PORTLAND, ORE. — Pan’s Mushroom Jerky founder Michael Pan pitched his plant-based snack brand on the television show “Shark Tank” and struck a deal with investor Mark Cuban, who agreed to pay $300,000 in exchange for an 18% equity stake in the business.
The episode aired Nov. 20.
Founded in 2008, Pan’s Mushroom Jerky features organic dried shiitake mushrooms, plus organic coconut sugar, avocado oil, Himalayan pink salt and organic chia seeds. Inspired by a decades-old family recipe, the products have an umami taste and meaty texture, according to the company. Varieties include original, zesty Thai, applewood barbecue, and salt and pepper. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is available in about 750 retail outlets and online at Amazon.com, Thrive Market and mushroomjerky.com.
Whole Foods Market identified fruit and vegetable jerky as a top trend in 2021, listing Pan’s among a handful of examples of innovative brands in the category.
During his appearance on “Shark Tank,” Mr. Pan received several offers, but he said he decided to partner with Mr. Cuban given his vegetarian lifestyle and involvement in the plant-based market. Some of his previous investments in the space include Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli, Snacklins and Mush.
“It was validating and humbling to see how much the Sharks loved our jerky,” Mr. Pan said. “You work so hard and for so long to build a business, and to see them compete to be a part of it was incredible.”
The investment will enable the brand to introduce new flavors, increase distribution and continue to expand production to meet increasing demand. The company recently ramped up production, moving into a new facility this past March with significantly more capacity.