Popular American reality TV show ‘Shark Tank’ features entrepreneurs pitching to a panel of ‘shark’ investors. The main investors include Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, O’Leary: “Look what happened to me when I let Barbara dress me.”
(Corcoran laughs) Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, style icon Daymond John, John: “Thank you everybody that voted on what suit I should wear.” and QVC mogul Lori Greiner. “They are really durable, but watch when you see how much this holds, and why this is so fabulous.” Canada and the United Kingdom have similar programs where business owners pitch to ‘dragons’ instead. Famous Dragons include Arlene Dickinson, Manjit Minhas, Jim Treliving, Tej Lalvani, and Deborah Meadan. Meaden: “You won’t be at all surprise to hear – I won’t be investing. I’m out.” All three shows have been running for a combined 40 seasons, and the investors have heard thousands of pitches and invested in some incredible products. Over the years there have been dozens of pitches from vegan brands and entrepreneurs. Check out these 7 vegan pitches to find out if the entrepreneurs sealed the deal. #1 Bee Free Honee Katie Sanchez and Melissa Elms entered the Tank in 2016 to pitch their business Bee Free Honee. They were seeking a $100,000 investment for a 10% stake in their company. “Bee Free is the only alternative honey on the market… made from apples!” Sanchez is a pastry chef who stumbled across the idea when a batch of apple jelly she was making turned into a honey-like substance. The product is made from organic, 100% plant ingredients, making it a great substitute for honey. “We make all of our products in our kitchen using only apples grown in the USA. Bee Free Honee can be used on breads, as a topping for granolas, or oatmeals. You can use Bee Free Honee as the perfect substitute.” Tech businessman Mark Cuban was intrigued by the ethical component to the product: “If I walk into a grocery store with my kids, and it says ‘Buy this, save the lives of a thousand bees’ – this is a $100 million dollar brand.” The entrepreneurs walked out with a $210,000 investment for 30% equity, split between sharks Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, and guest shark Chris Sacca. #2 Evive Smoothie In season 13 of Canada’s Dragon’s Den, Dominic Dube and Claudia Poulin aimed to “shake up” the definition of fast food. Their product is EVIVE vegan smoothie cubes and they entered the den seeking $100,000 for a 10% stake in their business. Dube: “Three years ago while we were studying at University, we had busy mornings like most people. And we realized it was hard for us to keep up the good habit of preparing healthy smoothies every day. That’s why we invented frozen smoothie cubes.” Dragon’s Den Announcer: “The smoothies come in 6 flavors and are made up of whole fruits, veggies, superfoods such as chia and hemp seeds, spirulina and vegan protein.” Dragon Manjit Minhas was impressed. Poulin: “Pop the smoothie in a mason jar, or a bottle. and then you just add the liquid of your choice. So you just cover the cubes, let the cube melt, and shake it.” “It’s really good. It tastes like a real smoothie like I would make at home.” The dragons jumped on the business opportunity, almost all of them making offers. Dube and Poulin sealed the deal with Manjit Minhas, who offered them $150,000 for 10% – $50,000 more than what they came in asking for. #3 Cinnaholic “Hi, I’m Shannon, and this is my husband Florian, and we are the co-founders of Cinnaholic.” Husband and wife duo Florian and Shannon Radke pitched on Shark Tank in 2015. Their flagship bakery Cinnaholic located in Berkeley, California, allows patrons to customize vegan cinnamon rolls. The duo aimed to open more locations with the help of a shark investment. They entered the tank seeking a $200,000 for a 20% stake of their company. “My background in brand marketing, and with Shannon’s talent for baking, we created the world’s best cinnamon roll experience. At Cinnaholic, it’s all about custom, gourmet cinnamon rolls. We start it off with a fresh cinnamon roll right out of the oven, and then you can choose from over 30 different frosting flavors and 30 different toppings and create your own, very unique cinnamon roll.” The sharks were excited to taste test the product. Robert Herjavec: “We’re always hungry.”
Other Shark (offscreen): “What do we have here?” Shannon Radke: “So, for Robert, we’re making a caramel banana cream pie.” Robert Herjavec: “You are speaking my language, Shannon.” The offers got a bit sticky when sharks Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary pointed out that opening a second location is a risky investment – it will either work or it won’t. In the end, the Radke’s accept Herjavec’s offer of $200,000 in exchange for a 40% stake in the company. Today, the chain has exploded in popularity – with locations in Vegas, Georgia, Texas, and Toronto. #4 Infuse My.Colour In 2018, the founders of a vegan beauty brand saw great success on the UK’s Dragon’s Den. Hairdressers-turned-entrepreneurs Rob Forgione and Denis Kovalyov, founders of My.Haircare, entered the den to pitch vegan hair dye shampoo Infuse My.Colour. “We would like to introduce you today, a multi-award winning, PETA certified, infusing colour shampoo Infuse My.Colour.” The pair were seeking an 80,000 pound investment for 8% equity to expand their product line into foreign markets. The shampoo is 100% PETA Certified Vegan, and is paraben, silicone, and sulphate-free. “We created a quality product that is free-from, and vegan. The product comes in 5 shades – colors hair from dark brown right through to blonde. Just wash the hair, rinse it through, and it adds colour instantly.” Dragon Tej Lalvani was intrigued about the vegetable-based aspect. Lalvani: “Are you the only guys doing the vegetable dye?” Kovalyov: “We are the only PETA certified vegan and cruelty-free brand.” Three dragons wanted a piece of the cruelty-free hair product. After countering the initial offers, the former hairdressers sealed the deal with Tej Lalvani, accepting an 80,000 pound offer for 25% percent of the company, which would then drop to 20% equity after two years once Lalvani has recouped his money. Jones: “What colour are you gonna go, Tej?”
