Fla. Entrepreneur Who Successfully Pitched Startup on 'Shark Tank' Dies in Surfing Accident

Aaron Hirschhorn, 42, was the founder and CEO of Gallant, a startup focused on stem cell therapy for pets

Aaron Hirschhorn
Aaron Hirschhorn. Photo: Aaron Hirschhorn/Instagram

A Miami-based entrepreneur and father of three who once successfully pitched his startup on Shark Tank was killed in a surfboarding accident in Florida, according to local reports.

Aaron Hirschhorn, 42, was riding a motorized surfboard in Biscayne Bay when it collided with a boat on Sunday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said, according to ABC affiliate WPLG.

The Gallant founder and CEO was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene.

"My beloved husband of ten years died yesterday in an accident," his wife Karine Nissim wrote on Facebook. "We are broken and will never be the same."

Hirschhorn launched Gallant in 2018 as a startup that uses preserved stem cells of pets to develop regenerative therapies that could help them fight illnesses later in life.

He appeared on the popular series Shark Tank to pitch the idea in 2019, and walked away with $500,000 investments from Lori Greiner and Anne Wojcicki, who each received five percent of the business in exchange, according to Philadelphia Weekly.

ABC's "Shark Tank" - Aaron Hirschhorn
Jessica Brooks via Getty

The Philadelphia native told the magazine that he started Gallant after his own decade of battling back pain was cured by stem cell therapy, and called his experience on the show "fun."

"It happened so fast!" he said. "I was nervous, but I knew why I was there and what I had to do… It was almost an out-of-body experience."

The launch of Gallant came after he and Nissim sold their previous business venture, DogVacay, to Rover.com in 2017, according to Hirschhorn's LinkedIn page and the Miami Herald.

Aaron Hirschhorn
Aaron Hirschhorn and his wife Karine. Damian Dovarganes/AP/Shutterstock

Hirschhorn told Startup.com last year that the was inspired to start DogVacay after a 10-day trip left him with a $1,400 kennel bill for his two pups.

"I didn't understand why were paying so much to have our dogs stay in a cage, and I have no idea what happened that she was traumatized," he told the outlet, according to the Herald. "It highlighted for us that there was a problem."

Hirschhorn and his family — which includes two young sons and a daughter — reportedly relocated from Los Angeles to Miami about three years ago.

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