Local veteran and women owned business, TurboPUP, swam with the sharks on January 16’s popular ABC show Shark Tank. La Pine-based Founder and Owner Kristina Guerrero faced five “sharks” to come away with a $100,000 investment in her company.
Of the five investors Guerrero met on the show: Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary, John saw the potential for the canine meal replacement bars, enough so that he invested $100,000 for 35 percent ownership of TurboPUP.
“I’m stoked to work with Daymond. He’s a brilliant entrepreneur with a killer sense of humor,” Guerrero commented. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. I can’t imagine how collaborating with him will transform TurboPUP.”
Initially responding to a flood of emails from friends who saw Shark Tank was recruiting veteran entrepreneurs last May, Guerrero applied to the show, and started the months-long process that culminated with the airing of the show on January 16.
What started as an idea for a meal replacement bar for dogs (inspired by Guerrero’s hungry pooch Dunkan on a backcountry ski trip), is now a full-fledged business. Guerrero gained many of the skills she would need to found her company from her time serving in the U.S. Air Force. She had over 12 years in active duty and in the reserves as a C130 pilot in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and on the Horn of Africa.
“All the military experience has prepared me to create a goal and execute it, and also how to be incredibly resourceful and use and rely on your team,” she said. “I don’t think I would have nearly the amount of initiative had it not been for the military, and it help me become an entrepreneur.”
So what is in the TurboPUP bar? Guerrero uses all American sourced and human grade ingredients including chickpea flour, egg yolks, whey protein isolate, olive oil, natural flavors, pomegranate juice concentrate, chia seeds and less than one percent salt.
“Dogs metabolize fat and protein for energy, that’s why it’s high in fat. There is a lot of humanizing of dogs where we make assumptions for dogs based on what we know of human dietary needs,” she said.
The bars are grain-free and Guerrero especially wanted to create a bar that would not cause stomach issues when transitioning between their regular food and the TurboPUP bar. “I spent two years in research and development, the ingredients are all highly digestible, so there will be no shocks to the stomach, no dog yet has had diarrhea from one of the bars. They just love them.”
“TurboPUP is a labor of love and inspired by my love for dogs and veterans, ultimately I want to pay it forward. I’ve gotten a lot of help and support from companies, organizations and people, and I want to use this accomplishment to [recognize all they have done],” Guerrero concluded.