ALBANY, N.Y. – Over eight million eyes were on an Albany native who almost botched up a deal on one of the most watched episodes of ABC’s Shark Tank.
Kasey Gandham and his partner dove right in with the sharks, pitching his “Packback” e-textbook company, in hopes of striking it rich.
Gandham, who went to the Albany Academy, wanted more to expand the business after creating his startup company while still in school.
Associate Head of School at The Albany Academy, Scott Milliken, has known Gandham since he was in the fourth grade. He explained that it is no surprise that his former student would come up with this unique idea.
“Probably stems from the fact that he didn’t open his books that often because he wasn’t a traditional learner,” explained Milliken.
However, once Gandham was on the show, one by one, the sharks said “no” to his pitch.
Gandham’s family, who watched the episode in Albany, anxiously waited to see what unfolded.
“We were in there for an hour and fifteen minutes,” explained Gandham.
But during that hour, Mark Cuban took the bait.
“We had been doing a lot of back and forth with Mark,” Gandham said.
The moment Cuban made an offer; Gandham’s counter offer took everyone by surprise.
“I thought ‘Oh no!’ is what I thought. How could he have said that?” said Milliken.
The shark decided to take a bite out of Gandham though, and the Capital Region native scored a deal, walking away with a $250,000 investment.
“By the end of it, Mike and I were totally brain dead,” said Gandham.
The episode aired in March and now, Gandham says he has been working with Cuban for the past six months. He explained that thanks to Cuban and the show, his company has gone national, continuing to grow and doubling the number of users who rent e-text books.
Gandham says that in the fall of 2014, they are looking to expand their business to the UAlbany Campus.
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