Be Somebody, a movement that started from a hashtag, then blog and evolved into an app that allows people to share experiences, entered the Shark Tank in Season 8. We interviewed Kash Shaikh, its founder, who told us that the movement reaches 10 million people in 180 countries and includes experiences like boxing, Bollywood dance, wake boarding and yoga.
Shaikh said, “In March of 2013, after a year of leading Social Marketing at GoPro in Silicon Valley, I cashed out my 401K, sold everything I owned, quit my job, and bootstrapped an 18-month journey around the world to build our movement. We did a global graffiti tour, hosted fitness events, documented music performances, and I spoke at nearly 200 schools across the world. By the end of 2013 we became the fastest growing Motivational Movement in the world, reaching over 3 Million people.”
Here’s what else he told us about…
How it All Started With a Hashtag
I started sharing #besomebody back in 2009. I had just turned 30, I was going through a break up, I was working for a great company, and I just felt like something was missing. I started wondering about my purpose in life. I started thinking about my passions, and started questioning why I wasn’t living them. Right at that time, I got offered a new assignment at my company Procter & Gamble, to lead Social Marketing for low-income countries. That assignment covered all of Latin America, South America, Africa, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. From 2009 to 2011, I was on the road 80 percent of the time internationally. I got to visit 43 countries during that time. I got to learn from some of the poorest people in the world. And I got so inspired…I started sharing stories of those experiences and emotions on social media, and I would use the #besomebody hashtag. #Besomebody was a personal mantra of mine that I would use with my friends or colleagues whenever we were trying to push each other to do what we really wanted – overcoming our fears and our excuses and our bulls**t. It was a mindset of just going for it.
And Then Became a Website
Because of you, #besomebody has become the fastest growing Motivational Movement in the world. We've reached more than 5 million people in 180 countries, all speaking the universal language of PASSION. Thanks very much to our friends at @BoyceAvenue for creating this amazing song that truly embodies our community, movement and platform. Catch the whole video on our Facebook Page. Link in our bio. #besomebody.
I started to get a following on social media, and on January 11, 2011, I created the #besomebody blog, besomebodyblog.com. It was basic, black and white, WordPress site. And I just poured my honest emotions and other people’s real stories onto the pages every week. Soon people all across the world began connecting with the #besomebody message. That word was powerful. It was abstract, but intuitive – and instantly personal to people. It became about you, and what you loved. It was about your personal passion. And that’s what made it so cool. Over the next two years, our community grew to tens of thousands of people around the world. I started creating more content – videos, inspirational cards, motivational artwork – and it really started to grow. Our content became some of the most shared motivational content on social media.
The Passionaries Who Teach
Our mission is to enable you to live your passion. And after years of growing from a simple hashtag, to a worldwide movement, to now, an education company, we believe we've created the best way to make that happen. On the #besomebody platform anyone can teach or learn anything they're passionate about by booking Experiences with people who share their passions. Our top teachers – called "Passionaries" – are making up to $4000/month and $45hr, and this is just the beginning… We're looking for the best teachers, coaches and instructors to help us grow the only Experiential Learning platform in the world. Do what you love, share it with others, and make money doing it. That's the dream. And we are building it together… Apply to be a Passionary today (No costs or signup fees). Link in our bio. 👆 #besomebody.
We have over 1,000 Passionaries who are using the app already to teach more than 400 topics and passion areas! Waz, from Austin, teaches Indoor Skydiving. Vicky, from Brooklyn, teaches energy healing. Mark, from Los Angeles, teaches photography. Jason, from Denver, teaches Snowboarding. And my dad, Zee, our oldest Passionary-he’s 70 – teaches water color painting in Houston.
How His Appearance on the ‘Tank’ Came About
"No matter what happens in The Tank, we've come a long, long way… And that's all thanks to YOU guys. Thank you ALL for your support, through the ups, downs and every space and place in between. It means so much to us. Much love." #besomebody. – @kash_shaikh. Watch #besomebody on @sharktankabc on November 4, 2016.
It came about on a whim! I was presenting at Tech Day in New York City back in April. There was an open casting call for Shark Tank, and about 2,000 people showed up. I wasn’t even planning on auditioning, but it was the end of the day and the line dwindled down, and I figured, why not? I literally was the last person to pitch the producers. We were all supposed to give a one-minute pitch. I ended up talking for 15 minutes and two months later, I was pitching the Sharks.
How His Product Wasn’t Ideal for a Pitch
"After months of Beta testing in our hometown of Austin, Texas, we are excited to announce that the official #besomebody iPhone app is here! Thanks so much to everyone who participated and shared feedback. We incorporated tons of user ideas into our final version! As you know, our platform is a new path for learning. Where you can learn anything you're passionate about by booking Experiences with badasses around you who share your passion. We hope you love our updated interface and features, and would really appreciate your help sharing our app with all your friends and family. smile emoticon Our Experience marketplace is only active in Austin right now, but we are set to begin our nationwide expansion later this year! Thanks very much for your support. We are building this together." – Founder and CEO, @kash_shaikh. #besomebody. Link in our bio!
I was excited and anxious and energized to pitch the Sharks. I knew our pitch would be intriguing, but I also knew we don’t necessarily have the best makeup for a Shark Tank pitch. Our core product was an app, and the Sharks shy away from those. We weren’t making much money, which the Sharks hate and we already had investors and a strong valuation, leaving little wiggle room for the Sharks to be, well, Sharks. But, most of all, I was really grateful for the opportunity to share a bit of the #besomebody message and story with the Sharks and with viewers around the world. We started as a hashtag I used with a couple friends. Now, I was going toe-to-toe with Mark Cuban and Mr. Wonderful. How cool is that?