Aug. 9, 2017

#9 Tuckrbox

#9 Tuckrbox

Co-founders Meghan Carreau and Alex Payne are pitching their food delivery service built on noble ideals of making kids healthier and reducing headaches for parents. Can the founders convince investors that their startup will actually deliver on those promises?

Today's investors are Phil Nadel, Jillian Manus, Jake Chapman, Howie Diamond and Sheel Mohnot.


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Go behind-the-scenes with the founders and investors on The Pitch



From Gimlet, this is The Pitch. I’m Josh Muccio 

On this show, we venture into the world of startups, to a critical moment, when aspiring entrepreneurs put it all on the line and pitch investors for funding. 

Jillian: Okay, what makes a good business? Not just a mission. Not what makes a good mission. What makes a good business?

Sheel: As much as I want the business to exist, I don't know if it can.

Today two founders pitch a food delivery service built on the hopes of making kids healthier and reducing headaches for parents. But noble ideals can only take you so far — and then... you need a solid business plan. 


Phil Nadel is the founder of Forefront Venture Partners. For him, a pitch all comes down to the bottom line.

Phil: When you're investing your money, do the right thing. When you're investing my money, pay the minimum you can pay.

Jillian Manus is here representing Structure Capital. She really champions entrepreneurs -- especially when she can get behind their mission. 

Jillian: I do think you're onto something, and the fact that you're trying to help young people, good for you.

Jake Chapman’s here with Gelt VC. In pitches he really gets in the weeds with all the details of a startup.

Jake: You need data to say that people do sit and play this for three hours or whatever it is. What sort of data do you have on that?

Howie Diamond founded the VC firm, Ranch Ventures. He invests in people as much as their startups — if he can believe in them, he’ll believe in their company. 

Howie: If I had more disposable income, I would probably invest personally in you.

Sheel Mohnot is with 500 StartUps. He tries to keep it real with founders, letting them know exactly how he sees things.

Sheel: Shere's going to be days where they don't show up. There's all these nightmares that you'll have to deal with.

Our investors seem to be enjoying themselves.

In walk our founders today, Meghan and Alex.

Meghan: I'm Meghan.

Alex: And I'm Alexandra.

Meghan: And we're the co-founders of TuckrBox, the first farm-to-lunchbox meal delivery and food education app for kids. So one of the biggest problems that we face in this country today all starts with what we send our kids to school with in their lunchboxes. I'm talking about the peanut butter and jelly, the sugary yogurts, the juice boxes. One in three American children are obese. One in five will develop an obesity-related disease. And all of this really stems from the fact that they're not learning healthy eating habits in their childhood to feed themselves well as adults.

Everyone agrees that the biggest contributor to childhood obesity is kids’ eating habits. But Meghan and Alex think the issue runs even deeper.

Alex: And I think the big problem there isn't that it's a problem for kids, it's that it's an issue for families. So parents are already spending over 700 hours every year buying foods and prepping foods for their kids. It's time consuming. It's challenging. How do you balance creating a nutritional diet against picky eating habits? So we really asked ourselves, how can we create a healthier generation through food and technology? And for us, the answer is obvious. It's putting kids in the driver's seat and seeing them as active eaters.

I gotta say, calling your answer to a pervasive problem like childhood obesity “obvious” — that takes some confidence. 

Sheel: What are your guys' backgrounds?

Meghan: So my background is in advertising and design. I worked on lots of different tech and Fortune 500 companies as an art director for six years in New York City at big agencies.

Alex: And I kind of come from a different world than Meg does. So my background was in urban planning, and I spent a long time doing food systems works. All of the last, especially five years of my life, have been looking at how our food system is broken and the different inroads that we have to change it. 

After seeing these broken food systems up close, Alex teamed up with Meghan to create TuckrBox.

Alex: On the TuckrBox app, kids go online, and they get to choose their own lunches every week. They're healthy and they're kid-centric. And then they're also able to go and play and learn about food in a way that's fun. Plus, all of those meals get delivered right to their homes, which is convenient for parents.

Meghan: We're raising $800,000 to build out the rest of our app -- to develop our food menu, and to launch our beta back in New York.

Jillian: So you haven't launched yet?

Meghan: Not yet.

Jillian: Got it.

