truLOCAL

Sponsored Content with: BDC

For health- and eco-conscious Canadians, consuming products that come from local, sustainable farms is a priority. So is sourcing foods that are free of antibiotics and hormones. It can be a challenge, however, to find high-quality meats that fit that description, especially when time is tight and having to stop at multiple grocery stores simply isn’t feasible. ​

A company called truLOCAL offers a solution: shipping anywhere in Ontario, it provides a monthly meat plan consisting of locally sourced products, from triple-A steaks to juicy chicken to wild fish, that’s delivered right to people’s door—whether it’s a house, apartment, condo, office, or even their gym. Customers can choose exactly what type of food they want, and it all comes in a refrigerated cooler so it stays frozen until they’re ready to put it away. ​

The fledgling e-commerce company makes life easy for people seeking premium, hormone-free, free-range meat. And if the founders’ recent appearance on Dragons’ Den is any indication, truLOCAL is only going to grow: CEO Marc Lafleur and Greg Quaile, vice president of sales, found themselves in the ultimate and enviable position of having several Dragons fight over their business. ​

In addition to offering a convenient product that’s increasingly in demand at a competitive price point, the partners impressed the Dragons with their experience and drive, says Ravi Dindayal, Director of Marketing, Advisory Services, at Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). ​

Quaile grew up milking cows on a dairy farm and went on to study economics at Wilfred Laurier University. Lafleur completed a degree in health at the University of Waterloo while working four jobs and later developed an app that foreshadowed Snapchat. They saw an opportunity to improve the ease of buying locally raised meats and seized it. ​

“I think that these entrepreneurs really won the Dragons over with their entrepreneurial strengths,” Dindayal says. “Both Marc and Greg have complementary backgrounds in related fields to be able to win in this industry. They knew what they were talking about and they came prepared. They had an answer for everything the Dragons threw at them.​

“Like the Dragons said, these guys checked all the boxes on consumer interest,” Dindayal says. “The foodtech space is hot right now with many companies searching for ways to enhance our eating and dining experiences. Not only is this an innovative concept, this company is also proving it out. High sales, good margins, and low overhead are all strong signs for positive revenue growth.”​

While adequate financial backing can be one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses, those like truLOCAL can get a step ahead with start-up financing, whether it’s used for working capital to supplement an existing line of credit or start-up fees. Tech companies, meanwhile, have their own, unique income and expenditure models. Financing for tech companies with a lender that understands the industry can give these budding entrepreneurs a competitive advantage. ​

Another factor that worked in truLOCAL’s favour in the Den was the entrepreneurs’ candid approach: although confident in their business, the two weren’t above acknowledging that there’s room for improvement.​

“It was also a good sign that they were able to admit their weaknesses,” Dindayal says. “No business is entirely perfect. Michael’s concerns regarding their packaging was fair, but I was happy to hear that they are already thinking up better ways to solve it.”​

In the end, Lafleur and Quaile inked a deal with Joseph Mimran and Michele Romanow. The entrepreneurs are off to a strong start, and with these two Dragons on their side, their momentum should continue to build. ​

“Besides the financial details of the deal, I think the team struck gold with landing a deal with Michele and Joe,” Dindayal says. “The ecommerce and branding power these two bring will be a strong asset to the future and longevity of truLOCAL.”​

This is paid content provided by or produced on behalf of BDC.

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