Wednesday, July 6, 2022

LugLess Update – What Happened After Shark Tank

LugLess before Shark Tank:

A revolutionary travel service for passengers all over the world
A revolutionary travel service for passengers all over the world

When Brian Altomare helped co-found the company LugLess he described it as a revolutionary new travel service for passengers all over the world. LugLess is a door to door shipping company that picks up your luggage from a destination of your choice and delivers it to anywhere you want in the world. This way you can ensure your luggage arrives ahead of you and when the trip is over, LugLess provide a return service. With prices starting at just $339 for a carry-on bag, it is hard to imagine this concept not being a successful one!

Using LugLess would ensure you don’t have the hassle or worry of bringing your luggage through airports, check-in desks and security. As well as that, airlines losing luggage is a worry for many passengers especially frequent travelers who pack valuables with them when they fly but LugLess could eliminate this worry. LugLess is unique in that they offer a $500 money back guarantee if the bags do not make it to their desired final destination, an offer that sets them apart from many airlines.

Although the concept was good, Altomare knew he could not launch LugLess successfully on his own. He therefore turned to the Shark Tank in search of some business expertise that could open doors and form beneficial relationships for the company as well as offering much needed capital to get the company up and running. The question is, did the sharks bite?

LugLess in the Shark Tank:

Brian Altomare entered the Shark Tank ready to sell his revolutionary travel service to the sharks. He began his pitch stating he was looking for $100,000 for a ten per cent equity stake in the company. Altomare went on to explain the premise of the company – LugLess was perfect for frequent flyers who did not want to be faced with large fees for extra baggage or have the worry of the airline losing their luggage. Using LugLess meant that the customer could arrange for their luggage to arrive at a desired destination ahead of them as well as saving some money. Altomare described LugLess as a cheaper alternative but more customer-service orientated. A win-win for the customer?

Robert Herjavec was quick to compare LugLess to global shipping company FedEx which Altomare accepted but stated that LugLess cost between twenty and sixty per cent less because the shipping is bought in bulk. Altomare told the sharks that sale in the first year have been $215,000.

Kevin O’Leary wondered why Altomare has not approached any airlines about potentially starting a partnership but Altomare states he has chosen to focus on more travel orientated business as well as some large global hotel chains.

At this point, Robert Herjavec decides he has heard enough. He’s of the opinion that the cost to the customer is far too high before declaring himself out.

Unfortunately for Altomare, Kevin O’Leary is not far behind Robert. Kevin states that the business reminds him all too much of the cell phone industry with too much competition and not enough profit. Kevin also declares himself out.

Daymond does not seem convinced of the business idea at all and swiftly declares himself out. He is followed by Lori who like Kevin is of the opinion that there is too much competition on the market already. She declares herself out.

Things deteriorated very quickly for Brian Altomare and he is left with just on shark remaining; Mark Cuban. However, unfortunately for Altomare, Mark Cuban agrees with both Kevin and Lori and thinks that LugLess has a ‘huge problem’ with competition as well as the service not being affordable enough for regular customers. He declares himself out and a dejected Brian Altomare leaves the Shark Tank without a deal.

LugLess Now in 2018 – After Shark Tank Update:

LugLess was snapped up by Luggage Forward - a successful deal at last!
LugLess was snapped up by Luggage Forward – a successful deal at last!

LugLess is one of the brands who had great success after Shark Tank regardless of the fact that no deal was reached with the sharks. Brian Altomare declared he was thankful to the sharks for the tough questioning and negative comments as it gave him unforeseen media coverage and ultimately helped the business.

Amazingly, in the thirty days that followed on from the Shark Tank episode being aired on ABC, the monthly revenue of the company rose by over four hundred and forty-eight per cent in comparison to the previous month with the LugLess customer base taking a massive increase also to over three hundred customers a month.

Brian Altomare admitted being very nervous about the reaction of viewers before the Shark Tank episode aired but it did not take long to see that the customer demand for such a service was clearly there. Further to that, the customers who wanted to avail of the service did not seem to mind that five successful entrepreneurs completely discounted the business model of the company. Quite the opposite actually. Most customers who opted to use LugLess after the Shark Tank episode had aired were more than surprised that the sharks did not think this concept would take off.

On an even more positive note, LugLess was listed in Entrepreneur Magazine’s ‘100 Brilliant Companies List’. The media coverage it LugLess received was no doubt a catalyst that ensured the company grew steadily and became a success after the show. For a relatively new company to be featured on the ‘100 Brilliant Companies List’ after being completely discounted by the five sharks is no mean feat.

Even more good news came thee way of Brian Altomare and LugLess when the company was snapped up by another door to door delivery service – Luggage Forward, a Boston based company. Luggage Forward were extremely happy to get LugLess on board, it being the eighth competitor Luggage Forward snapped up in the last six years. Luggage Forward was particularly pleased about the reputation and good relationship LugLess had built with customers. This made the transition for customers of the service smooth and they were happy to continue using LugLess under the umbrella of Luggage Forward.

Brian Altomare claimed he was delighted to get the deal with Luggage Forward. Although the sharks may not have liked the idea and offered a deal, Luggage Forward did. LugLess has now joined a growing family of brands that work under Luggage Forward and hopefully their success will continue to grow.

klally@tcd.ie'
Katie Lally
After travelling all over Asia, I have just returned back home to Ireland. I've been writing for the past two years. I'm a big animal lover, a complete foodie and a Muay Thai newbie.
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