If they can raise the $800,000 they need, TuckrBox will launch as an app that parents and kids can use to learn about healthy foods, and then have those foods delivered right to their door. It’s like a kids’ version of Blue Apron — but with a health education mission.

Howie: What's the age group that you're looking at targeting?

Meghan: So we're targeting elementary school kids. That ranges all the way from pre-K to sixth grade.

Phil: But didn't you say that the kids go on and make the choices themselves?

Howie: Yeah, so that's what I was going to say. Like, are they going to have phones? An elementary, kindergarten kid is not going to have a phone. So are you selling to parents? Or are you selling to kids? Or are you selling to both? 

Alex: Well, generally we're selling to both, because any sort of economic decision isn't being made by a child. So the point is, you're first marketing it to the parent. Especially in urban centers, where both people are working, it's more and more difficult for parents to navigate their daily lives, and also making healthy lunches for kids. 

Meghan: If we were making a persona of the target child, it would be seven or eight years old. Because we think that's when they're developing these habits that they take with them

Sheel: How often will you do deliveries?

Alex: So right now, we're looking at doing deliveries twice a week. There will be a Sunday delivery for the first half of the week, and then we're toying with either a Tuesday or Wednesday delivery for the second half of the week.

Sheel: Got it. So you're delivering to the home. 

Jillian: So if you only do two drop-offs a week, how are you going to keep these foods fresh? You have a Sunday meal and how are you going to keep that, which is prepared usually probably on Saturday, and then the child's going to be able to eat it on Wednesday?

Alex: Yeah. I mean, if I'm completely honest with you, basically our R&D is around a lot of how do you create fun and interesting cold leftovers. Right now we've been testing a couple of different things with a chef that I know through Blue Hill. And she's been working with us basically to develop cold burgers, cold veggie burgers. Things that will hold up in their own right.

Jillian: That kids will really like to eat?

Meghan: Yeah, she has a daughter, and her kid is just, like, loving this food. So we're kid-testing all of our food.

Jillian: This is where I have a disconnect, a bit. Because nutritional, I mean, I made my lunch for four kids. And my key was to make sure that things were fresh. I'm not seeing a nutritional food for a child that they're going to want to eat that's four days old.

Alex: So I think of couple of things. One, I don't think kids are necessarily making the connection with how old it is.

Jillian: But I am, as a parent. Because the nutritional value actually minimizes after something is cut. So unless these are heavily prepared foods with a lot of salt to preserve them, I worry about the actual nutritional value after four days.

Alex: Yeah. And I mean I think that's part of the recipe development that we're working on right now. So we have the chef who is creating these recipes for us now. And they're going to be working with us to look at them and say, okay, yes, you created that, that's nutritionally balanced, what will that look like in a couple of days? So you're completely correct; there's a lot of testing that needs to be done around that. I don't think that that is something that’s insurmountable.

Jillian’s bringing up a big issue. But that might end up being a good sign for Meghan and Alex. When investors raise concerns about your product, it means they’re really engaging with your pitch. So as long as you’ve got convincing answers ready, you’re in good shape.

And Jillian isn’t the only parent who’s keyed in to this pitch.

Phil: If you had this same kind of technology, the same kind of app, but you gave them creative ideas for recipes that parents could make based on the kid's taste and healthy decisions… And you get the parents more involved with understanding how to properly feed the kids healthy foods which then they could carry over to dinner and what not.

Jillian: And you have a menu of all the stuff. Like, every child is individual. So, if you had a whole menu of what each child loves, some don't like meat, some don't like cheese. Some won't eat this, or this. Because that was actually always a problem of mine. Oh my gosh, I don't want to repeat what I did yesterday. And now, you know, Brock doesn't like cheese, and Maddy won't eat this. And Nick won't eat that. So I'm just wondering...

Sheel: Sounds like you have really picky kids.

Jillian: What? Well, you know what, every kid is picky.

Sheel: I'm just kidding, sorry.

Jillian: Every kid is picky. That's the bottom line.

Phil: I do lunches for my younger son every day. He's vegetarian, and very picky as well. And I always worry about repeating stuff for him. And I don't want to make it boring for him, and I want to keep it interesting, but give him stuff that he likes that can also be served cold and carried in a lunch bag during the day. You've all these constraints. And I'm always searching for ideas. I wander through Whole Foods looking for ideas.

