What Really Came Of UNPACK From Shark Tank?

Many entrepreneurs who walk into the "Shark Tank" studio looking for investment have worked hard at their company for years. That definitely wasn't the case when Aaron Liskov and Andrew Zahornacky of UnPack made their pitch in Season 8; their company was so new that they apparently didn't understand what their business was yet.

Their opening gambit was an awkward comedy routine where Aaron complained about the stress of packing for a trip and paying for luggage on flights. After some back-and-forth, Andrew revealed the solution: a mail-order packing service that could deliver rental clothing directly to your location, complete with underwear, socks, and toiletries.

The pitch hit the skids immediately as the sharks took exception to the prospect of paying to wear used clothes, and home retail innovator Lori Greiner described the idea as "horrifying." The young duo's numbers didn't stack up, either. Their big selling point was saving $50 on checked baggage, while the UnPack rental service cost $20 daily. Internet security tycoon Robert Herjavec rightly pointed out that you would only save money if your trip only lasted two days.

The young co-founders deserve some kind of credit for trying to persuade the sharks to part with their cash at such an early stage in their company's development. At that point, they had only been working at it full-time for six months and notched up a whopping 40 bookings. Could their chutzpah secure an investment, or would they get sent packing?

What happened to UnPack on Shark Tank?

Aaron Liskov and Andrew Zahornacky wanted $500,000 for 40% of their fledgling company, a lot for an unproven second-hand clothing service with less than 50 customers. The sharks were immediately skeptical to the point of irritation, and Robert Herjavec summed up the problem with their pitch. The boys were total newcomers trying to compete in two large and separate markets, split between people who wanted to rent clothes and those who wanted to save money on travel.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was even more forthright, saying their company name "sucks" and that they were trying to solve the wrong problem. He thought a better option would be streamlining the business to a handful of pre-selected wardrobes for specific occasions, such as club wear for a jaunt to Las Vegas.

By this stage, the tycoons were tripping over each other to take potshots at Liskov and Zahormacky's pitch. Cuban was the first to drop out, followed swiftly by Herjavec. Kevin O'Leary took a moment to label their presentation "horrendous" and "opportunistic" before also stepping aside. Daymond John had experience in tuxedo rental, but even he felt that the service wouldn't eliminate the need to pack personal items. He was out, too.

That left Lori Greiner, the show's "warm-blooded shark." She was uncharacteristically harsh, describing the business as a "total nightmare." The boys left the studio looking sheepish but still maintained UnPack had huge potential as an innovative idea.

Is UnPack still in business after Shark Tank?

The UnPack debacle on "Shark Tank" demonstrated how merciless the sharks could be when presented with a poorly thought-out pitch. The concept raised more questions than the solutions it offered: What if I don't like the clothes they send me? What if the package doesn't arrive or the items don't fit? What problem is the service actually solving? Don't you still need to take a bag for shoes, personal preferences, and other items that the rental service doesn't provide anyway?

Unsurprisingly, UnPack failed to take off. The last dispatch on the company's Instagram account was a generic post about airports in 2017, and the company folded in the same year, less than 12 months after the co-founders appeared on the show. Aaron Liskov moved on to work part-time at Harlem Children's Zone, a nonprofit organization that helps impoverished kids and families. He then took an apprenticeship at Fenwick & West, a large law firm that has represented the likes of the New York Times and Facebook.

Andrew Zahornacky worked in digital strategy for a few years before starting a new venture. He is now CEO and founder of Noshinku, whose vision of "re-inventing hand sanitizer" no doubt caught a wave during the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily for him, this idea was significantly better than UnPack, and the company's product was listed in New York Magazine as the "Best pocket-sized hand sanitizer" in February 2023.