Upon buying a piece of luggage you know that at some point your zipper is going to either break off, get stuck or simply just stop working. Even with the advent of “smart luggage” there seems to be an outdated aspect: the zipper. Getting around this seems impossible until the new luggage company Trunkster has recently come on to the scene. They have revolutionized the suitcase with a rolltop feature, which includes the standard smart luggage features (scale, charger, GPS, Etc.). With their reimagined luggage they have already made a splash with recent Shark Tank fame with the highest valuation yet.
Cofounder Gaston Blanchet and Jesse Potash tell AlleyWatch about how their product will “roll” in the cash as well as how they got to where they are today.
Tell us about the product or service.
Trunkster is the world’s first and only zipperless rolltop luggage featuring a revolutionary sliding door. The suitcase integrates smart features like USB charging, a digital scale and location tracking.
How is it different?
Trunkster’s rolltop door complemented by its smart features introduces a revolutionary industrial design never before seen in luggage.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
The global travel goods market is a $30+billion industry. Early adopters in the travel sector have shown a hunger for innovative luggage, as evidenced by several multimillion-dollar crowdfunding campaigns, including our $1.4 million Kickstarter launch.
What is the business model?
Our model to date has been selling direct-to-consumer exclusively through online channels, but starting in 2016 we will begin sales in retail stores worldwide.
What inspired the business?
We’re two friends in our mid-twenties who were working and traveling around the world for several years. Living out of our suitcases made us aware of the opportunity to optimize luggage for frequent travelers. We surveyed friends for their pain points and came up with a suitcase that would solve these frustrations.
With your recent appearance on Shark Tank your company raised capital at a pretty sizable valuation for an early stage company. Are you concerned about how this valuation will affect future funding rounds?
Our primary concerns for the moment are optimizing our production logistics, improving our sales funnel, and rolling out an exciting new product. If all of these are properly executed, we don’t think we’ll have any trouble securing future financing should we pursue it.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our biggest achievements in the next six months will be fulfilling more than 10,000 units worldwide, growing Trunkster sales with major U.S. retailers and launching our second product.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Don’t be discouraged by naysayers who argue an industry is too crowded to enter. If the idea is good, you’ll find a market.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Jimmy Fallon. We’re fans… and he can probably use a new suitcase.
Why did you launch in New York?
One of us is from here and the other worked at his first startup just as a wave of new startups was hitting the city. We appreciate the efforts to stimulate innovation in the city so it was natural place to introduce our idea.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
BarBossa in Nolita.