Alex: That's exactly the problem, for sure.

Phil: I search online for recipes, for lunch for kids who are vegans and are picky, you know, whatever.

Alex: And it's very time consuming.

Phil: But if I had an app or a site that would help me find ideas that were customized for him, that met his tastes, and his dietary preferences, and that were healthy, I think it would be wonderful. I would pay, I would pay a decent amount for that. And I wouldn't buy the delivery.

Sheel: Phil, if there was a company just offering that, you know, let's say it was $10 a month, first of all that's a lot, but would you...

Phil: $10 a month? I'm in!

Sheel: Yeah?

Phil: Oh yeah.

Sheel: And you would invest in the company?

Phil: I’m in, in terms of a customer.

Sheel: Ha ha.

Phil: I don't know...

Sheel: So that's the thing. Is there a business to be had around that?

Before the investors can get too far off course, imagining some alternative recipe generating app, Howie steers the conversation back to what TuckrBox is actually trying to do - deliver healthy lunches for kids.

Howie: So what kind of, can you give us an example of what the meals are? I don't think we've talked about that.

Meghan: Yeah, sure. So this part really excites me. Like I said we are really trying to be very kid-centric. So it's not about, for me, reinventing kids food. If kids love mac'n'cheese, why can't we give them a mac'n'cheese that they can feel inspired by and make it out of quinoa and call it a surfer's quinoa mac'n'cheese.

Alex: So one of the big things that we've been working around is themes. And so right now we're working with this idea of like a picnic party lunch. We're experimenting both with a veggie burger for a non-meat option, and a turkey and kale burger for a meat option. All of our meals have an entree, a healthy side and a healthy dessert. It's not giving kids things that they don't want to eat. It's reimagining the foods that they already want and creating things that they're excited about, that they look at the pictures of and they say, okay, that looks like something I've had before. And it's introducing them to new ingredients like that. Saying, like, here's this thing that you know and recognize, and then the next time you get it maybe you notice, oh, that's weird, I didn't know I liked butternut squash, or I didn't know I liked beans, or I didn't know I liked whatever. For us, it's about creating those kinds of things. 

Phil: When you pitch, you should bring samples.

Jillian: Yeah.

Maybe it’s just that we’re getting close to lunchtime, but the investors sound like they could go for a Tuckrbox right about now — which could be promising for Meghan and Alex.

But it’s one thing to sell investors on the food. Can they also sell them on the business?

Sheel: What's the price point?

Alex: $13 lunch. $65 a week.

Phil: $13 a lunch?

Sheel: So the way I think about it is, half of Americans are packing lunches. A big part of that is a financial decision. So take me through your justification for 13 dollars.

Meghan: Yeah. I'd love to talk about it a little bit. So, the average school lunch, packed lunch is between $6 and $7. The reason that TuckrBox is far more quality and it's a nutritiously-balanced chef-prepared meal delivered straight to your door. Parents are spending, on average, in New York City, for instance, $15 on similar products like Maple, Munchery… 

Jake: So I use Munchery for dinner. And I'll have like a steak dinner and it will be $11. Like $11.95. And I guess there's a delivery fee there, but it ends up being maybe $12 because I'm getting a meal for my family. So $13 for lunch, for me, is expensive. 

Jillian: For one kid.

Jake: And I'm relatively price-insensitive for most of these things.

Sheel: Money bags over here.

Jillian: Most of the people who are packing lunches are actually doing that to save money. And you can pack a very, very healthy lunch with even just a cheese, tomato, lettuce on bread, and you can do that really fast, and you can do that really inexpensively. So I'm not quite sure where the $13 comes from. And there are also a lot of people who have more than one child. Most have two to three. So now you're talking about pretty pricey for lunch.

Meghan: We're starting at $13. We're working with driving that cost down as we scale. 

Jillian: What's your cost?

Alex: Our cost is about, our cost is about $11 to $11.50 right now.

Jillian: For a box of food? Can you break that cost down even more? So the food...?

Alex: Sure. About 20% of the cost right now is food. Really, the largest flexibility and one of our biggest costs right now is shipping. Our target demographic is people who are in homes that are earning $150,000 plus a year. They are people that we have seen are already spending this kind of money not only on themselves, but on things like classes for their kids. So there are definitely people who are willing to spend this money for their kids.

