On Nov. 11, Jae Kim, the founder of the Austin-based Korean-Mexican fusion growing enterprise Chi’Lantro, appeared on “Shark Tank” in an attempt to impress investors. This is the third time Jae Kim has tried his luck on “Shark Tank” after” growing Chi’Lantro into a business. Since 2010, Chi’Lantro has grown from a single food truck in Austin into five brick-and-mortar restaurants.
Story by Alyssa Arnold
Illustration by Alex Guillen
“Shark Tank” is a reality television series in its eighth season on ABC. “Shark Tank” shows aspiring entrepreneurs make business presentations to a panel of investors who choose whether or not they want to invest. The current “sharks” are all self-made billionaires, this and this season’s permanent panel is composed of Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, and Lori Greiner.
Jae Kim moved from Korea to the United States when he was just eleven years old. Being from Korea, Kim was inspired by how the Mexican flavors he was experiencing in Texas were similar to the Korean spices he was familiar with. In 2010, Kim started the food truck, Chi’Lantro, its namesake a hybrid of Korean kimchi and Mexican cilantro. Chi’Lantro serves Korean-Mexican fusion items such as kimchi fries and bulgogi quesadillas. Chi’Lantro was an instant success and by 2016, Kim has opened five restaurants and countless food trucks.
On “Shark Tank,” Kim tried to win over investors by feeding them the signature Korean Barbecue that kickstarted his success in the Austin culinary sphere. Towards the middle of his presentation, most of the investors had backed out due to various reasons. However, for Kim, the third time was the charm on “Shark Tank.” He was able to ink a deal with Barbara Corcoran for $600,000 in capital with a 20 percent stake in equity.
With his success on Shark Tank, Kim plans to expand to Houston and San Antonio after opening up a fifth Austin Chi’Lantro location on East Riverside. The East Riverside Chi’Lantro will be located in the South Shore District, a luxury apartment and shopping complex. Chi’Lantro slated to open in late November of 2016.