If you’ve ever watched the popular sitcom series Shark Tank, then you know that landing an investment opportunity from ‘the sharks’ can be a task. For most aspiring entrepreneurs, a $1 million offer from Mark Cuban would be a one-way ticket to dream-of success.
For the co-founders of Atlas Monroe, however, this otherwise grandiose offer was less than ideal. In the eyes of the founders of the Atlas Monroe, Jonathan and Deborah Torres, their unique and vegan take on fried chicken was worth much more than Mark Cuban had to offer.
The company was born out of Deborah’s desire to find a healthier and better-tasting plant-based alternative for fried chicken, especially after their father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
According to an article published on CNBC, Deborah said, “My whole family and I went on a raw, vegan and organic diet for 90 days. We grew really ‘hangry’ at each other from just eating salads and fruit salads. After the 90 days, [my father] was completely healed. We vowed to stay organic, plant-based and natural. We continued to experiment, and Atlas Monroe was born.”
Jonathan and Deborah did such a great job in developing their plant-based fried chicken, that the Sharks were nearly fooled. In fact, during the episode, Barbara Corcoran said, “You fooled me!”
After a session of number crunching, a standard procedure in the show, most of the Sharks decided to remove any offers from the table. All of them, that is, except for Mark Cuban and Rohan Oza.
Following a short series of back and forth offers and rejections, Cuban and Oza finally decided to team up with an offer they believed the co-founders couldn’t refuse. The two Sharks offered $1 million dollars for 100% ownership of the company, with 10% in royalties given to Jonathan and Deborah.
However, the co-founders of Atlas Monroe quickly declined. The co-founders would ‘fulfill orders and hit a million dollars immediately’. Deborah explained, “We walked away from a million dollars, and we’re walking into $24 million (which is the amount she estimates the business to generate). We know we have something really extraordinary in our hands.”
Deborah admits that Atlas Monroe is a child of her mother’s secret recipe. Although it is known to be made entirely of wheat gluten, the secret to the surprisingly chicken-like taste and texture is all in the spices.