Howie: Doesn't that severely limit your total addressable market when you just focus on $150k annual households?

Jillian: And those are the parents that actually can afford buying a higher quality of food and packing it. Where actually if you're talking about how you first pitched, where one out of every 3 or 6 children are obese in this country, those are the low-socio-economics. We're talking about those are the, you know, most people who are not making $150k.

Meghan: That's actually a common misconception, though. Because there are lots of kids, you know, one out of three kids and one out of five developing obesity-related disease actually has nothing to do with socioeconomic -- it’s...

Jillian: I'm going to challenge you on that. We do a lot of studies around that, I have, or my foundation has. And that's one of the biggest problems. Because fast foods are so easy and they're so cheap.

Just a quick note — Meghan is saying that many kids who are obese actually are not low-income. And she's right. The CDC reports that about 60% of obese children in the U.S. live above the poverty level. 

But to Jillian's point, low income children are far more likely to be obese than their higher income counterparts. This is important because the founders began the pitch saying they wanted TuckrBox to help solve the problem of childhood obesity. But if their service is geared only towards families making over six figures a year, are they really addressing that problem?

Meghan: This price that we came up with, it's not like it came out of anywhere. So we did a lot of research and surveys of parents, and we had parents telling us that they would pay upwards of $15, $16 a meal in New York City for this.

Jillian: In New York City, though.

Howie: Probably like 2%. Probably 2% of families.

Jillian: I don't think you're getting the nutrition to the people, the kids, who you should be getting the nutrition to, who are those families who are turning to fast foods instead of... Or throwing together the Pop Tart and the cheese...

Meghan: And definitely. We definitely strive to get there and make a bigger impact in that way. I think getting into the schools and teaching kids hands on and being able to influence them more and more. I just was at Brooklyn Grange last week, which is a rooftop farm in New York, and we can envision taking kids on field trips up there, and showing them how you can live in an urban setting or a suburban setting, and still be exposed, be involved in...

Jillian: But then their parents can't afford these meals?

Alex: And you're right. We're not addressing the poorest of the poor kids. And the reality is that the product that we're creating exists in a time when that kind of a product maybe can't address those kids. And that's why all of that's very important to me. But what if I can affect people on another end of it? What if I can take money from people who are more affluent and use that to create programming that does the things that those parents can't do?

Meghan: We have a system in place where a portion of our profits goes to our TuckrFund, and works to teach kids full circle where their food comes from, with hands-on food education in the classroom, as well as seeing how to prepare fun, creative meals in that class demo, while getting to eat TuckrBox lunch in low-access areas.

For a lot of venture capitalists, this is the sweet spot — where profit meets public service. 

Let’s find out if our investors think Tuckrbox can deliver on that promise.

Here’s Howie.

Howie: The food education aspect is really intriguing to me. Because I grew up, my mom was a nutritionist and a dietician. And I grew up in the 80s when no one was talking about, like food education... I just wanted to eat candy and fast food, and I mostly did. And my mom would cook, instead of spaghetti we'd have spaghetti squash. And instead of hamburgers we'd have veggie burgers. I would always complain about it, because I just didn't know. And she didn't do a good job of educating me on why we should be putting these things into our bodies. And why— 

Jake: Sorry Howie's mom. 

Phil: Throw mom under the bus!

Howie: Yeah, sorry mom. Thank you for trying. But I think in terms of this business, um, yeah I just don't think the per unit economics make sense right now. And this is something, by the way, that every food delivery and meal delivery, subscription or on-demand, or whatever company deals with. Right? This is a pervasive problem in this space. So this shouldn't be news to you, right? But I think the way to solve that is to reach scale. And what I didn't hear is the ways that you're going to acquire customers, how much you're going to be able to acquire customers. I think investors are going to want to see something in terms of market penetration, in terms of you guys going out and doing this and then coming back and showing us those numbers to say, hey, yes this is a problem, but look we figured it out. [rt needed] I want to be helpful. And good luck. But I'm going to pass for now.

All right, so, Howie’s out.

Phil’s next -- though TuckrBox is pre-revenue, so if you've been paying attention to past episodes, you can probably guess his answer.

Phil: I said before I'm passionate about what you're doing. I love what you're doing. And you seem to be passionate about it.

