Paleo Nick
Paleo Nick

Company: Ice Age Meals

Founder: “Chief Culinary Ninja” Nick Massie

Season: Appeared on season 8 in week two episode

Ice Age Meals offers heat-and-eat Paleo meals. The meals go through a testing period, are refined by the chief culinary ninja and then frozen—ready to be heated up and eaten as a tasty, healthy meal. Some of their Paleo diet meal offerings include butternut squash lasagna, chipotle turkey chili, fajita pie and lemon pepper chicken and rice.

When Massie originally appeared on “Shark Tank,” he came in asking for $1 million for 10 percent equity. The sharks all took issue with the high valuation, which Daymond John called “whack.” They quickly went out, leaving Ice Age Meals without a deal.

Massie spoke with Business 2 Community about Ice Age Meals’s experience on the show and what their next steps are. Take a look at the Q&A below:

Q&A with Ice Age Meals’s Chief Culinary Ninja Nick Massie

What was your strategy for navigating “Shark Tank”?

My strategy changed at the very last minute because I met with CrossFit the day before I met with the sharks. I had to kind of change it on the fly, but the biggest thing for me was to send my message. While I was interested in having an investor, a Shark partner, I really wanted to tell the world about this product, to put us on the map and give us the opportunity to deliver our awesome product to the masses.

How has Ice Age Meals changed since the episode was first recorded?

The challenge of “Shark Tank” is that you’re not supposed to really prepare on the chance that your episode doesn’t make the final cut. But if you do air, you need to be ready for it. We were busy with other projects and the business was growing and keeping us busy anyhow, and then in the middle of September we learned that we’d be airing in two weeks. In the midst of that, I was traveling around teaching classes, so we did what we could to gear up.

How has Ice Age Meals changed since the episode aired?

Drastically! While our product has stayed the same – and so has our undying commitment to quality across the board, to fun, to promoting an amazing culture – there have been lots of other changes. We’ve tripled our staff within the last two months. We’ve expanded our operations, purchased a freezer facility, bought all new equipment, took over an office space, and we’re in the process of putting in a large blast chiller. Lots of things have changed across the board, but the basis of what we’re all about has stayed the same.

Is there anything you would have changed about your time spent in the tank, including your pitch and valuation?

They asked me the same question as soon as I was done. On one hand, I wish I had gone with my original valuation, which was less. But I knew I wasn’t in the position to make the best decision. I had CrossFit willing to invest in my company plus this “Shark Tank” opportunity here, and there was just too much up in the air. So part of me wishes my valuation had been low so that there could have been an intelligent conversation, more stats about the business and where we’re planning to go and how we’re going to get there, what our existing numbers are, what really sets us apart. All they saw was another meal prep business – there are thousands of those, they’re a dime a dozen.

I went in and had fun, but it’s important to remember that this is TV. Only a percentage of people only get deals, and of those, only a percentage actually turn into anything. They’re looking for something entertaining, kind of a show, and I think that’s easy to forget.

Who’s your favorite shark?

Lori was the most interested and most accurately understood what we’re doing. I really liked her and the questions that she asked. She actually asked questions that were in line with what we’re doing. I liked Daymond too. I read his book when I was in the process of getting on the show. It’s powerful, I learned a lot from it.

Despite not getting a deal, do you think “Shark Tank” was the right move for your business?

Overwhelmingly yes. Without a doubt. Some deals only apply to specific people – to men or to fisherman, or whatever. But everybody eats. And whether or not they have an interest in eating healthy, deep down they know that you are what you eat, that fast food is unhealthy, that traditional frozen meals are unhealthy too. From a concept perspective and to spread the word, yes, it was a good move. And from a business standpoint, our sales skyrocketed instantly and we’ve been playing catch-up for two and a half months.

What are Ice Age Meals’s next steps?

We’re continuing with our expansion. Our next big move is working with the USDA, which will open to door for us to sell in grocery stores, Costco, places like that. It will also allow us to expand our corporate wellness program. There’s lots of good stuff on the horizon. We’re going to continue our undying pursuit for the highest quality, best tasting, most nutritionally sound frozen meal out there, while moving into these other markets.

Where do you see the frozen Paleo meals industry in 5-10 years?

Hopefully, we see more healthful options available at the grocery store. We’re doing this mail order, delivery to your home type business, but the real impact will be made when you can walk to the grocery store and grab a healthy Paleo meal just like you can grab Ben & Jerry’s or Cheerios.

In five years, we’ll be a $40 million business. In ten years, we’ll be a $300 million business. Those are our targets and I have the utmost confidence that we’ll be there. I hope the frozen Paleo meal industry expands greatly and people learn about it and have the option to purchase it every day readily. But will that happen? I’m not sure. I’m going to do my best to make sure it does.

What would you say to people who want to start their own business?

I’d ask, why do you want to do it? Because you’re going to be tested to the end of the earth. There are so many times I’ve wanted to quit, even since “Shark Tank.” It feels like the world is falling down unless you have the million-dollar mindset, the positive attitude. From there, I’d say go for it. But make sure you’re passionate about it. If you are, it’s probably what you should do – you won’t be happy doing anything else. And finally, work hard and don’t give up.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to make it on “Shark Tank”?

I’d ask, why do you want to go on Shark Tank? How do you know you want one of these guys as a partner? If your goal is just to make money, maybe that’s a good path. But if you’re on a different path, if you’re interested in vision, values, mission, happiness in life and all that, proceed with caution. You don’t want to get in bed with someone who isn’t on the same level as you.

My advice would be to get ready to work super hard. I had a growing business and I couldn’t tell anyone what was going on during the “Shark Tank” process, but there I was answering endless emails, provide endless information, filling out endless paperwork, submitting videos – it’s a lot of work just to get on the show. I think they say 50,000 apply and there’s maybe 140 who get on every year. You also have to understand that it’s TV. They want something entertaining. I went on to give them a show. I’m not sure if that came through in the edit, but I definitely had fun.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length