These days, appearing on the hit TV show Shark Tank, no less getting investment from one or more of the Sharks, can be better than having a Harvard MBA. Entrepreneurs are today’s industrialists. And an investment from Kevin O’Leary, Damond John, Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, or Mark Cuban, validates the venture and the entrepreneur. In today’s popular culture, every Shark Tank presenter is a star!
When Sam Chason, and his partner, Matt Gronberg, appeared on Shark Tank in 2022, they got offers to finance their ‘STORAGE SCHOLARS’ from four of the five Sharks, and ultimately did a deal with Mark Cuban to sell 10% of their company for $250,000. “Of course the valuation was super important, but we were more focused on securing a deal with Mark, to utilize his platform and to bring brand recognition with college students and school administrators. When we went on Shark Tank we had 23 schools – we’re now growing exponentially and already have over 50 schools in our pipeline,” Sam says.
Sam grew up near Byram Lake in Mt. Kisco, and graduated from Fox Lane in 2016. “My mom and dad were both high school teachers,” Sam recounts, “my mom taught Math in Rye and Scarsdale, and my dad taught Physics in Ardsley. Education was, obviously, a priority, but I’ve always been all about business. I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life! …I started selling lemonade at 5. I started selling candy at 7. I was into flipping things on CraigsList when I was 12, and then in high school I started cleaning out attics and garages and after estate sales and sold thousands of items for my clients. I worked for a catering company all through middle and high school, and even managed a few side gigs. …Senior year of high school, I bought myself the 2002 GMC Sierra Pick-up that I’m still driving. And by the time I graduated, I’d saved up $50,000 that I used to pay for college.”
“Getting ready to go to Wake Forest as a Freshman,” Sam explains, “I recognized the need that college students have moving their stuff to college, storing a dorm room or a college apartment’s amount of bedding and furniture and a bicycle each summer, and then moving everything to the next stop in life after graduation. As soon as I got to college, I started going door-to-door and handing out fliers selling other students – with other Freshman as my prime target – on a service to pick-up their stuff at the end of the year and deliver it to wherever they wanted for the following school year, with a white-glove option where everything is ready and waiting for the student’s arrival. Then I focused on marketing to the following year’s incoming Freshman, so I could sell them ‘ship to school’ and ship boxes, tape and prepaid shipping labels to make the move-in process easy. We have everything, including their entire online wish list from Target, Amazon, or Bed Bath & Beyond, waiting in their Freshman dorm room when they arrive. Before I graduated, I repeated the process at a dozen other colleges. …I was hiring a lot of students involved in sales and moving, and during my Sophomore year I hired Matt Gronberg, a pre-Med from Boston, to help me grow the business, and because I knew I wanted to study in New Zealand during my Junior year. After thousands of hours working together, we became partners after Matt graduated.”
“As we’ve grown, we’ve learned the ins-and-outs of the storage and shipping businesses, we’ve essentially become a professional recruiting company and, most important, we’ve learned how to operate in partnership with our universities. As an example, when the administration at Georgetown needed to move 86 students into a new dorm all-at-one-time, they called on us,” Sam continues. “We probably weren’t really ready when we first applied to Shark Tank, right after we graduated from college and in the middle of covid, in 2020. But by 2022 we’d figured-out how to scale…and that Shark Tank – and particularly Mark Cuban – could be our key to becoming a global logistics company.”
Sam has the youthful enthusiasm and boundless energy of a 24 year old, with the business expertise of a seasoned capitalist. He’s moved to Austin, Texas – because STORAGE SCHOLARS is working on building a strong university presence there, for the obvious tax benefits, and because he can run STORAGE SCHOLARS from anywhere. Sam’s girlfriend, who’s from Chicago, moved down to Austin in 2022. “I’m still the classic young entrepreneur. Right now I’m on an extended and therapeutic solo trip to Bali – a trip I’d planned to take after graduation in 2020 – but it’s my first vacation since high school, and even here I’m working 7:30 A.M. to 4 A.M. every day” Sam laughs. “We’re very core product focused, and we’re confident STORAGE SCHOLARS will be a $100M company within 3 years!”