Nui: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

Many of us love a cookie with our morning coffee or with a glass of milk before bed, but let's face it, most cookies are hardly compatible with restricted or specialty diets. This was the experience of Kristoffer Quiaoit and Victor Macias, who both started the Ketogenic diet (low-carb while being higher in protein and good fats) in 2016. Meeting up in coffee shops to share their experiences, the pair became frustrated that they couldn't find any quality Ketogenic snacks.

Fueled by a desire for buttery cookies without added sugar or gluten, they decided to take matters into their own hands with some keto cooking. Their home-baked Keto Kookies, containing only a gram of sugar, came to life in Quiaoit's mom's kitchen, and, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, which raised almost $80,000, quickly grew from a few sample batches to a commercial kitchen. Keto Kookies rebranded to Nui, and Quiaoit and Macias were ready to take their business to the next level.

In 2018, the keto diet was hugely popular. In fact, it was the most-Googled diet of that year. There was no better time for Nui to appear on "Shark Tank," hoping for the Sharks to take a big (but low-carb) bite.

What happened to Nui on Shark Tank

Asking for help to make the world a "butter place," Kristoffer Quiaoit and Victor Macias went on "Shark Tank" seeking $300,000 for 10% of Nui, which gave the business a valuation of $3 million. They explained that while following the Keto diet, Quiaoit no longer needed to nap, and Macias had lost more than 40 pounds. But they were still craving a sweet treat.

The pair said they had made saying "no" to sugar easy, tasty, and fun. "You can eat this whole box of Nui Cookies, and still consume less sugar than one traditional cookie," Quiaoit said on "Shark Tank." In the course of a year, the company claimed it had sold $1.1 million worth of cookies.

"Chef Wonderful" Kevin O'Leary offered Quiaoit and Macias $300,000 for a 2.5% stake in the company, but asked for royalties of $1 per unit, dropping to 45 cents after he'd recouped his investment. Barbara Corcoran also offered $300,000, broken down into $150,000 plus a $150,000 line of credit, as well as royalties of 50 cents per unit, in exchange for 15%. Then guest shark Alex Rodriguez came forward with a deal of $300,000 for 25% equity in the business, which Nui accepted.

Nui after Shark Tank

Nui founders Kristoffer Quiaoit and Victor Macias said on the company's Facebook that their "hearts pounded" with nerves during their "Shark Tank" experience. Since the show, the entrepreneurs said they had set their sights on "big goals," and Macias later claimed that landing a deal on Shark Tank changed his life forever.

Nui continued to grow after "Shark Tank," and made the most of the PR the show brought its way, running regular offers and giveaways via its social media, and sharing recipes such as Snickerdoodle cheesecake cake pops. The brand amassed more than 90,000 followers on Instagram, and 18,000 on Facebook. Nui was sold on Amazon, and in an interview with Food Navigator USA, Macia said he was exploring online sales on Walmart as well as brick-and-mortar opportunities for 2019. However, it appears that the deal with Rodriguez never came to fruition in the end, and no further details about it were made public. By early 2020, Nui had started to go quiet.

Is Nui still in business?

Nui's last Instagram post was in February 2020, and the same on Facebook. Reviews on Facebook started to include complaints that customers had placed orders but not received them — and were struggling to receive a refund.

In January 2022, Victor Macias confirmed on his own blog that Nui had shut down in 2020, and he had filed for bankruptcy. Several factors contributed to the business failing, he said, including "product quality issues," which meant recalling cookies, and quickly running into cashflow issues. The cost structure was also not viable, meaning Nui was losing money with each order. The founders not paying themselves for nine months was not enough to save it, according to Macias.

A LinkedIn post from Kristoffer Quiaoit in August 2022 went into further detail, explaining that the debt had become "too much to manage," and describing the pain and sense of shame he felt about losing the business. In March 2023, Quiaoit also described, during an emotional video interview with Emmanuel Eleyae, the impact the "debt spiral" and bankruptcy had on him and his family.

What's next for Nui's founders?

Nui founders Kristoffer Quiaoit and Victor Macias seem determined to bounce back after the ordeal of losing their business and having had to declare bankruptcy back in 2020. Quiaoit even said in the Eleyae interview that whatever he did next would be "a piece of cake."

Based in Anaheim, California, Kristoffer Quiaoit has gone on to co-found Good Journey Foods, returning to his passion for Keto-friendly sweet treats by selling low-sugar "neighborhood-donut-shop" cake donuts. Along with friend and co-founder, Helen Ma, the pair are aiming to mimic sugar's sweetness with allulose and stevia. He has been with the business since January 2021.

Macias has gone on to found several new ventures, according to LinkedIn. He founded Niarani, a social impact brand working with artisans across Mexico, in January 2021. He is a board member of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship and helps to mentor startups across various industries. In addition, he is the founder and business coach at Aligned Ventures, using his experience to help startups and entrepreneurs scale their businesses.