Having your Lego construction fall apart after possibly hours of painstaking effort can be heartbreaking for any kid. Fate takes no prisoners and no second chances are given.
No matter how much thought and love has gone into the process, one false move reduces all your hopes and aspirations to rubble, leaving no option but to begin all over again – or give up.
But thirteen-year-old Tripp Phillips was adamant that it didn’t have to be this way. He knew that the simple act of sticking the building blocks together with glue would not be economically viable if he couldn’t get them apart again, so he set about designing an adhesive that holds tight, but could be released with the simple application of a little warm water. He called his invention Le Glue.
Once it had been tested for toxicity and any potential to corrode, Tripp and his father knew they had hit onto something big. Their water-soluble glue was twelve times stronger than simply interlocking Lego or Mega blocks, yet would wash away effortlessly at the time of their choosing.
Tripp’s father invested $1000 dollars in the product, to make and sell some units of their prototype solution.
Le Glue Net Worth
Le Glue has a net worth of 6.2 million USD. Founded by Tripp Phillips, Le Glue is a water-soluble adhesive specifically designed for gluing together structures made out of building blocks like Lego® and Mega Bloks®
At a Glance
The son and father team appeared on Shark Tank to ask for an investment of $80,000 in exchange for 15% equity in their new company.
Investor Kevin O’Leary was convinced by the product but less so by their valuation.
He offered the full sum but asked for 25% equity in the company, with a 50% royalty placed upon any licensing deals until he had retrieved his investment money after which his equity would fall to 20%.
Daymond John matched O’Leary’s offer, but the pair decided to strike a deal with the latter.
Who are the Founders?
Tripp Phillips and his father were a dream combination of an exasperated but innovative youngster and a lab scientist with $1000 to invest who believed in his son, a young football and golf enthusiast from Dalton Middle School.
The project originated with a challenge by Tripp’s school teacher for him to come up with an invention.
Inspired by the fate of his model airplane constructed from Lego, and its wing which kept dropping off, he hit upon the idea of a temporary adhesive, which would stick his pieces together for as long as he needed but would come apart again when washed with warm water.
Did Le Glue Get a Deal on the Show?
Despite the fact that they had offered 15% equity in return for an $80,000 investment, Tripp and his father were happy to compromise by increasing the investor’s share to 25%, later reducing to 20%.
The money was offered by two of the Sharks – Kevin O’Leary and Daymond John – but the inventors took the first offer to have been made which had come from O’Leary.
What Happened to the Entrepreneurs After the Show?
Within a year of their having appeared on Shark Tank to secure a deal with business investor Kevin O’Leary, Le Glue was reporting over $500,000 in sales. The company is now said to have a net worth of around $1.8 million.
The products are available to buy from many retail and online stores worldwide, including Amazon and Walmart, as well as being on offer directly from the company’s own online store.
The pitch itself appeared on the program’s Greatest of all Time special feature.
About the Product
For a young man of his years Tripp’s presentation skills as demonstrated on Shark Tank were disarmingly mature and impressive.
He dropped two similar constructions built from Lego onto the studio floor, the one sealed with Le Glue remaining intact whilst the other broke into its constituent pieces.
Then he applied warm water and before the eyes of the Sharks the glued contraption also fell apart. