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ABC's entrepreneurial TV Show "Shark Tank" held closed auditions for Penn Students last Saturday in Huntsman Hall

Credit: Guyrandy Jean-Gilles |Photo Editor

"Shark Tank" held closed auditions exclusively for Penn students, faculty and alumni on Saturday in Jon M. Huntsman Hall. 

Entrepreneurs from several Penn schools delivered pitches to casting producers in hopes of winning a spot on the show.

Rose Laden, Director of Alumni Relations, Engagement and Programming for the Wharton School, said that approximately 100 people in 50 teams participated in the casting call at Penn.

"Shark Tank" reached out to Penn about holding a casting call as a part of its college program. Laden said that the event aligned with Wharton’s current emphasis on entrepreneurship.

“It’s really exciting for Wharton right now — with a huge focus on entrepreneurship — to be able to offer this opportunity,” she said.

Six Wharton graduates have made deals on the show since its debut in 2009. 2007 Wharton MBA graduate Jordan Lloyd Bookey received $250,000 from “Shark” Mark Cuban for a 25 percent share in her company, Zoobean, in 2013.

Shark Tank also held closed auditions at Temple University on Saturday and open auditions in South Philadelphia on Friday. Unlike in the open casting call, members of the Penn community who registered to pitch at Penn’s closed auditions were guaranteed time in front of the casting staff.

1985 Wharton graduate and 1989 Penn Law graduate Renee Mazer pitched her idea to the producers on Saturday.

“I pitched the idea for centers for relationship recovery for anyone going through any type of breakup, either a divorce or just a bad relationship, and services and products that would go with that,” Mazer said.

1989 Wharton graduate Beth Rosen also presented a pitch. She proposed a television, film and animation investment fund and requested $10 million over three years. Her company currently has 53 pieces of content.

“We already have access to some of the networks and studios, and we have award-winning writers attached,” she said. “We have an open door to pitch to one of the big studios”

Rosen and Mazer remarked that the pitch length was particularly short — entrepreneurs were only given one minute to explain their ideas.

Mazer also commented that the process was intimidating because producers do not give feedback during or immediately after pitches.

“You have no idea how you’re doing, and that’s what made it hard,” Mazer said.

Members of the Penn community who pitched at the event will hear back in approximately two weeks if they have been selected to advance in the casting process.

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