Gaston Blanchet and Jesse Potash came to the Shark Tank in Season 7 with some pretty innovative travel luggage. Gaston was from Argentina, now living in Miami, Florida, and Jesse came from New York. They are best friends that came up with an invention to make traveling more convenient. they entered the tank with hopes of gaining $1.5 million in exchange for a mere 5% of their business, one of the highest valuations in Shark Tank history. The Sharks tend to tear offers like this to shreds, so lets see how they did.
What is Trunkster?
Trunkster is more than a suitcase. It is a piece of luggage that features a self-contained handle with digital scale, roll-top design, GPS, and it’s own charging station. They have two designs to choose from. The Carry On Trunkster and the Checked Trunkster. One is to board the plane with, and the other is for checking in at the counter. The build is rigid and tough enough to withstand the hard blows of traveling. It keeps your precious cargo safe and unharmed with its hard case exterior. The built-in digital scale allows you to never be beyond the weight limit when checking your luggage at the counter. The GPS (Trunkster tracker module) allows you to track your suitcase and the removable power bank features two USB ports and a charging cable to charge your phone or tablet from the comfort of your seat. No more dead cell phones will plague you when you get to your destination.
The Carry On Trunkster weighs a little under eight pounds with 43L capacity, and the Checked Trunkster weighs right at ten pounds with 86L capacity. Note that the Checked Trunkster does not feature the roll-top, power bank, charging cable, or USB ports. It does carry the tracker module and the digital scale.
Trunkster Before Entering the Shark Tank
Trunkster had a successful Kickstarter Campaign before entering the tank. After that campaign ended, they opened up orders on Indiegogo. They also had a solid win on the Shopify Build-A-Business Competition in 2015, where Daymond John was on the panel of investors. Before the December 2015 episode 714 of the Shark Tank, the two businessmen had raised almost $1.5 million towards their future product. Their first shipments were to ship out in January of 2016.
Trunkster on Shark Tank
Gaston and Jesse enter the Tank with two assistants dressed as stewardesses, with some cool shades to complete their ensemble. They start their presentation strong, and are very knowledgeable on their product. Right off the bat, the Sharks wanted to try out the demonstration model they brought in. Robert Herjavec, Mr. Wonderful, Lori Greiner, and Barbara Corcoran were the first to try out the prototypes of their luggage, checking out the durability of the material and the different ways to approach opening the Trunkster.
While the pair seemed to be on fire, they hit a snag in negotiations when they revealed that although many people had preordered the case, no one had received a product yet. With no real world feedback on the the Trunkster yet the Sharks seemed a little trepidatious regarding the companies future prospects. They had 5000 units being produced at the time of the episode airing. Gaston and Jesse had to convince the Sharks that their valuation of the company was truly $28 million, to which the failed spectacularly. with Mr. Wonderful telling them they were out of their mind.
Barbara had concerns about actual consumers having not tried the product, along with the masculine design. She dropped out. Robert gave them an offer first of $1.4M for a 30% stake putting the company value at $5-8 million. Mr. Wonderful hones in on Robert’s offer stating they could share the risk, which is denied by Robert. Kevin then puts his own offer on the table for a 37% stake on the $1.4 million investment. Jesse and Gaston look to the other two sharks, Lori and Mark, for an offer before they make their decision. Lori offers the $1.4 million to fund purchase orders for a 15% equity stake. Mark Cuban opens himself up to negotiations of going into business with them and Lori.
Best friends, Jesse and Gaston, needed to step away a few moments and talk about the offers, and they come back with a counter-offer of $1.4M investment with a 5% stake for both Mark and Lori with the stipulation that they would pay back that money within two years. If the money hadn’t been paid back in that time frame, their equity in the company would double to 10% each. Both Mark and Lori accepted that offer, and they were in business of making Trunkster a big success.
Trunkster Now in 2018 – After Shark Tank Update
Since their appearance on Shark Tank, there is not much information about Gaston and Jesse’s progress with Marc Cuban and Lori Greiner. The main information available is via their main website. After all the hard work and living in the factory over China, their website is live and just as innovative as their luggage design. They have included videos of live demonstrations using Trunkster with detailed commentaries. It’s not clear if the first shipments went out in January 2016, or if the date was pushed back to June of 2016.
According to Trunkster’s Facebook page, they did some modifications of the design in 2015, adding aluminum jigs to make the suitcase more durable, and they seemed to be doing some testing on the shrinkage of the plastic casing. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much activity relating to Trunkster since October of 2015, before their Shark Tank appearance, but purchases can still be made on their website.