Pizza doesn’t always taste nice when cooked in a pizza oven. However, traditional pizza ovens are expensive to buy and annoying to set up. The Bertello pizza oven is an affordable alternative that is perfect for the backyard. Founders Andy and Eric Bert pitched it on Shark Tank and got a deal with Kevin O’Leary. As of 2023, Bertello is worth an estimated $2.5 million.
About the Founders
Andy and Eric Bert are entrepreneurial brothers from Woodbury, New York. They grew up together and shared an obsession with pizza. Though they had many similarities, initially they took different career paths as adults.
Eric became a licensed structural engineer, doing bridge design and inspection in the Manhattan area for 10 years. He occasionally climbed to the top of some of the largest bridges in New York.
His brother is a finance professional who worked on open outcry trading floors for years. Andy relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota, when he got married. There, he started to work in financial services.
Starting the Company
Eric decided to use his engineering skills on something other than bridges. As a fan of genuine Italian pizza, he was tired of the taste of frozen pizza and pizza cooked in traditional home ovens.
So, he designed a portable backyard pizza oven that could be fueled with propane, charcoal, or wood. The multiple fuel options helped the pizza cook faster. After telling Andy about his invention, the two became business partners.
The Bert brothers invested $90,000 of their money to launch Bertello in 2017. They made $640,000 in less than two years. At the start of year two, they borrowed $70,000 and paid it off shortly after.
Shark Tank Appearance
Andy and Eric needed to raise capital to hold more inventory and appeared in season 11, seeking $120,000 for a 10% stake. The Bertello duo made an entertaining introduction and wowed the Sharks with the quality of the pizza. This and their sales performance got several Sharks interested.
After an energetic start to the pitch, their energy dipped a bit. Barbara rudely called this out and made them feel uncomfortable. Pitches can go on for over an hour and the television episodes are edited down to around 10 minutes, so it’s understandable for someone to get tired.
Barbara offered $120,000 for 25% and Chef Wonderful offered $120,000 for 30%. The founders asked him to match Barbara’s deal and he agreed. Barbara was fuming, but how do you expect to get a deal when you call someone boring? You talk to people like that and expect them to accept your offer.
After Shark Tank
After the episode aired, Bertello started making some real dough! Before the show, they had $1 million in revenue. As of November 2021, they had sales of $6.3 million according to an interview with twincities.com. A year later, they should surpass $8 million in revenue by the end of 2022.
You can still purchase the innovative pizza oven today at Walmart, Amazon, and their official website, Bertello.com. Apart from ovens, the company now sells skillets and other cooking accessories.
On Amazon, their original outdoor pizza oven has an average star rating of 4.1 from 569 customers. This is a good sign that Bertello is still selling well today. Bertello makes around $2 to $3 million annually and is worth an estimated $2.5 million.