With Nutr’s at-home, plant-based milk making machine, you can make your own dairy-free milks at home at the push of a button. But will the Sharks drink up with Nutr, or will they think that it’s just a nutty idea? Read our Nutr Shark Tank update to see what happened both in the Tank and after.
What is Nutr?
Nutr is a company which manufactures an at-home, plant-based milk making machine. The company also produces proprietary flavored blends and packaged base nuts to be used in the Nutr machine. Nutr is based in Columbus, Ohio.
Nutr’s goal is to allow people to make zero-waste, nutritious, dairy-free milks at home in just a few minutes, whether one chooses to use one of the company’s special blends, or simply decides to make a milk with some raw nuts and water.
Who created Nutr?
A married couple, Dane Turk and Alicia Long, co-founded Nutr. Dane Turk attended Ohio University and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating from college, Dane spent most of his professional career at Ariel Corporation working as a Technical Services Account Manager, leading a team of engineers through distributor and customer relationships for a billion dollar plant, offshore, and pipeline projects across the USA, Scotland, Argentina, Brazil and Canada. Dane is President and Chief Technical Officer of Nutr.
Alicia Long attended the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, where she earned a BA degree in Business Administration and Marketing. Prior to founding Nutr, Alicia spent most of her professional career working as a Tech Recruiter. She worked in recruiting for two of the world’s largest internet players, Amazon and Google. Since 2021, Alicia has worked full-time as the CEO of Nutr.
How did Nutr get started?
Nutr co-founder Alicia Long told the environmental website Green Matters that “As partners and expectant parents, my husband and I felt a strong sense of responsibility towards the world our child would grow up in. We were determined to find a way to be more active participants in a sustainable solution, and that’s when we started looking at our daily consumer choices and larger lifestyle decisions.”
Alicia explained that she grew up in China, so she has childhood memories of her mother making nut milk from scratch at home. As she became more aware of the packaging waste and filler ingredients typically used to make non-dairy milks, she wanted to turn back to those traditional methods, which typically involve boiling nuts, blending them, and straining them.
When Alicia started making nut milk at home, she told Green Matters that she realized, ”It was a time-intensive and messy process, and as a working mom, I knew I wouldn’t be able to commit to making it every week.” The realization that making nut milks the old-fashioned way at home was simply too much for a working mom led her to look into simplifying the process of making plant-based milks at home with whole ingredients and without any harmful additives.
While on maternity leave from Google, Alicia took a course in starting a business, and this gave her the confidence and motivation to move forward with Nutr. Since Alicia’s husband, Dane, was an experienced mechanical engineer he was able to design the Nutr plant-based, milk-making machine, and the company was born.
What happened to Nutr before Shark Tank?
Nutr launched in 2021, and the company was operating out of co-founders Dane Turk and Alicia Long’s garage. In 2021, the company’s first year in business, they had sales of $793k. And during the taping of their Shark Tank episode, Alicia told the Sharks that they had sales of $2 million year-to-date, and that they were projecting sales of $6 million for 2022.
Prior to Shark Tank, about 90% of Nutr’s sales were direct-to-consumer from their website. During the company’s Shark Tank pitch, they revealed that in order to achieve their sales growth, they had spent $1.3 million in marketing, with a heavy lean into influencer marketing.
The company also had previous investment of $250k from a few angel investors, and they had debt of about $1 million for inventory acquisition, for which they ran a Kickfurther campaign, which is a crowdfunding campaign site that is used solely to fund the purchase of inventory.
What do customers think of Nutr?
Nutr’s plant-based, milk-making machine is now available on Amazon, and the machine has 906 global ratings, with an average rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars. 56% of customers rate the machine at 5 stars, and another 13% of users rate it at 4 stars; however, a full 24% of reviewers gave the Nutr machine only a 1 or 2 star rating.
What are customers saying about Nutr?
On the positive side, one verified Amazon purchaser wrote of the Nutr machine, “This is a powerful and extremely useful machine. It makes very little pulp or Okara meaning most of the nutrients are in the end product that we consume. The options are only limited by our imagination and the amount of ingredients you have on hand.”
Another happy Amazon customer said, “After 4+ decades as a vegetarian, I became a vegan during the quarantine. After decades of purchasing cartons and cartons and cartons of alternative milks made from nuts, seeds, and grains, I decided to make my own. I am so very pleased with this machine. It makes enough for one person to last two to three days. Love that I can use all types of ingredients from my pantry and fridge to make milk. The noise of the first few swirls of the blade is loud but it does not last long. In five minutes, I have milk! AMAZING!!!”
With 24% of Amazon ratings for the Nutr machine at only 1-2 stars, it was not difficult to find a number of critical reviews of the product. The number one problem described in most of the negative posts appeared to be the fact that customers found that the Nutr machine was not durable.
One disappointed Amazon reviewer reported, “I got the Nutr machine in July and used it almost every day until it stopped working a couple of months later. I emailed them and they sent us a new machine within 2 wks. The new one stopped working after 2 months. For a machine that costs over $100, I would expect it to last longer.”
Another Amazon user reported a similar experience, “Worked very well until it died after a few months of use, not even using it every day or more than once a day. I was just beyond the 90 day warranty.”
It appears that the company initially offered a 90-day warranty, but in order to deal with the number of complaints that they were receiving about the durability of the machine, they seem to be working to upgrade the motor of the machine, as well as extending the warranty to one year.
When did Nutr appear on Shark Tank?
Nutr appeared on Shark Tank in Season 14, Episode 12 which aired on January 20th, 2023. The Nutr team pitched to regular Sharks Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, and repeat Guest Shark Daniel Lubetzky, Founder and Executive Chairman of KIND.
