Slate Before Shark Tank
Slate is a company that makes healthier protein-packed chocolate milk for adults. Slate chocolate milk started with a Kickstarter and an IndieGoGo campaign and quickly grew into a brand. Slate went on Shark Tank, but the company wasn’t well-received by the Sharks. Slate continued operating after Shark Tank and raised the funds the company needed from other sources. The business grew in 2023 as Slate added new products and found its way to major stores across the United States.
Chocolate milk is a childhood delicacy that people don’t usually grow out of. Chocolate milk can be nostalgic, tasty, and refreshing, regardless of a person’s age. Slate, based in Boston, was founded by young entrepreneurs Manny Lubin and Josh Belinsky in 2018. The co-founders, who were close friends, wanted a healthier version of chocolate milk suitable for adults; that’s when they came up with Slate.
Slate chocolate milk is ultra-filtered, lactose-free, free of added sugar, and low on calories. Slate chocolate milk also has added protein to be diet and workout friendly. The filtration process also allows the product to be shelf-stable for up to a year. The company originally had three flavors: Dark chocolate milk, classic chocolate milk, and mocha latte chocolate milk.
After starting Slate, co-founders Manny and Josh crowdfunded their company by launching Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns.
Both campaigns raised a total of $53,753 within 45 days. Slate successfully delivered the orders to the campaign backers at the promised shipping time. Manny and Josh were also confident of Slate’s future success because of a reliable investor in their company.
Feeling optimistic about the success of the crowdfunding campaigns, Manny and Josh decided to go on Shark Tank. The co-founders went on Shark Tank hoping to find a business partner willing to invest in the company and guide Slate into dominating the competitive chocolate milk market.
Slate on Shark Tank
Manny Lubin and Josh Belinsky were on season 11 of Shark Tank seeking $400,000 for a 10% stake in their company, Slate. The co-founders presented their company to the Sharks and explained what makes Slate unique. They listed the number of calories, protein, and sugar in each can, claiming it was the perfect chocolate milk for adults. They then presented the Sharks with a sample of each flavor. The Sharks disliked the taste; “I do not like that at all,” Mark Cuban commented on the dark chocolate flavor.
Manny claimed that Slate chocolate milk has 75% less sugar than other options in the market; each can contains 9 grams of sugar and 130 calories. Each Slate can costs $0.85 to produce, sells for $1.77 wholesale (52% profit margin), and retails for $2.99. They stated that Slate hasn’t yet made any official sales, but the company has done a pilot run.
The Sharks were intrigued by the high valuation for a company that had no sales yet. Josh claimed that Slate had a reliable business partner who had previously grown a successful yogurt company to make over $150 million in annual sales. The business partner also had an impressive investment history, turning businesses he invested in into widely successful companies.
The co-founders also stated that their business partner had plenty of connections, giving them the opportunity to partner with over four major retailers in the United States. The Sharks disliked the response, claiming that any of them would add that much, if not more, value to the company. Josh confessed that the company had raised $200,000 at a $400,000 valuation.
Lori Greiner believed it was too early for Slate to come on Shark Tank, especially with a $4 million valuation, so she was out.
“You are nothing yet,” Kevin O’Leary declared, expressing his opinion about the company. He disliked the product, the taste, and the high valuation. He was out.
Barbara Corcoran thought Slate was jumping the gun by asking for investment this early since the company didn’t officially launch the product yet, so she was out.
Mark Cuban expressed his dislike for the taste; he didn’t believe in investing in a product he didn’t like, so he was out.
Rohan Oza liked the idea of Slate chocolate milk, but he agreed with the other Sharks that it was too early to invest in the company, so he was out.
After failing to secure a deal with a Shark, Slate co-founders Manny and Josh left the Shark Tank determined to grow their company into a successful business.
Slate Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
After filming the Shark Tank episode, Manny and Josh took the Sharks’ advice and changed the recipe for their products. They worked on their website and took to social media to market their chocolate milk. Slate quickly grew as customers sought a healthy adult version of chocolate milk.
Manny and Josh made the most of their appearance on Shark Tank by marketing to Shark Tank fans and adding “As Seen on Shark Tank” labels on their website and Social Media pages. The Shark Tank episode brought many new customers to the business.
Slate’s journey didn’t stop there; the company secured shelf space in major retail stores, and Slate chocolate milk could now be found in Whole Foods, Giant, Publix, Central Market, and many other stores. In 2021, Slate reported an annual revenue of $1 million. Manny and Josh had a seed funding round in February 2021, raising $1.7 million. The company had another seed funding round in October 2021, raising $3.3 million for a total of $5 million raised in funding.
The seed funding rounds allowed Slate to launch two new flavors now in 2023. Slate’s newest flavors were French Vanilla and Vanilla Latte. Customers loved the new flavors, and Slate received positive reviews and press on the product. CNN, Heavy, and Reviewed gave Slate positive reviews, expressing their love for Slate’s healthy, sugar-free, lactose-free flavored milk. Slate’s lifetime revenue now in 2023 is estimated to be around $12 million.
Slate has proven the Sharks wrong and has grown massively after Shark Tank. Manny and Josh will continue to grow the business despite not securing a deal with a Shark. The recipe change and extensive marketing show their dedication to the company. Slate will likely continue releasing new flavors and grow into a staple healthy chocolate milk option in the market. For more updates and information on the company, visit Slate’s website here.