The Geek Chic people who went on Shark Tank recently have an ongoing business. They've been in business for several years, attend BGG Con each year, and have sold incredibly expensive tables to several people I know.
On the other hand, they have like an 18 month backlog, and once you order and make your down payment they'll ignore your emails for about a year until they're ready to deal with you, and ask you for your customizations. You can customize
I suspect they went to a VC because they believed that they could be a bigger and more successful business, but they don't have anyone on board that knows how to become that business. Making the person who gives you the money have a stake in the company helps ensure that they'll actually help you succeed. I think they took $300k for a 25% stake or something like that.