‘Shark Tank’ Entrepreneur Who Pitched Successful Idea Dies in Surfing Accident

by Jennifer Shea

A “Shark Tank” entrepreneur who pitched a winning idea on the show died in a surfing accident in Florida on Sunday.

The entrepreneur, Aaron Hirschhorn, 42, was whizzing along on a motorized surfboard in Biscayne Bay when he ran into a boat there, People magazine reports.

The founder and CEO of Gallant, a startup that makes regenerative therapies for pets from their preserved stem cells, died immediately. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Hirschhorn had pitched the idea for Gallant to “Shark Tank” in 2019 after launching his startup in 2018. He came away from the show with $500,000 in investments from Lori Greiner and Anne Wojcick. They each got 5% of the business in return for their investment.

Before ‘Shark Tank,’ Entrepreneur Launched Dog Sitting Business

Hirschhorn was a passionate pet owner who learned from his own experience with back pain, which doctors cured with stem cell therapy. Before Gallant, he and his wife Karine Nissim had launched a dog sitting business, DogVacay. They sold that business to Rover.com in 2017.

Rover released a statement mourning Hirschhorn’s passing, per ABC affiliate Local 10 News.

“All of us at Rover were saddened to learn of Aaron’s sudden passing,” the statement reads. “Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues during this painful time. His love of animals and commitment to pet parents was exemplified in his founding and leadership of DogVacay and Gallant, but his vision for what was possible in the pet industry went well beyond what he already had accomplished. It is a tragic day.”

After Hirschhorn and Nissim took a 10-day trip and returned to find one of their dogs traumatized, at a cost of $1,400, they decided to start their own business.

“I didn’t understand why we were paying so much to have our dogs stay in a cage, and I have no idea what happened that she was traumatized,” Hirschhorn explained last year, according to the Miami Herald. “It highlighted for us that there was a problem.”

Hirschhorn’s Family Mourns

When Hirschhorn did not come home from his motorized surfboard expedition on Sunday, Nissim grew worried, the Herald reported. So she posted a note to Instagram. “Friends in Miami Beach, who are out on the bay by boat please dm me ASAP,” she wrote.

Later that day, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission revealed that the U.S. Coast Guard had informed them of a crash in the Meloy Channel near Fifth Street at about 1 p.m. Hirschhorn’s watercraft had hit a 38-foot Chris-Craft motorboat there.

On Monday, Nissim updated her Instagram, per the Herald. “My beloved husband of ten years died yesterday in an accident,” she wrote. “We are broken and will never be the same.”

Hirschhorn is survived by his wife and three young children.