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Welcome to North of 96th, your source for business news from Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville. Your host, Lindsey Erdody, can be reached at lerdody@ibj.com.

Carmel / Entrepreneurship / Hamilton County / Regional News / Small Business

Sharks decline to take Carmel firm's bait

May 19, 2014

They circled for more than an hour, but ultimately the sharks decided not to bite.

Carmel-based Baker’s Edge may not have landed an investment on the season finale of ABC hit “Shark Tank,” but co-founder Matt Griffin nevertheless feels good about the experience.

“We loved doing the show, and see it as an incredible opportunity to introduce our tiny brand to the rest of the country,” he said in an email to IBJ.

Named for a brownie pan design that caramelizes and “edge-ifies” every piece, Baker’s Edge has cooked up $5.8 million in sales since 2006, Griffin told the celebrity entrepreneurs on Friday’s broadcast.

But about $1 million of that came in the 30 days after the pan was featured as one of  “Oprah’s favorite things” in 2010—something the sharks saw as a drawback in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of business.

Griffin and his pastry-chef partner (and wife) Emily went to “Shark Tank” seeking a $400,000 investment for a 20-percent stake in their business. In addition to the brownie pan, Baker’s Edge sells a similar lasagna pan and a redesigned muffin pan that uses the same cast-aluminum material and innovative design sense.

Rather than the typical linear muffin tin, the Baker’s Edge version is laid out like a honeycomb and forged from a single piece of metal, making it easier to clean.

The Griffins had hoped to use the cash infusion—and high-profile strategic partnership—to accelerate product development, scale up production and move from its niche into the broader bakeware market.

Without the investment, they’ll take a more measured approach to growth, said Matt Griffin, who also works as a development manager for Watermark Residential in Indianapolis.

“Our goal is to have a brand reputation of making the best in class for bakeware,” he told IBJ.

And that’s big business: Bakeware is a $6-billion-a-year enterprise, Griffin told the panel, undeterred when billionaire Mark Cuban wrote it off as a “teensy weensy cockroach baseball league industry.”

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