Wild Squirrel Nut Butter
MPW startups keeley tillotson erika welsh wild squirrel
Founder(s): Keeley Tillotson and Erika Welsh
Age: 20, 21
School: University of Oregon
Graduation: Left before graduation

When out of peanut butter, most snackers stroll to the grocery store and pick up a new jar—but not Tillotson and Welsh. As sophomores at the University of Oregon, they used a food processor and a bag of raw peanuts to whip up a homemade treat, started to add new ingredients to the simple recipe, and Wild Squirrel Nut Butter was born. The duo appeared on ABC's Shark Tank in 2012. Investor Barbara Corcoran offered them $50,000, but they turned it down in hopes of maintaining control of their company vision. Appearing on the show was a brilliant PR move: Tillotson's and Welsh's phones began to ring off the hook and their web traffic sky-rocketed. Wild Squirrel's five flavors are now sold at 160 grocers, with nationwide distribution chalked for next year.

Up next? The entrepreneurs left college after completing their sophomore years, focusing instead on their growing company. ABC's Shark Tank is flying a film crew to Oregon in late September to do a follow-up segment on Wild Squirrel.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated September 27 2012 02:56 PM ET
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