Cheese contains healthy nutrients like calcium and protein. However, it also contains sodium and high saturated fats. If you want to avoid this, Just the Cheese is a company that provides low-carb and gluten-free cheese crisps. David Scharfman gave a memorable pitch but couldn’t reach a deal with the Sharks. As of 2024, Just the Cheese is worth an estimated $10 million.
About the Founder
Hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, David Scharfman got a political science and government degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008. He later got an MBA with a focus on finance and general management at the UVA Darden School of Business.
Fresh out of university he founded the Guangdong Poker Club in 2009. After several months, he became an international marketing manager for their family-run business, Specialty Cheese Company, in Guangdong, China.
In 2012, he started another cheese business, Fresh! Cheese Company in Manila, Philippines. However, the business failed and David moved to New York City. Here he worked as a consultant for The Alexander Group and was later promoted to senior consultant.
Founding Just the Cheese
Scharfman created a remake of the Specialty Cheese Company’s top-selling snack and called it “Just the Cheese.” His father created the product but the company went off track within a few years as David moved to another city.
In 2017, David and his wife bought baked cheese. Once they tasted it, the entrepreneur knew that their product tasted much better. David called his father and asked if they could start producing their cheese snack again. His dad said yes.
They make keto-friendly bars made entirely of shredded cheese, containing no other ingredients. Crisp bars and bite-sized versions were available as well. The recovering entrepreneur made $3.7 million in the first year of business.
Shark Tank Appearance
David sought out investors to expand operations and appeared on season 11 of Shark Tank in 2019. After stepping onto the show’s stage, he gave the Sharks a sample of the product before diving into the finances of the company.
Sadly, most Sharks were not impressed by the taste but liked the founder. Guest Shark, Daniel Lubetzky, commented that other companies offer similar products but David defended his business because he believes his product is of better quality.
The Sharks later pointed out that the profit margins were too low and most of them backed out. Despite this, Kevin offered $500,000 in exchange for a $0.20 royalty per bar. Lori Greiner also offered a similar royalty deal but hilariously backed out again just before David was about to reject the offer. Cuban made a late dash to secure a deal but the equity he wanted was too high.
After Shark Tank
Although the cheese brand didn’t clinch a deal it gained a lot of publicity from the show. The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Food Network, Today, and several other publications have talked about the brand.
Just the Cheese are now selling their product at 7/11 locations across the United States. They are also available for sale in over 700 retail stores through Target, Walmart, and their official website, JustTheCheese.com. The company’s brand is looking much stronger, the brand has over 9,000 fans on Instagram and 3,500 followers on Facebook.
Amazon is one of its biggest drivers of sales and played a major role in its $4 million annual sales for 2021. Slowly but surely, Scharfman’s company is making steady progress. Just the Cheese is currently valued at $10 million. In December 2022, Just the Cheese was acquired by John B. Sanfilippo & Son for an undisclosed amount.