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10 Best TV Series For Startup Entrepreneurs

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MOHARA

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September 19, 2022

As an entrepreneur, catching up with the latest business TV shows is probably not high on your list of priorities. Luckily, downtime can still be productive if your entertainment furthers your personal and professional growth.

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As an entrepreneur, catching up with the latest business TV shows is probably not high on your list of priorities.  

Like most entrepreneurs, you probably spend all your time focused on building your business and don’t leave time for yourself to unwind.

Working hard on your business is incredibly important, but it is also necessary to take some time out to relax now and again to avoid burnout.

Luckily, downtime can still be productive if your entertainment furthers your personal and professional growth. 

To help you relax productively, we put together this list of TV series with valuable lessons for startup entrepreneurs.

Some of these series are about startups, some are insightful documentaries about successful entrepreneurs, and some are funny while having something important to teach.

All of them are entertaining! 

This article gives you recommendations for TV series that can teach you more about:

🔹 How to start a successful business.

🔹 How to turn a struggling business around. 

🔹 How some of the world’s most successful business people think.

🔹 How not to repeat the same mistakes as previous startup failures.

So grab your popcorn, relax, and learn with the following series.

Reality TV Series about Startups

1. Dragon’s Den

Where to watch: BBC One, YouTube

Broadcast: 2005 to present

Ratings: IMDB (6.8/10)

This series is tailor-made for startup entrepreneurs in need of small business grants. 

Its premise is simple: in each episode, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of five investors who can grant funding. 

Entrepreneurs either have an idea for a startup that they believe will be profitable and require investment capital, or they are running a business and need financial support for expansion funding.

In both cases, the investors decide whether they want to invest and if they want to become an advisor offering their expertise to the business. 

Lessons for Entrepreneurs

💡 Learn how to pitch a business idea (and how not to).

💡 Learn how investors make decisions about investing in a startup.

💡 Learn to negotiate successfully with investors.

Watch this clip to get a sense of the series and to see an example of a great pitch about children's backpacks.

2. My Million Pound Menu

Where to watch: Netflix

Broadcast: 2018 to 2019

Ratings: IMDB (6.6/10), Rotten Tomatoes (57%)

This series focuses on turning restaurant startups into established businesses. Entrepreneurs with a restaurant idea pitch it to investors potentially willing to invest up to a million pounds in their business. 

The format is slightly different than Dragon’s Den, as the entrepreneurs not only pitch their ideas but also have to create a pop-up restaurant as a proof of concept and serve food to both the public and the investors. 

Plus, if you like food shows you will find it extra entertaining.

Lessons for Entrepreneurs

💡 Learn what goes into a successful business plan.

💡 Understand the importance of having a simple but scalable concept. 

💡 Learn more about the different aspects of running a restaurant business, including HR, marketing, and basic finance. 

You can watch a trailer on Netflix here. 

3. The Profit

Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play

Broadcast: 2013 to 2021

Ratings: IMDB (8.3/10)

The Profit features successful entrepreneur and investor Marcus Lemonis, who finds struggling businesses that he thinks can be made profitable. 

He makes capital investments in exchange for an ownership stake and applies his expertise to turn the businesses around. 

He invests in businesses from a wide range of sectors, so you can gain insight into many different industries.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

💡 Get valuable insights into understanding your costs. 

💡 Learn how to streamline your processes and increase efficiency.

💡 Identify and implement a good product strategy, narrow your focus and deliver the right product at the right price.  

Watch this 10-minute summary to get a feel for the show and an insight into the unexpected challenges a small business can face. 

Insightful Documentaries for Startup Entrepreneurs

4. Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates

Where to watch: Netflix

Released: 2019

Ratings: IMDB (7.8/10)

There is a lot to be learned from one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Bill Gates. 

This three-part documentary delves into how he went about building Microsoft, the lessons he learned, and the philanthropic work he is doing through the Gates Foundation.

It also explores his thought processes, what motivates him, and what he thinks about the future.

If you are looking for inspiration, this is the series for you.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

💡 How valuable your time is and how important it is to manage it properly. 

💡 The importance of thinking big to make an impact in the world. 

💡 The importance of having critics who you trust. 

If you are interested in how Bill Gates built Microsoft with Paul Allen and the lessons he learned, watch the first episode on Netflix.

5. Becoming Warren Buffett

Where to watch: Amazon, Sky

Released: 2017

Ratings: IMDB (7.5/10)

Even though this one is a film, we had to include it as it offers valuable insight into the secrets of the success of one of the most brilliant businesspeople in the world. 

