In pursuit of innovation

A different kind of bagel

Yet another company setting out to reinvent breakfast is Brooklyn-based Bantam Bagels. Elyse and Nick Oleksak, a pair of Columbia University graduates, ditched their fast-paced jobs on Wall Street to develop miniature New York City bagel balls stuffed with cream cheese. The product concept came to Mr. Oleksak in a dream, and after making hundreds of test batches in their Brooklyn apartment, the husband-and-wife team opened a small shop in New York City’s West Village to sell the signature bagels.

The brand offers both sweet and savory options, including everything bagel stuffed with vegetable cream cheese, pretzel salt bagel stuffed with cheddar Dijon cream cheese, cinnamon nutmeg egg bagel with maple syrup cream cheese, and brown sugar walnut bagel with chocolate chip cream cheese.

A year after the shop opened, Oprah Winfrey featured Bantam Bagels on her Oprah’s Favorite Things 2014 list. That following January, Bantam Bagels appeared on the television show “Shark Tank.” Following the “toughest, most rigorous interview we have ever experienced,” the pair secured a deal with Lori Greiner, a prolific inventor dubbed the “Queen of QVC” shopping network. Ms. Greiner offered the company $275,000 in exchange for 25% equity.

“The food industry is full of some of the most dynamic, interesting, creative and smart people we’ve ever met,” Ms. Oleksak said. “Our advice is to meet and learn from as many industry professionals as possible. We’ve learned so much along the way as we’ve taken each step forward, and we owe a lot of our success from the shared experiences and guidance of our peers.”