On this Sunday’s episode of investment reality show Shark Tank, Deborah and Jonathan Torres—founders of vegan chicken brand Atlas Monroe—walked away from a $1 million deal (an amount rarely offered on the show). The Torreses pitched their thriving vegan brand to the “sharks,” looking to gain a $500,000 investment in exchange for 10 percent of the company. Initially, investor Mark Cuban—who revealed on the show that he has been a vegetarian for three months—offered a $500,000 line of credit in exchange for 30 percent of the company. Cuban then changed his offer by partnering with guest investor Rohan Oza to propose a $1 million deal in exchange for 100 percent of the company with 10 percent in royalties paid to the founders. “This is an amazing moment in Shark Tank history,” investor Kevin O’Leary said. “You came in with a very confusing pitch. Now you have a million-dollar offer by two behemoths who can execute.” The Torreses ultimately decided that giving up their brand was not worth $1 million, an amount that they believe the company will soon generate on its own. “The fact you guys are even offering a million dollars lets me know you do understand what we are worth,” Deborah Torres said.
Last year, Atlas Monroe became known as the first vegan vendor featured at the National Fried Chicken Festival in New Orleans, LA—where Extra Crispy editor-in-chief Ryan Grim declared their wheat-based Cajun Fried Chicken and Waffles the best dish he ate at the festival. Last month, the family-owned company’s patriarch—a survivor of 9/11 and the recent Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting—suffered a heart attack and the Torreses are raising funds through a GoFundMe campaign to pay for his more than $200,000 in medical expenses.