AFTER A successful first season which saw close to $1 million worth of investments given to Philippine start-ups, the reality business TV show, The Final Pitch — fashioned after ABC’s Shark Tank and NBC’s The Apprentice — is back for a second season featuring new mentors and investor-judges.

“I feel that what we are able to accomplish [previously] with the start-ups on the show is no joke — we funded about six entrepreneurs and closed almost a million dollars in total funding. Given the time we had, it was quite an achievement for the show because not only were we able to bridge [businesses to investors] in terms of funding, but we were also able to educate the market that there are funders and who the mentors [are] you can tap,” John Aguilar, president and executive producer of Streetpark Productions, Inc., told BusinessWorld during the show’s launch on March 8 at Manila House Private Club in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

During its first season, which aired August to October 2017 on History Channel, The Final Pitch had as its investor-judges Jose “Jomag” Magsaysay, founder of Potato Corner and now a venture capitalist; Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, chairman and CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies and SL Agritech; Joseph Calata, chairman and CEO of Calata Corp.; and Mica Tan, the 25-year-old CEO of angel investing group, MFT Group of Companies.

At its conclusion, the show saw office space solutions platform FlySpace, health insurance platform Maria Health, and grocery delivery service winning investments from the investors while other contestants were said to have secured investors after the show ended.

“One of the most important lessons we learned from the first season is that we have a lot of start-ups here in the Philippines that actually need a lot of help in terms of how to scale their business,” said Mr. Aguilar, who is also the show’s host.

“Start-ups and the tech industry in the country are still in their nascent stages. A lot of them are having a hard time finding sources of funding and money. This is a realization we’ve had even before. We knew there was a gap we needed to bridge and that was why we created the show,” he added.

The show also shed light on the fact that there are investors who want to invest, but who don’t know where to find good start-ups, he explained.

The new season will start on June 24, 8 p.m. and air on CNN Philippines.

This season, The Final Pitch will have a new set of investor-judges: William Tiu Lim, president and CEO of Mega Global Corp.; Fernando “Dino” Araneta, former president and chief strategy and innovation officer of LBC Express and now CEO of digital logistics company, Quad X; Mikee Romero, cofounding owner of AirAsia Zest Philippines and Globalport 900, Inc.; and Jet Yu, founder and managing director of Prime Philippines.

“We have a completely different set of investors — in terms of industries, perspectives, appetite for risk and investments,” Mr. Aguilar said, further noting that the new set of judges offer a “glimpse of the industries, of the nuances, and we get to see what really made them successful.”

The season also introduces BPI Foundation’s entry in the show as the company is set to offer a P500,000 equity-free grant to a “deserving local entrepreneur of its choice,” according to a company press release.

“Usually, when you have investors who are looking to fund, it’s usually in exchange for equities. In this case, social entrepreneurs that maybe do not have a strong a chance to secure and give up equity, it’s a good opportunity for them to get into the show… with the presence of BPI Foundation,” Mr. Aguilar explained.

Applications for the show’s second season are currently being accepted. The season will start to be filmed by late April. Applicants are required to fill up and submit an online entry form on the show’s official Web site

Applicants are urged to submit their businesses for consideration early, as there will only be a limited number of entrepreneurs invited to pitch. Investors interested in becoming part of the show or investing in the entrepreneurs behind the scenes may also get in touch via the show’s Web site. — Zsarlene B. Chua