Startups

5 years after making a deal, Hungry Harvest returns to ‘Shark Tank’

Here's a quick look at how the ugly produce delivery service has grown since CEO Evan Lutz snagged a $100,000 investment deal on the ABC show.

Hungry Harvest CEO Evan Lutz speaks in Baltimore. The company is pitching at TechBUZZ.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Close to five years ago, Hungry Harvest made a deal on “Shark Tank.”

On Friday’s episode, CEO Evan Lutz was back on ABC’s entrepreneurship-focused pitch series for an update on the Port Covington-based food delivery service, which repurposes produce that would’ve otherwise been discarded.

This time, Lutz didn’t face a panel of sharks circling for a chance to invest. Rather, it was a look at the company’s progress, calling attention to its growth, as well as efforts to reduce food waste and fight hunger.

“The reason I invested in Hungry Harvest was the social mission,”  said investor Robert Herjavec on the show. “We’re helping people that need a helping hand and if there’s anything we’ve seen during COVID, there’s a lot of people that need help.”

During the pandemic, Lutz said the company partnered with local healthcare institutions such as Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Medical System to distribute 65,000 emergency food boxes.

This being “Shark Tank,” it also provided a chance to go over some of the metrics. In an interview with Technical.ly just before the appearance last week, Lutz reviewed a few points of growth that the initial 2016 appearance helped to kickstart: 500 customers then became a few thousand in the initial weeks that followed the investment. The company had seven employees then, and now it has 80 following a year that saw a surge in demand for subscription products and food delivery that came alongside the pandemic.

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And we’ll add another when it comes to investment: Herjavec invested $100,000 then. The company raised an equity round shortly after. And this year, it closed a Series A at $13.7 million.

Lutz said Herjavec is still involved in the company, as his team provides resources.

“I think we would still be a solidly growing company today without it, but it helped to give us that extra push,” Lutz said, adding it’s one for which he is “incredibly grateful.”

Companies: Hungry Harvest
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