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Join host Paul Shapiro as he talks with some of the leading start-up entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike using their businesses to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Jul 1, 2021

So often you hear about start-ups that raise millions or even tens of millions of dollars from venture capitalists before beginning to generate revenue and start making a dent in the marketplace. That is very far from the story of our guest in this episode.

Meet Deborah Torres, founder and CEO of Atlas Monroe, a start-up making plant-based fried chicken. As you’ll hear, a chance encounter with a stranger in a supermarket led Deborah to become vegan, which ultimately transitioned her whole family into a plant-based lifestyle. Pretty soon Deborah was making her own plant-based fried chicken, and people really liked it, leading her to offer it as a one-off at a VegFest in Chicago. Well, one thing led to another, and the next thing you know Atlas Monroe won the best chicken at the National Fried Chicken Festival. That’s not just best vegan fried chicken--that’s the best fried chicken of all the fried chicken offered at this festival. 

As the company’s fame grew, Deborah found herself on Shark Tank being offered a million dollars to buy her newly formed company, an offer she promptly rejected. Today, just a couple years later, Atlas Monroe operates its own factory, is on track to bring in $5M in revenue in 2021, and just keeps expanding. 

Amazingly, Deborah has achieved all this without ever taking outside investment, and she continues to own 100% of her company. It’s an inspirational tale of an entrepreneur bootstrapping her way to success. 

Discussed in this episode

More about Deborah Torres

Deborah Torres is the founder and CEO of the world’s largest vegan fried chick’n manufacturer - ATLAS MONROE. Atlas Monroe was the first and only vegan company to be invited to the National Fried Chicken Festival and was named best fried chicken dish out of all the conventional chicken by Time Magazine’s Extra Crispy. Atlas Monroe was also featured on ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank, in a viral episode where Ms. Torres turned down $1 million dollars from Mark Cuban and Rohan Oza. Atlas Monroe has been featured on Yahoo!, Black Enterprise, NBC, VegNews, AfroTech, Clean Eating Magazine, Medium, Forbes, Plant Based News, LiveKindly, and more. Now this plant-based production company has recently acquired a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility and their products are sold and shipped nationwide. In addition to delectable plant-based fried chick’n products the company also specializes in all vegan, non-gmo, plant-based bacon, apple wood-fired ribs, deep fried and stuffed turkeys, signature sauces, decadent cakes, and much more mouthwatering items.