Trunkster is a smart luggage brand with a built-in scale, GPS, a roll-up design, and USB ports so you can charge your devices while you’re traveling.
A business pitch team of Jesse Potash and Gaston Blanchard, the creators of Trunkster, appeared on Shark Tank in 2015.
Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner invested $1.4 million for a 5% stake (each) in TrunkSter on the show. Yes, you read that correctly. The Shark Tank episode received one of the highest ratings in history (at the time).
Cuban and Greiner’s shares would double to 10% apiece if Trunkster did not repay the $1.4 million within two years.
What is TrunkSter?
Trunkster is a smart luggage bag that incorporates a USB charging port, a removable battery, and a GPS device that allows you to track your bag via the Trunkster app.
There are two versions of the TrunkSter bag, “carry-on” and “checked.” Trunkster had no zips and slid open like a garage door. They both resulted in a GPS and USB-enabled device of high quality.
The company was valued at $30 million in 2015, making it the most valuable startup to participate in the show.
Who Is the Founder Of TrunkSter?
Trunkster Company has been successful since its founding. TrunkSter was founded in 2014 by Jesse Potash and Gaston Blanchet.
They launched their invention in 2015 through Kickstarter funding, where they raised $1.4 million from 7000 backers by the end of their campaign. They kept getting requests for pre-orders after their Kickstarter campaign was successful.
It was, however, against Kickstarter’s rules. They chose IndieGoGo to crowdfund their product to stay competitive. The company raised approximately 2.7 million from these two campaigns in 2015, which enabled them to begin production.
The deal wasn’t bad for someone who started the business with a napkin sketch. The product also won the Shopify Build a Business competition in 2015.
Next, a couple will go on Shark Tank to receive investment.
TrunkSter Before Shark Tank
Trunkster participated in a Kickstarter campaign before joining the tank. Once the Indiegogo campaign was over, they opened up orders on the site. They also won the Shopify Build-A-Business Competition in 2015, where Daymond John served on the investor panel.
The two entrepreneurs had raised about $1.5 million for their invention before appearing on Shark Tank episode 714 in December 2015. The first shipments were scheduled to arrive in January 2016.
TrunkSter On Shark Tank
Jesse and Gaston, two closest friends and partners, appeared on Shark Tank in season 7 to seek a $1.4 million investment for 5% of the stakes. Kevin O’Leary, who was shaken by this, stated they were insane.
The team began the presentation by displaying their product to the tank. They displayed both their designs, “carry-on,” which is used for boarding the plane because it is lighter, and “checkers,” which is used for checking in. Sharks were pleased by the product’s quality, which was made of aircraft-grade aluminum.
The duo revealed that they had received funds from the crowdfunding campaign and that they already had 500 bags in production, which were scheduled to ship in December 2016. However, Barbara was hesitant to invest in the company because no one had utilized the product.
Sharks were still perplexed by the company’s 28 million valuations. The partners had to persuade the sharks that they were worth 28 million dollars. Potash stated that they expected $9 million in sales and $6 million in profit in 2016.
Cuban noted numerous hazards associated with pre-ordering and wondered if they were prepared to continue this large company.
Barbara declined the investment because she was concerned about the product’s macho look. Instead, Robert Herjevec offers $1.4 million for 30% ownership, bringing the valuation to 5-8 million.
O’Leary proposes to collaborate with Robert, and when Robert declines, O’Leary counters with an offer of $1.4 million for a 37 percent stake. Lori then offers $1.4 million for 15% of the investment, while Cuban states that he is willing to negotiate.
The couple wants some time to discuss and return with an offer for Mark Cuban and Lori of $1.4 million for 5% each, with their stock in the company doubling to 10% if they do not pay the money back in two years. Both Mark and Lori accepted the offer since they were pleased with it.
Did TrunkSter Get a Deal on Shark Tank?
Trunkster made its Shark Tank debut on Season 7 Episode 10 in 2015 when it agreed to trade $1.4 million for 5% of the stock, which valued the firm at $30 million.
Barbara is no longer selling it because it is too heavy and manly, and customers haven’t tried it yet. Robert is willing to invest $1.4 million for a 30% stake in the company. However, he claims it is not an investment and that he is going on a trip.
Robert declines Kevin’s request to participate in the transaction. Lori believes this has a lot of potentials, but “what if something goes wrong?” She has committed $1.4 million to fund 50% of purchase orders. Kevin is willing to exchange 37% for $1.4 million.
He says that he doesn’t get big results when he does the math. Lori and Mark counter with $1.4 million for 5% each and promise to pay in 24 months or double equity if they don’t. Furthermore, they offer $1 per unit forever. Mark and Lori, take that deal!
What Happened To Trunkster Wine After Shark Tank?
The product was intended to be delivered in January of 2016. However, there has been no news concerning the company. As a result, people who pre-ordered the product have yet to get it, and those who have received it have received it in extremely poor condition.
Complaints abound in the company feedback area. Many financial backers were left without their products due to a lack of transparency and communication.
Jesse, the company’s founder, appears to have vanished, and Gaston Blanket has launched humanity.tv.
People are claiming that he should have dealt with his prior business before embarking on a new enterprise. In addition, backers who pre-ordered the product have taken legal action against the firm and have filed a lawsuit.
There have been no refunds as of 2021. Gaston has appeared and has been working at Storypod since June 2020. He raised almost $240,000 on Kickstarter to get the business off the ground in an ironic twist. Jesse isn’t to be found.
TrunkSter Revenue Model
The company has raised $2.4 million just from pre-orders. The crowdfunding campaign raised a total of $2.8 million.
According to the website, the carry-on model costs $495, and the checker model costs $535. The bags are currently available for pre-order, but according to many reports, many users have yet to receive their orders, and many have received poor-quality products.
Let’s take a closer look at the company’s profit. Since its appearance on Shark Tank, the company has not made any news, leaving thousands of backers unhappy.
Is Trunkster Still in Business?
When Tunkster attempted to launch their firm, they encountered several challenges.
Trunkster is no longer in operation, and the founders have moved on to other positions and pursuits.
Co-founder Jesse Potash appears missing, and another co-founder, Gaston Blanchet, left Trunkster for humanity, a project that tapped into Trunkster’s culture.
This interactive documentary and smartphone app cater to tourists, travelers, and explorers.
A lack of communication and openness resulted in hundreds (perhaps thousands) of funders unable to claim a refund. The supporters have even discussed taking the founders to court in a class-action lawsuit.
Why Did TrunkSter Fail?
Tragically, Trunkster’s creators and backers were swept up in the fantasies of what this online marketplace could have been, but the founders were way over their heads in attempting to make it happen.