New show offers opportunity to crowdfund local business on national television
America’s Real Deal
A new show, America’s Real Deal, is coming to Fort Worth.
The show’s mission is to offer a better way for millions of Americans to grow and develop their business, as well as invest in small business.
America’s Real Deal will be filming in Fort Worth at the Stockyards from June 25-28 and they are calling out for local business owners to come and share their story for the opportunity to be featured in one of the 10-12 episodes of season one, expected to air this fall.
While shows like Shark Tank allow companies to get in front of wealthy investors, America’s Real Deal boasts being the only program to allow everyday Americans the chance to interact with the show and invest in or purchase products featured businesses as the show airs.
“This gives every mom and pop business an opportunity to boost themselves,” executive producer James Brown said. “There is no other show in America, or in the world that I know of, that allows viewers not only to invest, but to buy a product.”
“This show is about developing ongoing relationships with small businesses,” Brown said, adding that there seems to be a gap in connection between traditional broadcast shows and the audience, a problem this program aims to fix with its three methods of audience interactivity — investing, buying products, or voting for favorite companies through social media shares.
Businesses that attend the filming will have a chance to get on the show and share their story.
Business owners who attend are invited to pre-register online at americasrealdeal.com or register in-person. The production team reminds all who attend to be prepared to tell their story and present their business concept.
To qualify for show participation, businesses must be SEC approved, but Director of Marketing/Media Erik Hanson says that for those companies who are not yet approved the team can help file the necessary documents and go through the steps for approval in an about 45-day process.
Hanson said some companies have already begun qualifying and there are expected to be 10 qualified companies before filming begins. He also added that though not all stories can be followed on the episodes, the show is structured to feature about 20-25 businesses, all companies who qualify will be mentioned in some way or form in the show or will be presented on the web app.
“Now the American viewing audience will be able to vote and participate in making America’s small businesses reap the American dream,” the team said in the release. “[And] Dallas-Fort Worth businesses will be the first in line for this one of a kind funding opportunity and national recognition.”
Hanson added that the team chose Fort Worth because of the bold entrepreneurship element in the DFW region, as well as the fact that they felt it was a place where an impact on the small business community could be made.
A century ago, when companies went public, the general public would be able to invest and as the company grew so too would the wealth of said investors. However, the team behind America’s Real Deal says most companies today are far from “publicly owned,” invested almost exclusively by venture capitalists, private equity firms and holding companies; and most ordinary small businesses and entrepreneurs are passed by for capital investments, leaving achieving the American Dream just that — a dream.
The potential to change this came about in 2012 with the passing of the JOBS Act, which now allows private companies to raise capital through non-accredited investors, defined as those with a net worth of less than $1 million (including spouses) and earn less than $200,000 annually ($300,000 with spouse).
The program will have a direct affiliation with the Independent Stock Market (ISM), the release detailed, adding that the ISM provides participating businesses with an “orchestrated liquidity” system that is structured to raise capital at increasing levels, based on company stages and needs.
The capital funding ISM option this show will utilize is equity crowdfunding, which allows a company to raise up to $1 million annually from the general public, 18-years-old and older, with as little as a $250 investment.
It’s been eight years since business-industry veteran Adam Brandley brought his idea to the production team behind America’s Real Deal. Brandley came from the world of mergers and acquisitions, had experience taking companies public and helping them raise capital, but was frustrated when finding that watching programs like Shark Tank which didn’t allow investments from outsiders.
Before the show could come to fruition, legislation including the JOBS Act would have to be passed, Brown explained, adding that projects of this magnitude typically take 5-10 years to realize.
America’s Real Deal came out of the frustration that only the wealthy elite could make a difference in the business community, and typically that community was on Wall Street. The show, instead, aims to allow everyday Americans to invest in main street, not Wall Street, American businesses.
“I know a lot of the folks involved [in the show] have been in the business world … the concept of this is so hopeful, it’s about the experience being out there [as a small business],” Hanson said.
“But it’s also about helping the percentage of the population that doesn’t own stock, or doesn’t own stock outside of a 401K,” he added. “This is going to educate a financially illiterate segment of the population [and] give them a chance to build their wealth”
Viewers of the program who qualify as non-accredited investors will be able to sign up for a membership through the show’s web-based app to invest or purchase products from featured companies — in real time.
The show will air not only through Facebook Watch but also AMG TV, which has an audience of 70 million, and other stations and networks the production team hopes to announce soon.
America’s Real Deal will broadcast 10-12, 20-minute episodes, with appearances by former Shark and serial media and product entrepreneur, Kevin Harrington, and informercial queen Forbes Riley. These special guests will also present financial literacy information regarding investment to the audience.
The special guests and other business experts will also act as judges allowing the companies to compete for business consulting, coaching, and capital.
Brown and Hanson explained that the show will tell powerful and inspirational stories of those small businesses featured, as well as the places from which they hail. While shooting is scheduled for Fort Worth June 25-28, the production team aims to schedule shoots in Detroit and Salt Lake City for future seasons.
Audiences will be encouraged to upload video to the show’s Facebook Watch page to pitch their business ideas for the chance to appear on America’s Real Deal for their own opportunity for equity crowdfunding. Additionally, audiences will sometimes have the opportunity to converse live with members of the ARD team to get their questions about the featured companies answered.
“With America’s Real Deal on Facebook Watch, the audience members become the Sharks,” the team said in the release. “The power to be the game changer for a business that is ripe to be launched globally is in their hands and that’s a Real Deal.”