Rebel Cheese Shark Tank Update – Net Worth, Pitch & Deal

Fred Zwar and Kristen Maitland, a couple from Austin, Texas, entered Shark Tank to get an experienced head on board to help their company grow. Rebel Cheese, a vegan cheese company that earned revenue initially as a restaurant, was new on the e-commerce platforms. The COVID-19 times were rewarding for the company as the founders took it online. 

Despite promising growth, the founders needed help with marketing and distribution. The company did engage Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner in their business idea. Did they get a deal from them? Our Rebel Cheese Shark Tank Update will explain everything that went down on Shark Tank Season 15 Episode 9. 

Rebel Cheese Net Worth

Fred and Kristen demanded $750,000 for a 5% share in equity, which valued the company at $15 million. However, Kevin had reservations regarding that. He said that just making vegan cheese could not earn the company such a high valuation. Mark and Lori offered $750,000 for a 10% share in equity. This offer revalued the company at $7.5 million, which was more accurate. The exact net worth would have been near the offered value. 

What Happened To Rebel Cheese After Shark Tank?

Rebel Cheese’s website and other social media platforms did not change much after the episode aired. For now, the company has new boxes listed on their website. Shark Tank Box, Lori’s Box, and Mark’s Box were the three new additions to the inventory. However, these boxes made it clear that Mark and Lori were officially onboard on the executive team. 

Did Rebel Cheese Get A Deal On Shark Tank?

The overall business idea of Rebel Cheese was catchy. The presentation got every shark interested in the product. Vegan cheese was in demand, evidenced by the growing sales and stable margins. The company had three revenue channels to sustain the market competition. Fred and Kristen asked for $750,000 in return for 5% of the company’s equity share. 

Kevin, Robert, and Emma opted out for the reasons explained later in the Rebel Cheese Shark Tank Update. However, Mark Cuban could not resist offering the food-based company a deal. Lori joined in to provide her expertise, similar to what she had done for Boarderie. They closed the deal at $750,000 for 10% of the equity share

Shark(s) nameOfferDemandCounterofferAccepted?
Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner$750,00010% share in equity$750,000 for 6% share in equity ‘or’ $1,000,000 for 10% share in equityYes, the original offer
Emma GredeOutN/AN/AN/A
Robert HerjavecOutN/AN/AN/A
Kevin O’LearyOutN/AN/AN/A

Rebel Cheese Shark Tank Update

rebel cheese net worth

Rebel Cheese was a vegan cheese brand founded by Fred Zwar and Kristen Maitland. The couple researched for years to develop flavorful and distinct cheese made of plant extracts. Rebel Cheese started from a restaurant in Austin, Texas. 

The business grew in the subsequent years when it had the opportunity to explore e-commerce alternatives during the pandemic. The official website had different flavors of vegan cheese. Every ingredient was ethically sourced, and each wheel was sold in boxes.

Founder And Backstory 

Fred Zwar and Kristen fell in love with mixed magic from both sides. Kristen was an awesome girlfriend, while Fred was a romantic boyfriend who would plan creative and European-style picnics. The relationship revolves around food made of cheese. However, the couple became vegan after that. 

They miss the cheesy picnics but could not find vegan cheese to satisfy their taste buds. This was when the duo found a gap in the market and founded Rebel Cheese in Austin, Texas. The business started with a vegan cheese restaurant but faced problems during COVID-19. Rebel Cheese joined e-commerce platforms during the pandemic to expand its revenue streams. 

Pitch And Initial Presentation 

Fred Zwar and Kristen Maitland entered the Shark Tank, asking $750,000 for a 5% share in the equity of their vegan cheese brand. The duo told their backstory, where Fred used to plan European-style picnics. The nostalgic and cheesy picnics were a major miss when Fred and Kristen became vegan. They went shopping to buy premium, artisan, and vegan cheese. 

The search ended miserably, as they could not find the right product. This was when the couple decided to launch an artisan vegan cheese brand. Rebel Cheese made cheese from plant derivatives, using the techniques mastered after years of experimenting. Fred and Kristen eventually found the right texture and flavors. They presented sharks with their best-selling cheese variants.

Discussion On The Pitch

what happened to rebel cheese after shark tank

Kevin O’Leary curiously inquired about the ingredients. Kristen explained that each cheese variant was prepared from multiple plant-based extracts. The ingredients included cashews, water, salt, and cultures. Technique was the main thing that set them apart from the competitors.