Meghan: Thank you. We are.

Phil: Which is evident. For me it's binary. You're pre-revenue. It's too early for us. So I'm going to pass.

Meghan: Okay.

Here's Sheel.

Sheel: For me, I like you guys. I think actually your initial pitch you came off very solid. The trouble I have is, so first of all, I think it's going to be hard to get a lower price point. I think you can probably play with the numbers and get your costs down. But I think you're trying to do too much. Like, the app seems like an entirely different business than delivering food. And I don't think you need to be doing both. And then on the food delivery, I think in general it's going to be tough to raise money right now with a pre-revenue food delivery company. I think the price point is high, so there's a certain demographic. You don't need to set up your own infrastructure. Um, shipping is expensive, but not as expensive as you think. You can get your costs down. But, it's totally unproven. So I'm going to have to pass.

Phil, Sheel and Howie have all passed on TuckrBox. And the founders are down to two investors, Jake and Jillian.

Here’s Jake.

Jake: So, um, I really love the mission. Like I said, I've got a five-year-old who I really wish would eat healthier and have these apps. And you know, my daughter goes to school five days a week. She needs to eat lunch five days a week, 40 weeks out of the year. So if you had a product that really caught on, that was affordable for families, I think you'd get five meals a week for every kid, right? But I just don't think the unit economics work at $13 a lunch. I don't think you're going to be able to get it down to $5, which would be amazing, I think that would be an easy sell all across the country. But it's gotta be under $10 for you to have mass adoption. And especially to be able to reach the people you're trying to reach which are the ones who have trouble getting healthy food as it is.

Sheel: The converse is under $10 you're not going to make any money. And that's why, like, as much as I want the business to exist, I don't know if it can. 

Jillian: So, we never want to say to anybody that your business can't exist.

Sheel: Yeah, sorry.

Jillian: Because I had a Russian grandfather who said, even at 106 years old, where there's a vill there's a vay. And so I know you guys have the will, and you're going to try to find the way. Meg Whitman talked a long time ago, she always said to me and everyone, "don't boil the ocean." Don't boil the ocean. Right, I can't stress that enough. Hit one thing, do it well, and then expand from there. Don't try to educate everybody, don't try to create a game, don't try to do this and that. Focus in what is the most viable way to be able to deliver the healthiest meal. So if I were you, I'd look at that one problem and really zero in and say, you know what, this piece might not be making sense.

Meghan: Got it. Yeah, we will definitely revisit that. I appreciate it a lot.

Jillian: I'm going to pass, all right, because you're not there yet. Bring down the price come back to me. Come back to me. I do back female founders all the time, not because they're female, because I happen to think they're amazing. And they're task masters. And your mission, like everybody said, to provide healthier food for children, why wouldn't anybody back that? So, I want you to put your super business head on and say, what makes a good business? Not just a mission. Not what makes a good mission. What makes a good business? Okay. So go do it.

Howie: Also, I have one last word for you: Lunchables. They changed my life when I was a kid. Can you make them healthy?

Jillian: I'd like to see what you guys do with this feedback.

Meghan: It was definitely nice to have so many parents in the group.

Jillian: Yeah, a lot of parents.

Alex: Yeah, and people with different perspectives.

Jake: And Howie's like a big kid.

Jillian: So we parent Howie.

Meghan and Alex head home without the funding they were hoping for. Back in the studio, investors continue to chat about their pitch. 

Howie: Look, none of these companies are making money I don't think, these food delivery companies. So it's not really about profitability; it's about scale.

Sheel: Wait, what does that mean? Lose money on every order! Make it up in volume?

Howie: Yeah, in the near term. Sure. I mean, you think Blue Apron and Plated are profitable?

Sheel: No. I know they're not.

Jillian: No. In fact, VCs and everybody's looking away from these companies right now, because they've lost a lot of money. I didn't even bring up insurance. I didn't even bring up the liability aspect of this.

Sheel: There are so many things that we could have brought up and didn't. It's an operationally challenging business. This is an operationally intensive business. I don't get the sense that they're going to be...

Howie: Yeah, they're not operators.

Jillian: They weren't business people. They had no operational experience. Right. One was a designer and one ran a farm.

Phil: They need a partner, one of the founders, who's into the logistics, the operations.

