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 let’s 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 2022 – After Shark Tank Update
The company did not make it through the due diligence phase following their appearance on Shark Tank. As a result, their deal with Lori and Mark never went through.
That’s not the only issue that they had either. As far as we can tell, they never fulfilled their orders—that is, many of those who had pre-ordered the product never received them. And those who were lucky enough to actually get the product was not happy with the quality. Given that, it’s not surprising to know that many have been demanding refunds on their Kickstarter page. Not only that but there has also been talk amongst some individuals of starting a class-action lawsuit against the company.
What’s worse, is that the founder, Jesse Potash, seems to have gone up and disappeared. Co-founder Gaston Blanchet has also left the company to work on a new project called Humanity.TV, a mobile app for explorers, travelers, and adventurers.
Their website has gone dark as well and all of their social media accounts have been deleted. In fact, there’s no way to reach the business at all. If anything, all of this has gotten many to believe that Trunkster was in fact, a big scam.