Lalvani: “Me?” “Um, I’m gonna go with… gold.” #5 Wild Earth In season 10 of Shark Tank, biotech entrepreneur Ryan Bethencourt pitched Wild Earth vegan dog treats to the sharks. “You know that moment when you walk in and go ‘hello Sharks!'” “I was just like what am I going to say?” He started the pitch by asking for a whopping $550,000 dollar investment, in return for a 5% stake in their business. Wild Earth’s aim is to disrupt the pet food industry with vegan dog food and treats that will put pet owners minds at ease. Bethencourt explains that we really have no idea what is in most pet foods, and that pet obesity is on the rise. Wild Earth’s dog food blend comes from cultured human-grade protein made from koji and yeast. Koji is an ingredient revered in Asian cultures with an umami taste profile. Matt Higgins: “I’m afraid to ask this but can we try it?” Bethencourt: “What I have to say, and I will bring this over…food over here.” Higgins: “Are we gonna regret this?”
Bethencourt: “No, no. Definitely not.” Lori Greiner: “You’re saying we can actually taste it?”
Bethencourt: “Yes.” Daymond John: “Thank you”
Mark Cuban: “Thank you sir.”
Bethencourt: “You’re welcome.” The dog food is eco-friendly as well, as the fermentation process only takes three days compared to the weeks and months it takes to raise livestock. Bethencourt: “This is made for dogs, but it’s made in our facility – this was made in a human-grade kitchen. It’s a flavor dogs love.” Higgins: “I’m not unhappy or unhappy.” Lori Greiner: “Well it tastes like oatmeal.”
Bethencourt: “Well it’s koji, bacon flavor (non animal-based), and peanut butter.” “Dogs love it, it’s got over 10% koji so, we actually make koji ourselves…” Kevin O’Leary: “Is 10% enough protein?”
Bethencourt: “Not off of treats.” Kevin O’Leary: “These are treats, they are not dog food?”
Bethencourt: “Treats, and this is our prototype kibble so…” “…our treats we’re releasing them in October, and then our kibble we’re shooting to release…” ALL SHARKS: “Whoa, wait a minute.” The valuation for the company seemed high to the sharks after learning that the dog food was in the prototype phase. Daymond John: “How much sale did you do of anything to make this company worth $11 million dollars right now?” Bethencourt: “We did a lot of R&D.”
Cuban: “OHHHHH”
Greiner: “Uh oh” O’Leary: “You don’t say.” In the end, tech tycoon Mark Cuban was intrigued by the company’s vision for sustainability. Cuban countered the offer with a $550K investment for a 10% stake in the company. After the deal closed, Cuban told the press: “There’s an enormous potential market for lower-cost, sustainable protein to feed the growing worldwide pet population and Wild Earth is now the alpha dog in this space.” “We’ve actually worked with a lot of incredible people and teams over the past couple of… that’s a good boy… over the last couple months. We actually redesigned our brand entirely, so you’ll probably see on Shark Tank – that was our old brand, that was when we were just about to launch.” #6 The Very Good Butchers In November 2018, Mitchell Scott and James Davidson entered the den to pitch their vegan butcher business. Called the Very Good Butchers, the company makes a range of vegan meats made from beans. They were seeking a $500,000 investment on a convertible note. As part of a Christmas special for the Canadian show, the Dragons sat down for a vegan holiday meal to taste test the product. Scott: “What sets us apart is we don’t butcher chickens, cows, or pigs – we butcher beans.”
Dragons: Ahhhhhh Davidson: “Everything you see on this table is 100% organic, lovingly handcrafted, and entirely vegan.” Dragons: “Well done.” “Wow.”
Minhas: “My kind of Christmas.” Vegetarian dragon Manjit Minhas spoke highly of the meat’s flavor and texture. Minhas: “The problem with a lot of this kind of food that others try to do is it gets too chewy. And this has a really nice consistency in your mouth, and it doesn’t have that bad aftertaste.” Davidson: “Thank you.” The dragons competed to make the deal – but they all wanted equity in the company in exchange for an investment. Treliving: “$500,000 dollars, I’d go for 20%.” Dragons Michelle Romanow and Lane Merrifield merged their deals – Merrifield: “Michelle and I were talking, we actually think we can combine forces here. You know, I can help on the subscription side, um, Michelle, you were mentioning some connections, especially down in the US, which is obviously a big opportunity.” – and offered ¾ of a million dollars in exchange for 10% equity in the business – a deal the butchers quickly jumped on. Scott: “Just blown away.” Davidson: “Yeah, blown away. Don’t know what to say. It’s great.” #7 Beyond Sushi In 2018, Guy Vaknin entered Shark Tank to pitch his plant-based sushi chain Beyond Sushi. With multiple locations in New York City, Vaknin was seeking a 1.5 million dollar investment to expand his business to the West Coast. He offered the Sharks 25% equity in exchange for the investment. Lori Greiner and guest Shark Matt Higgins joined forces to land a deal. Grenier thinks the plant-based sushi will be a hit in west coast markets. Grenier: “I think this will do even better on the West coast, personally.”
Vaknin: “I think so, too.” Grenier: “Because I think that’s the mindset here, is more towards that type of food.” The Sharks wanted a piece of both the East and West coast aspects of the business. Higgins: “Your energy and your intensity: I love it.” “But my offer’s firm. Right? You get both of us, you get the entire network, but I need to be incentivized to work hard for you.” Vaknin accepted the offer of 1.5 million for 15% of the East Coast operations and 30% of the West Coast operations. Today – there are 6 Beyond Sushi locations in New York City, and Vaknin has big plans for the future. That’s it for today. Which pitch was your favorite? Let us know in the comments. Remember to subscribe and hit the notification bell. New videos every Tuesday and Friday.