Howie: Also, like, when I see these companies with these types of, like this is a hot space.

Sheel: Is it? It was a hot space four years ago.

Howie: Well, maybe, yeah. But, it's still alive. And then when I see companies that kind of take a derivative stance on it but like do it in a micro-sector under that space, it gets smaller, it becomes fragmented, and it's not as exciting as the general space itself. Like their total addressable market kept getting narrower and narrower as they kept talking about their price going up and there's like...

What Howie is talking about — it’s like the Uber-for-puppies-eating-ice cream phenomenon. In other words, a company that takes a really narrow approach to an already niche market. 

When we come back, I'll ask the founders how things are going with Tuckrbox and find out if they’ve been able to bring their service to a larger market.

Welcome back. All right, so let’s get Meghan and Alex on the phone.

Alex: Hey Josh, how are you?

Josh: Hi Alex. I'm well, how are you? Let's talk about The Pitch. When you look back on that pitch, what do you think about? What are your feelings?

Alex: I feel, from my perspective, like we just got a lot of feedback at a point where some of it we were expecting, and some of it was really helpful in how we kind of tuned things moving forward.

Meghan: I definitely agree with what Alex said. And I guess the biggest thing that we were hearing was we needed to prove traction, and further prove our concept. Which we knew walking in. And that's exactly what we've been doing. So it was super helpful in that way.

Alex: I think in the long term just understanding what some of the processes are for how foods can be packed has allowed us to change the model from shipping twice a week to shipping once a week. Which basically cuts our shipping costs in half at any given time. So that's been really great.

Josh: Have you been able to bring the price down from $13?

Meghan: Actually, we're launching at $9.99.

Josh: That’s really good. That's the biggest hold up the investors had, was price.

Meghan: Sure, yeah.

Josh: And has your target market changed?

Meghan: Not dramatically. I guess the main thing is how we would like to release the product. So we're starting to think about zip codes. Just like another sort of shipping end of things, it makes more sense to launch in certain areas. And that has kind of helped us think about the market and what schools are in that area, and what type of families, and the economics that way. So not hugely.

Josh: Yeah. No. So, it's still families that are well off?

Alex: Yeah. I would say relatively well off. I mean, I don't think I would say that at $150k, I mean, we're not reaching people who are impoverished, and that's for sure. And that's the side of the company that aims at nonprofit. So that's where the percentage of profit is going, because we would like to reach those people. But I think quite honestly, in a business model, that's just not a possibility. We're not going to create $2 or $3 lunches that are delivered to the home from farm fresh foods. 

Josh: Right.

Alex: It's unfortunate that we can't reach more people. But the question is also can we make a successful business that can at least serve some people? I don't think that a business model like this can help people in those other situations.

Josh: I guess I think the fear is, and I feel like this is what the investors felt in the room, is that the mission of helping families that need the most help, the fear is that the people you're helping the most with your subscription lunches aren't the people that need it the most.

Alex: But I think that that's never what we advertised ourselves as. Like, I think that from the very beginning, not because we don't want to be able to help other people, and that's very much similar to maybe a Tom's model or something else. What we're trying to do with the nonprofit side of it. But our mission from the beginning was kids’ nutrition and their understanding of their food and their diets. So we never specified that we only want to help kids who are lower income. Like, what TuckrBox is is farm fresh lunches for kids, delivered.

Josh: Do you think the investors jumped to that conclusion on their own and put you in a box that they wished you were solving? And then—

Alex: Yes. 

Josh: Really?

Alex: Yes. No, I definitely think from the beginning we were fighting this battle of, how are you going to serve poor kids food for $10 or $13 a meal, and that was never what we were saying. I think we made it very obvious, also, you know, I think because we ended up in that pigeonhole we also didn't talk much about what our actual market was and what that plan was. Because I think it becomes, I think the conversation kind of got side railed into, well, these parents are never going to be able to afford $13 a meal. And our push back was sort of well, we're not saying those are the parents we're going to. Obviously as TuckrBox gets bigger the amount of profit that goes to the nonprofit foundation side gets bigger, and we'll be able to do more with that, you know? But I think right now the idea is to really focus on making a successful company, and then what we can do once we have that platform.

