Chi’Lantro’s Jae Kim, the founder of the fast casual Korean barbecue mini-chain, went on Shark Tank and walked away with a $600,000 investment from Barbara Corcoran. The real estate mogul Corcoran offered Kim the capital for 20 percent equity. Kim’s success came after two previous attempts to make it on Shark Tank.
With the new capital, Kim’s expansion plans include outposts outside of Austin — the first will be in Houston — and beyond Texas, too. Its fifth Austin location is set to open soon at 1414 Shore District Drive in East Riverside.
Kim launched Chi’lantro as a Korean-Mexican fusion food truck in 2010, lauded for its signature kimchi fries — hot french fries with a choice of protein, caramelized kimchi, cheese, sriracha, cilantro, onion, sesame seeds and drizzled with a “magic sauce”. Since then, the business has expanded to four brick and mortars across town, a full-service catering department, and a homemade kimchi facility.
This is not the first Austin food-related success story on Shark Tank. Austin-based entrepreneur Doug Foreman, founder of Biem butter sprayer butter, was featured on the show last month. Mikaila Ulmer, the 11-year-old founder of Bee Sweet Lemonade (which was rebranded as Me & and Bees Lemonade earlier this year), appeared on on the show in March of 2015 and nabbed a $60,000 deal with FUBU founder Daymond John. Yuen and Peter Yung, founders of the now-shuttered custom sushi restaurant franchise How do You Roll, successfully pitched in 2013.
- All Coverage of Chi’lantro [EATX]