Robert Herjavec asked if Rebel Cheese was the only company making vegan cheese. Kristen confirmed that no other company made artisan and vegan cheese at scale. The company had established a new facility that produced 8 million wheels a year.

Emma Grede asked about the business model on which Rebel Cheese was operating. Fred explained that the revenue came from three sources. E-commerce constituted 16% of the business through online subscriptions. The wholesale channel contributed to 17% of the revenue. The remaining revenue was from the single-location restaurant. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the founders to pivot the business model by diverting to e-commerce. Online subscriptions and competitive product prices helped them land contracts with over 100 retailers.

Lori Greiner asked if Rebel Cheese had any significant retailers in its portfolio. Kristen answered that many known retailers approached the company to list products online. However, they turned them down because the business was unprepared for that. Mark Cuban appreciated the founders for understanding their limitations. 

Kevin wanted to know the price comparison of Rebel Cheese products and the traditionally-made wheel of high-end brie. Fred elaborated that each wheel of cheese costs $4.67 to make (including labor and overheads). A unit costs $9 to land on the retail platforms. The Rebel Cheese products had an MSRP of $15 to $20 per wheel. Premium traditional cheese was available for between $10 and $20.

Robert inquired how much Rebel Cheese had made in sales. Fred claimed that they made sales of $2.5 million and were on track to close 2023 at $3.5 million. Kevin questioned the pre-tax profit Rebel Cheese would make $3.5 million in sales. Fred said that the business had been profitable for four years. However, 2023 would be break-even due to scaling. Rebel Cheese planned to reach 500 stores next year, so the distribution channel would help them make $7 million in sales. 

Negotiation And Final Deal

did rebel cheese get a deal on shark tank

After the discussion ended, Kevin concluded that Rebel Cheese had product differentiation due to its extraordinary brie. However, that did not mean the company was worth $15 million. Kevin opted out due to the wrong valuation. 

After Kevin finished, Mark instantly offered Rebel Cheese $750,000 for 10% of equity. Lori announced herself by shouting, “Wait, wait, wait.” She mentioned Boarderie, a start-up that appeared on Shark Tank. With Lori’s help, they were making $30 million per year. Lori said that Boarderie had a variety of cheese products but did not have a vegan product line, so she could join Mark.

Robert and Emma made the decision simpler for Rebel Cheese, as they opted out in time. Robert said he was not a cheese guy, while Emma could not understand the business model. Fred requested Mark and Lori reduce the equity demand to 6%. Mark refused. Kristen asked for $1 million for 10% of equity in the company. Lori and Mark refused to negotiate. 

Fred asked Lori and Mark to help them with distribution and marketing. Mark promised to go down to the retail stores in Austin to recommend Rebel Cheese. Fred and Kristen demanded time to discuss. However, Kevin advised them to decide quickly because they were letting the deal slip for 2.5 to 3%. The duo agreed to Mark and Lori’s offer.

Product Availability

Rebel Cheese sells vegan cheese made of four natural ingredients: cashew, water, salt, and cultures. The company claims that all the ingredients are naturally and ethically sourced. A wheel of cheese from the Rebel Cheese had no cholesterol, no preservatives, and no artificial ingredients. The rind is soft and prominent, created after two weeks of aging. The center is kept creamy to maintain the cheesy feel.   

The cheese wheels were available in twelve flavorful variants. The company sold each wheel between $15 and $20 on different retail platforms. After researching for years, Fred and Kristen developed the tastes but mixed them in separate boxes. Each box contains flavors that complement each other. Rebel Cheese updates boxes every month for special occasions. Shark Tank Box, Mark’s Box, and Lori’s Box are listed on its website. 

Rebel Cheese appeared on various news platforms, including the New York Times, VegNews, and Austin Monthly. The business has excellent prospects because the flavors are distinct and detailed. Rebel Cheese has a competitive advantage when it comes to flavors. Other vegan cheese brands are either low-quality or too expensive.

Conclusion

Rebel Cheese is a solution for all those vegans who want to taste cheese but want it dairy-free. It has excellent potential to grow since it produces brie at scale. The newly established production facility can help the company reduce its production costs further to earn a competitive advantage. The elite flavor profile (confirmed by sharks) and competitive pricing strategy of the company will go a long way.

Lori’s retail experience and network will help the business accommodate shelves on nationwide marts and grocery stores. She can use her cheesy experience from Boarderie to help Rebel Cheese grow. Mark Cuban has a solid portfolio in the food industry, so he can add value to the executive table. He promised to help endorse and distribute the product. Rebel Cheese really won a business-transforming deal on Shark Tank.

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