What happened to Nutr on Shark Tank?
Husband and wife co-founders of Nutr, Dane Turk and Alicia Long, entered the Tank and asked the Sharks for $500k for a 5% stake in their plant-based, milk-making machine business.
Alica Long started their pitch by telling the Sharks that she had been making plant-based milks at home for years and that the process was time-consuming and messy. She said that she had started making the milks at home because many plant-based milks found in the stores are filled with preservatives, gum fillers, and processed sugars.
Alicia said that she and her engineer-husband Dane knew that there had to be a better way to make plant-based milks at home, and that’s why they created their Nutr machine. Dane told the Sharks that you simply need to add some nuts, water, and other ingredients of your choice into the machine, and at the push of a button, you have a clean and nutritious blended milk.
Next, the Sharks examined the Nutr machines which they had in front of them, and they also tasted a variety of milks which had been made in the machine. Alicia also invited Guest Shark Daniel Lubetzky up front to try making milk for himself.
Lori Greiner spoke up after tasting the samples, “So, I’ve tried every single one, and they all taste very pure and clean.” Daniel, after tasting the nut milk he had made, said, “You know what I love about this, the store brands, you’re tasting sugar, with this you taste purely the cashews.”
Mark Cuban quickly got down to business, inquiring about both the retail price of the Nutr machines and the cost to make them. Dane told Mark that the machines cost $42 to produce, and they retailed for $169. Daymond John followed by asking if their sales were all direct-to-consumer, and he learned that at the time of taping the episode, 99% of the company’s sales were generated through their website.
Lori next commented that she noticed the different boxes of ingredients of base nuts and flavors that the company offered, and she wanted to know about them. Alicia told the Sharks that they sell ingredient packs on a bi-weekly subscription for $45, or a monthly rate of $75.
O’Leary, as is his custom, now wanted to hear about sales revenues. Alicia told him that last year the company had $793k in sales, without a Kickstarter campaign, and for 2022 year-to-date, they had $2 million in sales and were projecting $6 million for the full year.
Mark Cuban next asked how the company had generated the sales, and he learned that they had spent $1.3 million on marketing, heavily leaning into influencer marketing. Also, in what started a confusing portion of the pitch for the Sharks, Alicia told them that they had “bootstrapped the company with a $500k investment.”
While it appeared that at least one Shark might still have some interest, another Shark was ready to swim away.
Did Nutr get a deal on Shark Tank?
While the Nutr team was given an opportunity to present their best offer to one Shark, they were unable to successfully make a deal in the Tank.
Before Alicia and Dane could go any further into the numbers, Lori revealed her hand as she told the Nutr team that people do like another gadget in the kitchen, especially items to enhance the morning coffee experience, however, Lori said that she had purchased a milk frother for her morning coffee, and while she loved it, she rarely used it, and with this, Lori bowed out.
Mr. Wonderful now came back to the numbers discussion and asked if the company had any debt. Alicia explained that they had used some “creative financing” in the form of a crowdfunding platform which helps new companies to fund inventory purchases. Mark Cuban took exception to this answer since Alicia had told them, moments before, that they had “bootstrapped the company.”
Then, Daniel learned that Nutr had also raised $250k from angel investors. This led to exclamations from several Sharks that the company can not have both been “bootstrapped” and have angel investors, and Alicia countered this by saying that they still own 100% of the company.
Mark Cuban quickly told Alicia and Dane that everyone knew that the angel’s investments could be converted to shares, so he wasn’t impressed by her earlier representation. He also said that because he had invested in Numilk, he couldn’t do a deal today.
O’Leary next exposed his hand by telling the Nutr team that if they had come in asking for $100k, he could have put the Chef Wonderful brand behind it, but at $500k, he saw no path to liquidity. Daymond piped up and asked simply, “How’s that 5% thing working out right now?”
Daniel next asked Dane and Alicia if they wanted to give him their best offer; he would give them a yes or no answer, and when Alicia came back with an offer of 7.5%, plus 2% advisory shares, Daniel replied, “I’m glad I asked you because I would have offended you with what I had in mind.” Alicia tried one last time by asking Daniel what he was thinking, but Daniel simply responded, “I think I’m out, but prove me wrong.”
Nutr Shark Tank Update, what happened after Shark Tank?
Though Nutr was unable to secure a deal on Shark Tank, co-founder Alicia Long told trade publication Green Matters: “While we would have loved to secure a deal on Shark Tank, we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to showcase our product to such a large audience. Appearing on the show allowed us to share our mission and vision with millions of viewers and further establish ourselves as a leader in the plant-based milk industry.”
Alicia also told Green Matters that her team have been using some of the Sharks’ critiques to improve both their product and business strategy. Additionally, she said that Nutr had secured some significant funding and partnerships since the episode aired, and according to Alicia, Nutr had raised more than six times its fundraising goal on Indiegogo, raking in more than $66,000 after launching the campaign in September 2022.
Nutr had sought this new investment in order to both develop an improved model of the original machine, Nutr 2.0, and to release a family-size Nutr machine as well. While the Indiegogo Campaign closed successfully, raising money for these new projects, and Nutr published a press release in August 2023 announcing the Family-size model, we were unable to find the product available on either the company website or on Amazon.
We also discovered the original Nutr machine to be sold out or unavailable, both on Amazon and on the company website; thus, it seems that the verdict is still out on whether or not Nutr will be able to reach its goals after having walked out of the Tank without a deal. We will continue watch for future developments with the company, and provide a Nutr Shark Tank update when more information is available.