Dalton celebrates young entrepreneur’s ‘Shark Tank’ success
DALTON, Ga. (AP) — After reaching a deal with one of the investors on the TV show “Shark Tank,” Tripp Phillips, 12, says his next goal is to strike a deal with a major toy construction block manufacturer to get his product Le-Glue into every package they sell.
And the people who gathered Wednesday night in downtown Dalton to celebrate Tripp’s success with a watch party say they think he will do that.
On “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs present their ideas to potential investors, Tripp reached a deal with investor Kevin O’Leary to buy into his company Le-Glue, which makes a non-permanent glue that holds Legos and other building blocks together without damaging them.
“I really felt confident going in that we would get an offer,” said Tripp.
The show aired Sunday night, which was the first time people outside of Tripp’s family learned about the deal. On Wednesday, members of the Dalton community gathered at the Dalton Innovation Accelerator in the Landmark Building to congratulate Tripp and watch his segment again.
O’Leary agreed to help Tripp get a deal with one of the block manufacturers to include Le-Glue in each set sold. In return, O’Leary would invest $80,000 in the company and get 50 percent of licensing until he recoups his $80,000, then get 20 percent of the company.
Tripp and his family traveled to Los Angeles in June to tape the show. While Tripp was aided by his father Lee and sister Allee in his presentation, mom Dana watched backstage.
“I was excited, but I was also nervous,” she said. “And I was so proud of what a great presentation he made and that he was able to make a deal.”
Lee Phillips said Tripp was helped by the experience he got in May taking part in and winning first place in the inaugural PitchDIA (Dalton Innovation Accelerator) contest, which featured a similar format where 60 entrepreneurs from Dalton and the surrounding area pitched their ideas.
Rob Bradham, president of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, said Tripp has set a high bar for future winners of the PitchDIA contest.
As part of the prize for winning the PitchDIA contest, Tripp got space to use in the Dalton Innovation Accelerator, and Wednesday’s reception was a chance to show it off to the community.
“The accelerator is like a business incubator on steroids,” said Marilyn Helms, dean of the Wright School of Business at Dalton State College.
Helms said Dalton State will have a permanent presence in the accelerator with students and faculty working with entrepreneurs to develop and market their ideas.
The Landmark Building is owned by Barrett Properties, which along with Inventure IT, developed the idea for the accelerator.
Barrett Vice President Barry Slaymaker also teaches an entrepreneurship class at Dalton State. He said Tripp’s success can provide a model for those students.
“Age has very little to do with success as an entrepreneur,” Slaymaker said. “It’s all about effort and desire. You can be 12 or you can be 60.”
Tucker Ford, one of Slaymaker’s students, said Tripp’s success definitely gives him more confidence.
“He’s a very smart kid. He came up with a great idea, and I think he’ll have a lot more success,” Ford said.
Information from: The Daily Citizen, http://www.daltondailycitizen.com