Josh: Well, thank you ladies so much for coming on and answering some of my tougher questions. Um—

Alex: Well, Josh, thanks so much. It was actually, it was a really interesting experience. I think it's like, it was a little bit challenging, but I think in Like, we were prepared for the pitch, but we weren't at a point where... I think if we had more traction, it would have made more sense, right Meg?

Meghan: We shouldn't have even, even if they had offered us money, we weren't ready to take a check, when I think about it.

Every founder dreams of walking out of a pitch with a six-figure deal. But sometimes not getting that investment is exactly what they need. Their company isn’t ready. And for those entrepreneurs, a pocketful of feedback can go a long way.

Since we talked, Meghan and Alex have started their pilot program, are accepting preorders, and are launching the Tuckrbox app in September 2017.

To hear scenes from next week’s episode, stay tuned til after the credits.

Want to share your thoughts? Send us an email to [email protected] 

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Our show is produced by me, Josh Muccio, Astha Chaturvedi, and Rob Szypko. We are edited by Devon Taylor.

Special thanks to Colleen Pellisier and Allison Behringer, who originally produced this episode back in our indie podcast days.

Our Theme Music is by Breakmaster Cylinder, with original music composed by The Muse Maker, Bobby Lord, and Keen Collective. We were mixed by Enoch Kim with help from Matthew Boll.

Thanks to Lisa Muccio for planning the season 2 recording event last fall. 

Quick disclaimer, no offer to invest is being made to or solicited from the listening audience on today’s show.

Also, I do want to say a quick thank you to the original sponsor of season 2, the It’s Worth Doing Right Family 

All right -- you’ve been listening to The Pitch from Gimlet Media. I’m Josh Muccio. See you next week.

Next week on the pitch

Kalle Freese: I’m two-time Finnish barista champion and I was ranked as the 

Phil: Two time what?

Kalle: Two-time Finnish barista champion. And my passion is making that great coffee really easy and fun and accessible to as many people as I possibly can. 

Jillian: you can have the most incredible product, but if you don’t know how to talk about it, if it doesn’t have a brand identity, okay, you’re going to have a problem accelerating it. 

New episodes come out on Wednesdays at 12 pm Eastern. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a thing.

Phil NadelProfile Photo

Phil Nadel

Investor on The Pitch

Phil Nadel is the Founder and Managing Director of Forefront Venture Fund and of Forefront Venture Partners, one of the largest syndicates on AngelList. He has started and sold several companies and has invested in more than 200 startups with several exits.

Jillian Manus // Structure CapitalProfile Photo

Jillian Manus // Structure Capital

Investor on The Pitch Seasons 1–10

Jillian Manus is Managing Partner of an early-stage Silicon Valley venture fund, Structure Capital. Branded “Architects of the Zero Waste Economy," they invest in underutilized assets and excess capacity. She was named one of the top 25 early-stage Female Investors by Business Insider in 2021. Jillian serves on numerous corporate and non-profit boards, these include: Stanford University School of Medicine Board of Fellows, NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Jake Chapman

Investor on The Pitch

Jake Chapman is a Managing Director at Army Venture Capital Corporation and focuses on companies working on technology that enhances the national security of the United States of America. The sectors I focus on are AI, Robotics, Aerospace, Autonomy, Quantum Computing, Semiconductors, Manufacturing, Security, Biotech, Defense, Energy and related industries.

Howie Diamond // Pure VenturesProfile Photo

Howie Diamond // Pure Ventures

Investor on The Pitch Seasons 1, 4 & 10

Howie Diamond is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Pure Ventures, and early stage investment firm that also invests in the development of its founders. Also a musician, Howie founded and sold a music management/licensing company in Los Angeles called Lo-Fi Music. After that, he moved to San Francisco and began working closely with dozens of start-ups running business development for a Bay-Area tech agency called Sparkart.

Sheel MohnotProfile Photo

Sheel Mohnot

Investor / original co-host on The Pitch

Sheel is a co-founder of Better Tomorrow, a seed-stage venture capital fund investing in Fintech companies globally. His own startup experience includes 2 successful FinTech exits – a payments company and a high-stakes auction company, and he is GP of the 500 Fintech fund. He formerly worked as a financial services consultant at BCG and started his FinTech career at the non-profit p2p lender Kiva.

Meghan Carreau

Co-founder of Tuckrbox

Alex Payne

Co-founder of Tuckrbox