Everything Legendary, a Maryland new-to-the-market plant-based meat company, scored a big deal with Mark Cuban on ABC TV’s “Shark Tank.” Cuban offered the company $300,000 for a 22 percent stake.
“So many people watch Shark Tank all the time. But very rarely do people actually take that next step,” Duane “Myko” Cheers, the CEO of Everything Legendary, launched by a team of African American entrepreneurs. Along with Cheers and his partners Danita Claytor and D.C.-area chef Jumoke Jackson, the company has touted plans “to disrupt the plant-based meat industry with high-quality, great-tasting product presented in brightly-colored packaging that features an edgy, urban vibe.”
“We took that next step and applied [to appear on Shark Tank],” Cheers said. “It was a long process, and we kept going, and, you know, the dream came true, and we went on Shark Tank.” Cheers continued: “Just to get on was a dream.”
While Cheers graduated from Morgan State University, Claytor matriculated from both Howard University and Bowie State University. Along with Chef Jackson, the trio has shared their collective HBCU education and experience in finance, education, multi-media production, and hospitality to create the business model that fuels Everything Legendary.
Launched just two years ago, Everything Legendary is sold to grocery stores and restaurants in the Greater Washington area. The entrepreneurs expressed their desire to “make the world a healthier place and educate everyone on the benefits of going vegan.
Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, is also a vegan, and the group’s soy and gluten-free Legendary Burger helped win him over.
“The burgers are amazing,” Cuban tweeted. “The entrepreneurs are legendary, too.”
A news release noted that the plant-based market is one of the hottest categories in the food industry, and Everything Legendary now is adding to that growth, having sold $250,000 worth of burgers within 24 hours of the Shark Tank broadcast on the East Coast. The entrepreneurs also strongly target Black millennial consumers because they believe the demographic will help drive their success.
“This is a purpose-driven company,” Cheers remarked. “My mom has actually battled Lupus for the past 35 years, and it’s really affected her lungs. She’s on oxygen 24/7, and she’s been a strict vegan.” Cheers continued: “One of the reasons why she has survived so long is because of her healthy diet. She just celebrated her 71st birthday last December, and we would not have been able to if it weren’t for her healthy diet.”
Cheers made it clear that his mother does take medication, but she has discovered the need for just a limited amount because of her healthy habits. “So that’s where it started. My ‘a-ha’ moment to get into the industry was really when I was in the grocery store with my mother, and we were just walking around, and we tried all the plant-based burgers that were there,” Cheers recalled.
“None of them really had flavor, though,” he said. That’s when he began to conceive the idea for Everything Legendary. “My two partners stepped in. I called Danita, and then from there, I called Jumoke, whom I knew for some years. We put it together, and the product is just amazing.”
Cheers proclaimed that Cuban’s investment was “an absolute game- changer” for their brand, allowing them to increase product capacity and assure seamless national distribution.
“This gives us the resources that allow us to position our brand against any competitor, where I know we will win on the flavor and quality,” Cheers stated in a release following the Feb. 26 broadcast. “For me, this investment is extremely personal. It is a validation of my ‘never give up’ philosophy. I heard ‘no’ 1,000,001 times over the years, but this one ‘yes’ moment changes everything.”