Three Jerks Jerky

January 27, 2020

Back in 2013, Jordan Barrocas (MBA ’11) and his best friend, Daniel Fogelson, “were hanging out and started talking about jerky,” Barrocas says. “We decided it all kind of sucked.” Ultimately, they declared, “Let’s just make our own.” They experimented with various cuts of beef before picking an out-of-the-ordinary winner, filet mignon. That’s when they decided to start Three Jerks Jerky, a company that markets a distinct, premium variety of that meaty snack.

“We could have bootstrapped it,” Barrocas says, using the entrepreneurial term for self-funding a startup. Instead, they opted to try to raise $20,000 on Kickstarter. “It was a way to get lots of exposure and to access an audience we couldn’t have reached otherwise,” he explains.

The strategy paid off. They hit their goal in less than a week. Within a month they had $45,663 from 641 back-ers, each rewarded with first-batch samples. After paying Kickstarter’s standard 5% fee, plus payment-processing fees ranging between 3% and 5%, the duo was in the jerky business, contracting production to Rastelli Foods Group.

The third jerk in Three Jerks came later, when Barrocas went on “Shark Tank,” the ABC series on which contestants pitch business ideas to investors. Investor Daymond John pledged $100,000 for a 15% stake in Three Jerks Jerky and billing on its name. With 2016 sales estimated at $5 million, the products are selling well online and in stores.

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