The Players Trunk co-founders Hunter Pomerantz and his brother Austin...

The Players Trunk co-founders Hunter Pomerantz and his brother Austin in their parents' Old Westbury garage.  Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The 20-something founders of a Long Island startup that markets jerseys, cleats and other gear previously used by college athletes will be pitching their business idea on Friday's season finale of "Shark Tank."

Hunter Pomerantz said he and three other co-founders of The Players Trunk sought to sharpen their presentation style and anticipate questions as they went through rounds of interviews before being chosen to appear on the show.

However, walking onstage to seek investments from "Shark Tank" panelists whom he had idolized for years was another matter. 

"We tried to prepare ... but nothing prepares you for the moment," he said. "When those double doors open ... that was a surreal experience."

The company, founded in the midst of the pandemic in July 2020, still operates from the Old Westbury home of the parents of Hunter, 24, and his co-founder and brother, Austin Pomerantz, 22. Joining them in pitching the "sharks" were co-founders Jason Lansing, 23, of Chicago, and Charles Matthews, 25, a former University of Michigan basketball player now with the G-League affiliate of the Boston Celtics.

The Players Trunk notched $1.3 million in sales in its first 12 months, from July 2020 through June 2021, said Hunter Pomerantz, and the company is in the process of signing a lease for a 3,000-square-foot facility in Hauppauge with plans to move in this summer.

The company sprang from an idea bandied about by Lansing and Austin Pomerantz, then students at the University of Michigan who worked behind the scenes as managers of the basketball team: Let college players and former players sell their jerseys, cleats and other gear on a centralized marketplace.

A recent search on The Players Trunk website yielded listings for the University of Wisconsin gear of Jack Coan, who also played quarterback at Notre Dame. The Sayville High School product is an undrafted signee with the Indianapolis Colts.

Buyers sometimes wear the gear and sometimes hang it on the wall of a man-cave, Hunter Pomerantz said, while others hope that their merchandise appreciates dramatically when the player becomes the next Tom Brady.

"You bet on a guy or a girl and see what happens in the future," he said.

The Players Trunk "Shark Tank" segment was filmed last summer in California, Hunter Pomerantz said, and includes regular cast members Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greinier, Barbara Corcoran and occasional shark Kevin Hart.

A confidentiality agreement prevents The Players Trunk team from spilling the beans on whether one or more of the panelists invested in the company, Hunter Pomerantz said.

"Shark Tank," which debuted in 2009, airs at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC. The show's inspiration came from a 2001 Japanese show, "Money Tigers." International versions of "Shark Tank" have appeared in Australia, Colombia, Mexico, India and elsewhere.


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