The documentary covers Buffett's investment philosophy and how he has applied it to the businesses he owns and invests in.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

💡 The importance of compound interest.

💡 The necessity of continuous learning.

💡 The value of reputation in a business. 

If you find this documentary valuable, it’s worth reading the book The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.

Cautionary Tales: Real Examples of Spectacular Failures

6. The Dropout

Where to watch: Disney+

Released: 2022

Ratings: IMDB (7.9/10), Rotten Tomatoes (89%)

This is a dramatised TV show chronicling the real-life events behind the rise and fall of biotechnology startup Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes.

It tells the true story of Holmes’ early success with investors and the media, leading to a 10 billion dollar valuation of Theranos, through to the eventual uncovering of her fraud and the downfall of her company. 

The series has a lot to teach, especially about the limits of “fake it till you make it” in business.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

💡 Success can take time, and shortcuts can lead to disaster.

💡 The importance of ethics in doing business.

💡 Know your limits and when it is better to fail and move on. 

If you are interested in a deeper dive into the Theranos story, read the book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.

7. WeCrashed

Where to watch: Apple TV+

Released: 2022

Ratings: IMDB (7.3/10), Rotten Tomatoes (65%)

This is the story of how WeWork grew from renting a single co-working space to a company valued at $47 billion. It’s also the story of how that valuation came crashing down with their failed IPO. 

WeCrash is based on a podcast of the same name, and shows the dangers of the cult-like company culture that can be found in startups.

It also details the problems it can create when investors have too much confidence in a charismatic CEO. 

For added entertainment it also tells the love story of Adam Neumann, the CEO and co-founder, and his wife Rebekah Neumann.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

💡 People will invest time and money in your business if they believe in it.

💡 Growing too quickly can be detrimental to your business.

💡 The importance of having your financials in order before considering an IPO.

If you are interested in an account of WeWork that isn’t dramatised, you can watch the documentary WeWork: Or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn.

8. Startup.com

Where to watch: Amazon, YouTube

Released: 2001

Ratings: IMDB (7.1/10), Rotten Tomatoes (93%), TV Guide (75%)

This is the story of a tech startup, govWorks, that managed to raise $60 million during the height of the dotcom bubble between 1998 and 2000.

The startup helped people pay government fees from their personal computer, instead of having to do it in person.

Despite raising an enormous amount of capital, the company ultimately went bankrupt. Its story has become a cautionary tale of lessons learned for companies in the tech world.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

💡 Friends don’t always make good business partners.

💡 The importance of being able to trust your team members.

💡 The necessity of having a clear value proposition about which all partners are in alignment. 

Entertaining Series about Startups

9. Silicon Valley

Where to watch: Amazon, Virgin TV Go

Broadcast: 2014-2019

Ratings: IMDB (8.5/10), Rotten Tomatoes (94%)

This is a must-see series for future tech entrepreneurs. 

Much like other critically acclaimed TV shows like Halt and Catch Fire, Silicon Valley also centres around the world of computers and programming.

It tells the fictional story of how programmer Richard Hendricks founded his own company—a tech startup called Pied Piper—and the trials and tribulations he faced in Silicon Valley. 

It is a great depiction of the realities of Silicon Valley startups, the phases they have to go through, and the challenges a startup entrepreneur faces.  

Silicon Valley has a lot to teach and it is incredibly funny, from the first to the final season.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

💡 The importance of having the right investors.

💡 Networking is essential to securing a small business grant and creating a successful startup.

💡 Having a dedicated team is an important driver of success. 

10. Girlboss

Where to watch: Netflix

Released: 2017

Ratings: IMDB (6.9/10), Rotten Tomatoes (35%)

The series tells the dramatised story of how Sophia Amoruso built up her fashion e-commerce business Nasty Gal from her bedroom to a multi-million dollar company.

It is based on her book and shows how continuously revising your idea and starting over can ultimately lead to success. 

Lessons for entrepreneurs

💡 The importance of branding, especially in a saturated market.

💡 It is possible to start small and build a successful business.

💡 The value of perseverance when faced with setbacks. 

If you are interested in Sophia’s story, it’s worth reading her memoir Girlboss.

Final Thoughts

These are some of the series we think will entertain and teach, and we hope you find them valuable in your startup journey.

At MOHARA we love learning and helping startups grow, so why not get in touch and tell us about your business idea?

Whether you want to be the new Steve Jobs, create the next empire entertainment company or start a new social network, we can help.

And if that’s not your cup of tea, just reach out for a chat about your favourite TV series about startups!