Founder of food start-up Plated, which just sold for $300 million: ‘Dealing with rejection is a necessity’

From the brink of bankruptcy to selling his 'Shark Tank' business for $300...

"It's been a helluva ride the last five years," Nick Taranto, co-founder of ingredients and recipe delivery service Plated, which just sold to Albertsons Companies for $300 million, tells CNBC on "Power Lunch." "And to all the haters out there, we did it," adds Taranto, nodding and smiling.

It's a dream-worthy exit for Taranto and his co-founder Josh Hix, especially given the "haters" — people who thought the pair were crazy for pursuing the business — and the hundreds of investors who declined to give them money. Though Plated eventually raised close to $100 million in venture capital, according to Taranto, it was no easy road, he tells CNBC Make It.

"We have knocked on literally hundreds and hundreds of doors and 97 percent of the time it's a 'no,'" says Taranto. "For every hundred people you talk to raising money, only three will say yes and that's just the harsh reality ... you're going to get rejected."

Plated cofounders Nick Taranto and Josh Hix (L to R).
Photo courtesy Plated

What was key for Taranto and his co-founder, Hix, was to continue to believe.

Rejection, even repeated rejection, "doesn't mean your idea is bad or you yourself are personally stupid, it just means you have to persevere through it and find the right people who are going to buy in to you and your vision," Taranto tells CNBC Make It.

"Dealing with rejection is — it's a necessity, especially in the early stages."

We have knocked on literally hundreds and hundreds of doors and 97 percent of the time it's a 'no.'
Nick Taranto
co-founder of Plated

For Taranto, "a hard run, a good shot of whiskey and a conversation with my co-founder where we would just convince each other that everyone else was wrong and we were right, those three things would get me back on track," he says.

And Taranto and Hix eventually became successful, as did those early investors who believed in them. Like ABC's "Shark Tank" investor Kevin O'Leary.

Taranto and Hix appeared on the show in May 2014. Though an initial deal with billionaire tech investor Mark Cuban fell apart, when the show followed up with Plated for "Beyond the Tank," Kevin O'Leary was impressed with the start-up's development and made an investment. Now Boise, Idaho-based national grocery store chain Albertsons' purchase of Plated marks the largest exit in the history of "Shark Tank." O'Leary made a 1,346 percent return on his investment.

The food delivery start-up had also raised money from venture firms ff Venture Capital, Greycroft Partners and Formation 8, according to public fundraising database Crunchbase.

Taranto advises others to dream big, despite the potential for rejection.

"[I]t is so important to have a big hairy audacious goal, a big mission that you really feel motivated by," says Taranto. "[Y]ou have something that keeps getting you up out of bed excited even when you have to slog through paperwork all day or fire someone or make the tough decisions that are really just not fun or inspiring," he says.

"So having that North Star, that big mission, to keep you focused I have found has been instrumental in allowing me to be my best."

See also:

How 2 young guys went from the brink of bankruptcy to selling their 'Shark Tank' business for $300 million

How 3 guys went from call center cubicles to 'Shark Tank' and millions of dollars in sales in 3 years

How 'Shark Tank' helped this bagel company hit $2 million and get a deal with Starbucks

How 3 guys went from call center cubicles to 'Shark Tank' and $7 million in sales in just 3 years

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Disclaimer: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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