Entrepreneurs

'Shark Tank' premiere: Kevin O'Leary gave a 12-year-old $80,000 for this genius company

Allee, Tripp and Lee Phillips' pitch of Le-Glue on ABC's "Shark Tank." 
Eric McCandless | Getty Images

On last night's "Shark Tank" season premiere, a 12-year-old's pitch was so impressive, he had several sharks biting.

Middle schooler Tripp Phillips came to the "Shark Tank" stage with Le-Glue, a non-permanent, non-toxic glue he invented to temporarily fuse together toy building blocks like Legos. According to the company, simply soaking the blocks in warm water for 30 seconds dissolves the non-soluble glue, allowing the bricks to release quickly and easily.

Like many entrepreneurs, Tripp found inspiration in a problem he personally faced. He says pieces of his Lego airplanes would pop off while he played and readied them for takeoff. He realized he needed "something to hold these bricks together, but not permanently, like super glue," he says on the show. 

Tripp immediately impressed the judges with the mention of his utility patent, one he was granted when he was just 10 years-old. "My patent attorney told me that I was one of the youngest patent holders in U.S. history," Tripp says in the episode.

Judges Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban were equally impressed by Le-Glue's sales numbers. Last year, Tripp says the company saw $52,000 in revenue. This year, the company had already reached $32,000 in sales by May. Since its founding, Le-Glue has sold just more than $125,000, thanks in part to its online store.

Eric McCandless | Getty Images


UItimately, sharks Kevin O'Leary and Daymond John made offers to the tween founder. O'Leary liked Le-Glue's plan to approach the toy world's top brick manufacturers and have the product in every building block kit. "I know all the toy companies," O'Leary says on the show, adding that he'd help Tripp land a licensing deal, something the company hadn't done yet.

Tripp arrived at Shark Tank seeking an $80,000 investment for 15 percent of the company. O'Leary offered $80,000 for 50 percent of licensing until that $80,000 was recouped. After that point, O'Leary would drop to a 20-percent stake. "I'll go make those calls for you, but you're going to have to come with me to pitch it to the CEO," he tells Tripp on the show. "You're going to have to put on a black suit and tie just like me."

"If I don't deliver the big guy, then I don't have any stake," O'Leary says. "We go together, we find out if they're going to do it, if they say yes, we're in business."

Daymond John also threw his hat into the ring, offering $80,000 for 25 percent. Tripp countered with $80,000 for 20 percent. John didn't budge from his initial offer of 25 percent. After a quick huddle with his father, Tripp struck a deal with O'Leary.

Since the show, Tripp says he has been working out deal terms via conference calls. "It's very fun," Tripp tells CNBC Make It when asked about his experience with O'Leary so far. "It's a good learning experience."

The episode has already boosted sales, adds Tripp's father Lee. Since the premiere aired Sunday night, Lee tells CNBC Make It that the company saw 2,000 orders roll in by Monday morning,

But just getting to "Shark Tank" was its own win, says Lee, a lab scientist who helped Tripp develop Le-Glue. "A lot of kids are good at football or baseball or soccer, but Tripp reached the pinnacle," Lee tells CNBC Make It. "He reached the Super Bowl at 12-years-old."

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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