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Why this plant-based meat company turned down a $1 million from Mark Cuban on 'Shark Tank'

Mark Cuban
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For many entrepreneurs, a $1 million investment from Mark Cuban would be a dream come true — but two co-founders turned down just such an offer on Sunday's "Shark Tank" on ABC.

Jonathan and Deborah Torres, founders of plant-based meat company Atlas Monroe, believed their 100% vegan, plant-based twist on fried chicken made their business worth far more than the Sharks believed.

Deborah was inspired to try and develop better tasting plant-based food after her father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Her family decided to adopt a healthier diet to support him.

"My whole family and I went on a raw, vegan and organic diet for 90 days. We grew really 'hangry' at each other from just eating salads and fruit salads," Deborah said. "After the 90 days, [my father] was completely healed. We vowed to stay organic, plant-based and natural. We continued to experiment, and Atlas Monroe was born."

After trying the Atlas Monroe plant-based "fried chicken," the judges were shocked at how it tasted.

"The batter is extremely tasty," Lori Greiner said during the episode. "It's got some zip to it."

Barbara Corcoran added, "You fooled me!"

When asked about their financials, Deborah's response confused the Sharks.

"Our total sales are $63,000, our net with shipping is $73,000, and our gross is $76,000," she said in the episode.

"Wait, that doesn't add up. Your numbers are backwards. You can't have $70,000 in sales and make $63,000," Cuban said, rounding the $73,000 down.

The unclear sales numbers made all the Sharks except Mark Cuban and brand guru and recurring guest Shark Rohan Oza (who helped build brands like Smartwater and Vitaminwater) remove their offer from the table.

Cuban first offered $500,000 as a line of credit for a 30% stake in the company. Initially, Jonathan and Deborah Torres asked for $500,000 for a 10% stake. Later, Cuban and Oza teamed up to offer $1 million dollars for 100% of the business, with 10% in royalties given to Jonathan and Deborah.

However, this was not enough for the Atlas Monroe co-founders, and they declined.

"As soon as we get our facility, we will fulfill the orders and hit a million dollars immediately," Deborah said. "We walked away from a million dollars, and we're walking into $24 million [the the number Deborah estimates will come from her business]. We know we have something really extraordinary in our hands."

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

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