Keeley Tillotson and Erika Welsh are the founders of Wild Squirrel Peanut Butter. They started making their own batches of peanut butter in 2011, while students at the University of Oregon. One year later, they pitched their low sugar spread on Shark Tank and accepted Barbara Corcoran‘s offer of $50k for 40 percent equity. But the deal didn’t go through. Tillotson said Corcoran “decided not to invest, and we were glad because we were not ready.”
In 2013, Wild Squirrel hit another obstacle. After dropping out of college to dedicate all their time to growing the business, they were sued by peanut butter maker Squirrel Brand for copyright infringement. They changed the name of the business to Wild Friends. With the help of Tillotson’s dad, former Honest Tea exec Bruce Tillotson, and their mentor John Foraker, president of Annie’s (now a General Mills company), they raised $1.4 million on CircleUp. Today, Wild Friends is available in Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger, and other giant grocery stores. They expect to reach $7 million in sales by end of 2016.
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— John Foraker (@AnniesCEO) July 29, 2016