Trunkster is a new innovative luggage concept that offers zipperless entry, USB ports for charging, a removable battery, and a built-in scale. Its founders, Jesse Potash and Gaston Blanchard, accepted a deal on a recent episode of ABC’s Shark Tank with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner of $1.4 million for 5% equity, and with a $1 royalty until the money is repaid.
The business deal means a new valuation of more than $28 million for the up-and-coming luggage line, receiving the highest valuation in the history of the show. This is according to Funded Today, a Crowdfunding agency that helped Trunkster raise an initial $1.4 million on Kickstarter to help begin production on its unconventional luggage line.
“Not that long ago, our luggage concept was just another crazy idea. With the help of Funded Today and its unique approach to crowdfunding, we raised enough capital on Kickstarter to create an actual business based on a fantastic product,” explains Potash. “We are excited to bring our product to the larger market and turn the luggage industry on its head!”
Founded in 2014, Funded Today specializes in helping businesses seek pledges on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to go above and beyond their funding goals and make their business dreams a reality. In its first year of business alone, Funded Today has helped over 150 clients garner more than $30 million in aggregate campaign pledges.
“We are excited to watch Trunkster move forward with this new round of funding and really create a name for itself in the luggage industry,” adds Funded Today CEO Zach Smith. “The best part of Funded Today is helping entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas like those at Trunkster build a successful product and business using the power of crowdfunding.”
With its unique three-pronged approach utilizing paid media, press outreach, and its proprietary network of influencers, Funded Today helped Trunkster raise more than $725,000 toward its Kickstarter campaign.
Potash and Blanchard are two close friends who each dabbled in the corporate world as well as entrepreneurial ventures. Last year they began developing a “smart” luggage prototype they believed would appeal especially to young professionals.
Their Trunkster luggage, in both carry-on and check-in sizes, uses an easy-access retractable front instead of zippers, has a scale built into the handle to avoid overweight carry-on fees, an easy-access charger for devices, and a GPS tracking system in case the airport loses your luggage. Prices start at $395.
During their “Shark Tank” shoot this past summer, they told the investors they were about a month away from sending out their first batch. As of now, their first mass-produced batch is due next month. Potash explained that they were expecting $9 million in sales in 2016 with $6 million of that profit.
It wasn’t the presales that sealed the deal; the founders were willing to offer a guarantee that investors would be paid in full within 24 months. If Potash and Blanchard failed to meet this deadline, they would double Cuban and Greiner’s stake in the company. And regardless of whether the deadline is met or not, the investors would split $1 in royalties per unit sold, in perpetuity.
To know that in two years you’ll definitely have that money back or there’s a penalty,” Potash said outside of the Tank according to BusinessInsider.com, “then that makes us work harder and makes them more secure.”