Whatever Happened To Pili Hunters From Shark Tank?

There's no doubt that "Shark Tank" gives young entrepreneurs and startups an amazing platform to jump-start their businesses. The impressive panel of sharks has been responsible for turning many amateur ventures into successful businesses, from the family-run Cousins Maine Lobster food truck, which got a $55,000 investment from Barbara Corcoran and now brings in sales worth $20 million, to Daymond John turning the $154,000-making Bubba's Q sauce company into a $16 million business (per Mental Floss).

However, over the years, the sharks have regretted passing up on many businesses that managed to become successful despite having a shark's backing. It seems that Season 11's Pili Hunters falls into the second category. Prior to appearing on "Shark Tank," Pili Hunter's founder Jason Thomas spent his time traveling around the world, according to the Pili Hunters website. On one such trip to the Philippines, he discovered the pili nut that's now making him a fortune.

Thomas came to the sharks hoping for a $325,000 investment in return for 10% of his company, per TV Insider. Although the sharks seemed impressed by the low-carb nut's taste and the business' $2.5 million sales, things turned south when they realized Thomas had $400,000 stuck in inventory and thought that his business, which was selling 14 items at the time, was trying to do too much at once. The result? No deal for Pili Hunters.

Pili Hunters is still in business

Sometimes, simply appearing on "Shark Tank" gives businesses enough publicity to turn them into overnight successes. Not only is Pili Hunters still in business, but it's also doing pretty well for itself.

Pili Hunters continues to sell Philippines-sourced pili nuts in a variety of flavors as well as keto, vegan, and paleo pili nut butters and chocolate bars made from pili nuts through its website. The Shark Tank Blog also reports that the nuts are available on Amazon as well as at Walmart. 

A part of the nut's popularity, it seems, may be due to the Pili Hunters Ambassador Program. Considering founder Jason Thomas emphasized pili nuts being suitable for keto diets on "Shark Tank" and wanted to market it that way, the entrepreneur now has a keto nutritionist as well as sportsmen like the Guinness World Record mountain climber Kami Rita Sherpa as his company's ambassadors.

Pili Hunters has expanded into the hot sauce and honey business

When Pili Hunters founder Jason Thomas first walked into the "Shark Tank" room, his pili nut business was mostly made up of keto nut butters, low-carb chocolate bars, and bags of flavored pili nuts. Since his appearance on the show, however, Pili Hunters has entered the world of hot sauce and honey, too.

The Pili Hunters Buyo Fermented Labuyo Chili Sauce is made with labuyo chili peppers, which are grown in the Philippines and rank at a solid three out of five in terms of heat. Much like Pili Hunters' other products, the chili sauce has no added sugar and is fit for the keto diet with just two calories packed in a teaspoon of the sauce. To offset the spice of the hot sauce, Pili Hunters also sells tangy Raw Piliwot Honey, harvested from piliwot stingless bees. Besides the edible treats, Thomas has also put all parts of the pili nut to use by making non-consumable products, such as a salve processed from the nut's oil and bracelets fashioned out of the nut's shell.

Thomas' craftiness and vision for the pili nut business has turned Pili Hunters into a successful business, despite not having a shark to back it up. It's been speculated that Pili Hunters has grown even further in valuation from $4 million in 2021 to $5.6 million in 2022 (per Geeks Around Globe). It seems like Pili Hunters is doing just fine without the sharks.