Lord Nut Levington Before Shark Tank
Sanjiv Patel from Dallas, Texas, has just entered the Shark Tank. Sanjiv created Lord Levington Peanuts, and is seeking a $500,000 investment in exchange for 30% of his company. Behind Sanjiv is a gigantic flag with Lord Nut Levington himself present, and Sanjiv begins a story about exactly who that handsome chap is. He’s Lord Nut Levington, and legend has it that Lord Nut hails from Bleighte, an unsavory land from across the pond known for its extreme blandness and lack of flavor. When he could stand it no longer, he took it upon himself to start on a self-imposed exile in search of flavor. Later, he found his true calling in life; find blandness, no matter where it may hide, and bring flavor to the masses.
Lord Nut Levington On Shark Tank
Sanjiv hands out some samples to the Sharks, which include cheddar cheese and jalapeno and honey sriacha. At this point, Kevin brings up Sanjiv’s valuation of a million-and-a-half dollar company. Kevin asks about sales and distribution, and Sanjiv says that he launched the brand in April of 2011 and the month prior to filming this Shark Tank episode, they made over $700,000 in sales, which is the equivalent of 300,000 cans of peanuts. The sales last year were $300,000, which Robert points out is a flat figure; Sanjiv says that upon initially starting Lord Nut Levington’s Peanuts, they worked with large retailers and discount stores and their profit margins were a lot lower than they are now. Now that sales are normalizing, Sanjiv says that they should end the year with about $350,000 in sales, but unfortunately will not make any money – no revenue. Kevin asks Sanjiv why he thinks he is worth a million-and-half dollars, and says that Sanjiv’s only commodity is peanuts. Since Kevin is a venture capitalist and has access to many resources, he can buy peanuts and roast them or flavor them – what Sanjiv is doing is not unique. At this point, he would only be investing in the brand.
Sanjiv attempts to bring up Mr. Planter’s peanuts as a meaning of brand recognition, but Kevin mentions that prior to Sanjiv’s entrance, none of the sharks had ever heard of Lord Nut Levington, and the rest of America hasn’t either, and Sanjiv insists that his company is on their way. Upon probing from Lori, Sanjiv says that so far they are in about 600 stores across the United States, but mainly down the middle of america. Earlier this year, they entered into several stores, all of which have re-ordered. So far, Sanjiv has invested $1.1 million into Lord Nut Levington, and all the Sharks are blown away. Robert asks where the money came from, and Sanjiv says that he came over from India and received his Master’s in Business Administration; when he graduated, he joined a pita chip company which was still starting up – it only had about $2 million in sales when he joined. Kevin says that Sanjiv must remember the days when the pita chip company was attempting to get shelf space, and that shelf space for snacks comes at an insane premium. It’s one thing to purchase shelf space and keep it, but it is an entirely new story to scale and remain profitable. Kevin says that at some point, Sanjiv would have to replace some major linear footage in retail (meaning, all the products are placed next to each other – think of Lay’s Potato Chips, for example) against a person that has 80% of the market cornered. Sanjiv says that it is very common, in the snack industry, for the entrepreneur to create brands. It is the role of the larger, multi-national companies to then scale those brands, which is why there is a driving entrepreneurial industry that creates products. However, Kevin says that Sanjiv and Lord Nut Levington must survive until that point, and Sanjiv says he is doing just that – he is surviving, not thriving.
Kevin asks for an operator in the peanut space within the past 10 years that has survived a slaughter (acquisition) from any of the other large players, and Barb interrupts and says why stop at peanuts – nobody in the snack market has managed to stand up to acquisition. Kevin says that investing in such a cutthroat market would be insane, and Sanjiv asks if he would give up all hope despite never seeing the miracle happen – Kevin says of course. However, Sanjiv insists that he would never give up without seeing the venture through. Barbara brings up an example of a barbeque potato chip company, which was at $500,000 in sales and it took the company a year and a half to get there. After their long struggle, the chips caught sale and exploded their sales to $2.5 million in a year, and it took every doomsayer telling them otherwise to get there; Barbara is essentially telling Kevin to stop ragging on Sanjiv and be more optimistic about the potential markets. However, Kevin says that he cannot follow Sanjiv down “the path to Hell,” and he exits the deal first.
Barb speaks next, asking Sanjiv how he developed all the flavors. Sanjiv says that while he isn’t a cook, he has resources available that help him to develop these products. Barb says that passion is ultimately missing from the project for her, and even Mark agrees – while Sanjiv has cute names, Barb hasn’t heard any real love from Sanjiv towards her food. For every food deal that Barbara has done in the snack business, the love and affection towards the product was front and center, but Barbara just isn’t getting that with Sanjiv and Lord Nut Levington. Barb is the second Shark out of the deal.
Lori speaks up next, saying that unfortunately, she couldn’t even eat the peanuts because the peanuts don’t agree with her. Since Lori cannot even eat the product, she cannot invest in the product for the glaring issue – she cannot eat it. Lori is also out of the deal.
Robert is next, speaking that he is like Kevin and loves disruptive technologies and would love to enter the peanut market to see where he could go. However, what Robert did not hear was ultimately a plan from Sanjiv that makes Robert want to spend half a million dollars to help build the brand moving forward. Robert is also out of the deal.
Mark is the last Shark remaining, and he starts by saying that his first problem is that Sanjiv has not spoken about the sales velocity. Mark gives Sanjiv a chance to immediately tell Mark about the sales velocity, hoping to hear that Lord Nut Levington products are flying off the shelves or are selling hot right now. However, Sanjiv says that Lord Nut Levington is bringing a fun, differentiated product to a market that is otherwise bland and somewhat saturated – there is no water cooler talk about other products. However, Mark says that Lord Nut Levington is the actual water cooler product, and that few people would be excited to get behind the entrepreneurship of a peanut company when the market is already saturated with big names. Sanjiv says he disagrees, and that Lord Nut Levington is going to be the hottest thing to the peanut market; Mark points out that Sanjiv went from giving concrete, non-biased data to just talk and giving stories. Mark does not see the product blowing out the doors under Sanjiv’s lead since sales are not flying off the shelf – the product cannot “bust the doors down” since the sales velocity is not there. Mark is also out of the deal, leaving Sanjiv without an investment.
However, Mark points out that he is impressed that Sanjiv came in and went toe-to-toe with Kevin, schooling Kevin a little bit on investment principles.
Lord Nut Levington Now in 2018- The After Shark Tank Update
Lord Nut is doing quite well without the investment from the Sharks, it seems. Despite the lack of an investment, Lord Nut Levington still has a nice web presence with a sleek-looking website, complete with the “classical” look that the Lord Nut Levington brand is attempting to aim for. 8 oz cans of Lord Nut Levington peanuts can be purchased for $4.99 (excluding shipping), and comes with a little story that details the history behind the flavors in the Lord Nut Levington character. Additional flavors have been created, such as Spicy Bloody Mary peanuts, so Lord Nut Levington’s sales must be doing quite well for it to maintain some level of growth.