Gallant Before Shark Tank
Stem cell therapy is a modern breakthrough in medicine, helping cure hundreds of diseases that appear with age. Stem cells help the body regenerate. However, as the body grows old, stem cells reduce in numbers and become less effective with time. That is why parents can choose to store their newborn’s stem cells taken from their umbilical cord to be used when the body needs it later in life. Anyone can store their stem cells to avoid diseases later in life.
Aaron Hirschhorn used stem cell therapy to cure his chronic back pain. After seeing the effect of stem cell therapy, Aaron was inspired to find ways to incorporate it into other things. When his twenty-year-old dog had severe arthritis, Aaron wondered if stem cell therapy would work with dogs just like it did with humans.
After some research, he realized the technology works and saw its potential in the pet industry. He found that stem cell therapy could help cure dogs of hundreds of ailments and diseases. Stem cell therapy could also increase a dog’s lifespan by an average of 30%. Aaron quickly got to work to create a stem cell banking company to help dogs stay with their loved ones for longer. That is how he came up with Gallant.
Gallant is a stem cell banking company that works by partnering with veterinarians across the country to provide the technology to the patient. When an owner wants their dog spayed or neutered, they can request to store their dog’s stem cells with Gallant. The stem cells are then frozen using liquid nitrogen and stored in Gallant’s labs. The customer pays a yearly subscription to store the cells until the dog requires them in later years to cure illnesses and improve health.
Aaron founded Gallant after raising $10 million from his peers in Silicon Valley to start the company. Aaron had plenty of previous experience with dogs in his past, so he was confident in his newest startup. He knew the company needed more money for research and development, so he decided to pitch Gallant on Shark Tank to seek a business partner willing to invest in the company.
Gallant on Shark Tank
Aaron Hirschhorn was on season 11 of Shark Tank seeking $500,000 for 2% of his company, Gallant. Aaron gave each shark a puppy to hold while he pitched his company. He cited that in just ten years, four out of the five puppies the sharks were holding would have suffered an age-related ailment. To demonstrate his point, “Death” took the puppies away from all of the sharks except Mark, who insisted on holding on to his puppy throughout the pitch.
Aaron told the sharks his backstory and presented his company. He explained how stem cell therapy works and its benefits to humans and pets alike. He stated that his company has two divisions: a therapeutic division developing stem cell medicine and a stem cell banking division for consumers.
Aaron shared his backstory: when he and his wife had both lost their jobs, they started dog-sitting at their own house. They expanded on the premise and soon had an AirBnB-like business for dog-sitting called Dog Vacay. Dog Vacay generated over $100 million in sales within six years. The couple sold their business to a competitor. Dog Vacay, now known as Rover, is worth over $700 million.
Aaron majored in neuroscience. After he graduated, he took a job teaching science to high-school students. He claimed his company has the top scientists in veterinary regenerative medicine working to develop their technology. Gallant has four patents for their technology to prevent any knockoffs from competing in the market.
Mark Cuban was skeptical about his claims; he believed if it was as simple as Aaron had said, stem cell therapy would be everywhere. Aaron assured him it worked, and that stem cell therapy had changed his life. He claimed he wanted to make stem cell therapy for dogs accessible to anyone, so his prices were a bit low.
Gallant charges customers $95 a year to store their dog’s stem cells. The harvesting kit is sent to the customer’s vet when they subscribe to the service. Gallant pays the vet $100 to harvest the stem cells for the customer. The company spends a total of $375 per customer, which surprised the sharks. They didn’t like the fact that the company loses money for every sale it makes. Gallant spends $400 a month, mostly on research and development.
Aaron has raised $10 million from investors at a $25 million valuation (the same valuation he was seeking on Shark Tank) since he founded Gallant. He expects the company will need another funding round in 2021, raising roughly $25 million.
Daymond John believed it was too risky investing in a company that loses money with each kit it sells, so he was out.
Kevin O’Leary was interested in the company. He came up with two offers that Aaron could choose from. His first offer was $500,000 for a 2% stake in Gallant in addition to 2% in options. His second offer was $500,000 for 1% of the company and a royalty of $10 per kit sold in perpetuity.
Mark Cuban didn’t think Aaron had a clear plan for the business, so he was out.
Anne Wojcicki, a guest shark for that episode, and Lori Greiner made a combined offer of $500,000 for 8% of the company.
Aaron didn’t want to give up too much equity, so he countered their offer, asking for $500,000 for 4% of the company.
Anne and Lori agreed to go down to 5%. Aaron accepted their offer. He believed Anne and Lori were the perfect partners to help his business grow successfully.
Gallant Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
After the episode aired, Gallant saw a boost in subscriptions as customers who watched the pitch wanted to help their dogs stay healthy. Unfortunately, the deal with Anne and Lori did not close, and Aaron was forced to continue alone. He took up the sharks’ advice and added a first-time setup fee of $205 to his kit. This step reduced the money lost with each kit sold.
On March 2021, during a trip to Miami, Aaron tragically lost his life in a boating accident at the age of 42. He left behind a wife and three children. After Gallant founder Aaron’s tragic death, Linda Black, the previous Gallant Chief Scientific Officer, took over the company. As the new CEO, Linda continued Aaron’s legacy and made sure Gallant stayed in business in 2023.
Gallant also started offering monthly subscription plans starting at $45 per month for the first year before dropping down to $10 per month. Now, Gallant also does stem cell banking for horses and cats in addition to dogs. in 2023, Gallant reported $5 million in annual revenue. The company seems to be doing very well and continuing Aaron’s legacy. As Gallant grows, it will most likely be one of the biggest pet-health companies in the industry. For more updates and information on Gallant, visit their website here.