actually, 58% of leprosy cases worldwide are in India. Leprosy is completely curable, but the stigma associated with it has not been cured in centuries.
We took our 12 entrepreneurs to Nashik, where they were given one hour at the Leprosy Mission Community Center to explore the facility, identify an existing problem, and create a solution that is sustainable, viable and create an impact for the Center. They then presented their ideas to the community members who then cheered for who they thought had the best solution.
In this challenge, we tested if our 12 social entrepreneurs possess human centered design skills. Its critical for any entrepreneur to identify and research a problem first, and then create a solution. When an impact enterprise is founded on poor research and is trying to solve a problem that really isn’t there, its like fitting a square peg in a round hole. Its not going to work. Hence, in this challenge the contestants found that solutions are only valuable when the people they are serving actually need it.
Our five investors judged this challenge with impeccable scrutiny. They followed the 12 contestants around the premises and documented their research tactics, their empathy levels, and interpersonal skills with the community members. The investors were observing the entrepreneurs’ ability to understand the value chain, identify the weak links, and ability to create on the spot and lasting solutions.
Here's the scoreboard which showcases who is in the danger zone and who moves one step closer to becoming The Real Deal.

Week 2 - The Elevator Pitch Challenge
  • Vaibhav Lodha 40
  • Swapnil Chaturvedi 39
  • Deep Bajaj 38
  • Nikhil Dugal 38
  • Gayathri Vasudevan 33
  • Subodh Sangle 33
  • Jesse van de Zand 32
  • Siddhi Karnani 31
  • Nilima Achwal 30
  • Wilma Rodrigues 29
  • Shelley Saxena 28
  • Akash Agarwal 23

Week 2 - The Elevator Pitch Challenge

A common rule among entrepreneurs is that a business pitch should be so easy to understand that if you happen to find yourself in an elevator with a potential investor, you should be able to sell him or her on your idea in the time it takes for your lift to reach the next floor.

For this to occur, the pitch needs to be simple and to the point, but still embody the essence of your vision and innovation. That is why for this challenge, our contestants were given 30 seconds in an elevator with our toughest investor, Jayesh Parekh, to sell him a random object. When the time was up, the elevator doors opened and our entrepreneurs had to walk out, regardless if they finished their pitch or not. The contestant’s objective was to interest Jayesh Parekh so much that he offered his business card signaling interest. To strip away any potential sector bias our investors may have, we used a sample set of random every day objects as the pitch object versus the social entrepreneurs’ respective companies. Moreover, we surprised the contestants giving them the random objects right before they walked in to the elevator. This made the challenge extra tough and allowed the investors to truly look for the below criteria:
1. What is the value proposition being offered?
2. How innovative, unique, compelling is the sales pitch?
3. How effective is the communication style of the contestant?
In addition to the above, the judges also noticed how agile, adaptive and responsive the contestants were under timed pressure. They also observed who thought of trying to create social outcomes and impact even with these random everyday objects. The judges set a high precedence in this very first scored challenge ranking Vaibhav Lodha at the top spot, Swapnil Chaturvedi in second and Deep Bajaj and Nikhil Dugal tied for third.

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