What Happened To Gato Cafe From Shark Tank?

Gato Café was a business venture introduced in Season 6 of "Shark Tank" by Adriana Montano of Boca Ratón, Florida. Inspired by the concept of cat cafés, which was beginning to spread beyond Asia at the time, Montano wanted to open the first feline-centric café in Florida. In her 2014 "Shark Tank" audition, she explained her desire to start a business that combined her love for cats and coffee. 

Montano sought $100,000 for 20% equity when she appeared on the show. With the money, she wanted to secure a location, train her staff, acquire equipment, and obtain a liquor license, which would allow the café to serve Colombian-style spiked coffee drinks. Revenue would have been driven not just by sales, but a $9.00 cover charge. There would have been between 10-15 cats in the café and only 20-30 people at a time.

Though Montano charmed the sharks with the kittens she brought to her pitch, they were skeptical of her idea and the implied valuation of $500,000. Ultimately, none chose to invest. After walking away with no deal, Montano struggled to get her idea off the ground, and her Kickstarter to raise money for the café never reached its goal. Sadly, Gato Café reached a dead end before even getting started.

Too early for its time?

In her pitch to the investors, Adriana Montano referenced the growing popularity of cat cafés. The idea to open a cat café with a Colombian twist first came to Montano when she was working at an animal nonprofit five years before.

At Montano's Gato Café, the resident cats would have been up for adoption, allowing them to live in a cage-free environment before being placed in forever homes. Montano also planned to host special events in the space during the day and night. Her original plan was to expand into a franchise of cat cafés in the southeastern United States. Before appearing on "Shark Tank," she had started a crowdfunding campaign and was gaining local press for her business venture. So, how can we explain Gato Café's lukewarm reception by investors?

Cat cafés have certainly taken root in the country since Montano went on the show, with no fewer than 12 open in Florida alone. There is even a cat café with a nearly identical name — Gatocafé — now open in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The animal café trend has only taken off even more in Asia. In Tokyo, you can sip your coffee next to dogs, hedgehogs, capybaras, micropigs, or snakes. Perhaps Montano's timing and funding plan were off, or she was just pitching to the wrong crowd.