Season 7, episode 1 of Shark Tank saw a pretty innovative travel luggage idea. They called it Trunskter. Trunkster was the brainchild of Gaston Blanchet and Jesse Potash, from Argentina and New York, respectively. These best friends came up with the idea of Trunkster to make travel convenient and easy. In today’s digital age, they thought there was immense scope for a suitcase that a smartphone app could control. Were they right? Let’s find out.
What is Trunkster?
For those who missed this exciting episode, Trunkster is a modern-day suitcase that has features like a GPS device, a USB port, a detachable battery, and an in-built digital scale. Unlike the traditional suitcase that features a zip, Trunkster opens like a mechanical garage door. There are two designs that you could choose from, including ‘carry-on’ and ‘checked.’ A carry-on is what you would use when boarding the plane, and checked is for checking in.
The carry-on Trunkster weighs approximately 8 pounds. It has a capacity of 43L. The checked Trunkster weighs around 10 pounds with a higher capacity of 86L. There is a difference between the two designs. The checked option does not have a roll-top, charging cable, power bank, or USB ports. However, it does have the scale and tracker module.
The makers brought innovation to the regular suitcase. Given how many people love to travel, Trunkster could have a demand right off the bat. Since luggage can be quite expensive, Trunkster promises to last you a long time to come. It has a sturdy build, made to withstand the wear and tear that comes with traveling. The hard exterior ensures the components of Trunkster are completely safe and unharmed.
Other than that, the digital components are a huge (and obvious) selling point. No matter how frequently one travels, one would always be worried about being over the limit. Trunkster has a built-in digital scale that ensures you never exceed your weight limit and save time while at the airport. The charging and USB ports allow you to easily and quickly charge your phone without even getting up. Evade the hassle of dead cell phones when you reach a new holiday destination.
Trunkster made a dynamic entry on Shark Tank. The founders were accompanied by two assistants dressed as air hostesses, armed with none other than Trunkster luggage. The duo was seeking a $1.4 million investment with a 5% stake in the company.
Right from the get-go, Blanchet and Potash were well-informed about the product. They showcased both the carry-on and checked versions of the Trunkster. They started off by talking about why Trunkster is a better alternative to traditional suitcases, and it would be hard to deny their convincing power. Four sharks, Mr. Wonderful, Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner, and Barbara Corcoran, immediately volunteered to try the demonstration. They tried opening the Trunkster in several ways and tried to test its durability too. They were also delighted to learn that Trunkster used aircraft-grade aluminum to make this product unbeatable.
The duo told the sharks that Trunkster has already secured crowdfunding of $2.7 million, perhaps through their Kickstarter campaign. They revealed that they had received pre-orders and started production of 5000 Trunkster units. However, while they started off well, the Sharks were shocked to learn that no customer had actually received a product yet or used it. With no real work feedback, the sharks expressed some concern about the company’s future.
The sharks could not believe that the Trunkster was valued at $28 million. Although the founders did their best to wage a strong argument, they failed. Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, even told them that they were out of their mind.
The results were as follows. Mark Cuban had several reservations about the pre-ordering. He also expressed concerns about the duo’s inability to handle such a big company. Barbara Corcoran was seriously concerned about the fact that no one had even tried this product. She also didn’t like the masculine design, so she backed out. Robert Herjavec was the first to make them an offer. He said he would provide their entire asking amount of $1.4m but for a 30% stake in the Trunkster. Kevin offered to share this risk, but Robert declined. Kevin then made an offer on his own. He said he would invest $1.4 million for a 37% stake. However, the Trunkster refused.
Lori Greiner made an offer of a $1.4 investment with a 15% stake in the company. Cuban said he would like to reconsider his initial offering and offered to work with them and Lori. The best friends took a moment to step away and consider this offer among themselves. They returned with a counter offer for Lori and Mark Cuban. They asked for a $1.4 million investment with a 5% stake in the Trunkster with the stipulation that they would return this money within 2 years. If they fail to do this, the equity would be doubled to 10% each. Lori and Mark accepted, making this a successful deal.
Unfortunately, Trunkster failed the due diligence phase, effectively ending their deal with Lori and Mark. Many customers who had pre-ordered Trunkster never actually received their order. Those who did receive their Trunkster suitcase were not satisfied with the quality.
There are several angry posts on Trunkster’s Kickstarter page asking for a refund. The founders, however, are nowhere to be seen. Their website is blank and not operational. While Jesse Potash has just disappeared, Gaston Blanchet has ditched Trunkster and started working on Humanity, a new project. Seeing what happened following their appearance on Shark Tank, many people believe that Trunkster was nothing but a scam.
Our Review of Trunkster
Trunkster might have seemed like a great idea in today’s digital age, but it did not meet its expectations. The fact that the product had not even received any real customer reviews appears to be a huge red flag. If the quality was up to par, the product could possibly have been successful. While it promised style and technology, customers who did end up receiving their suitcases were far from happy. Today, Trunkster has failed, but there could be scope for similar, better-planned products.
Pros of Trunkster
- Smart technology, especially in today’s digital age
- Very smooth rolling for ease in lugging
- Cool, innovative style
Cons of Trunkster
- High price
- Limited space for packing
- Shorter handle posing inconvenience
Who is Trunkster for?
This new spin on technology is best for tech-lovers. If you travel a lot, especially air hostesses, you will love the convenience of Trunkster. It is easy to roll, charges your phone, and also informs you if you are over your weight limit ahead of time.
Are There Any Alternatives?
While there are no close alternatives, there are apps like Luggage Fit that allow you to measure your travel bags with your camera.
Our Final Thoughts
While Trunkster was an innovative luggage idea fitted with high-tech features, it can charge your phone, tell your luggage limit, and allow you to roll easily. If you are a light packer, you would like this product. However, there are issues with Trunkster quality, which have wiped this product off the market.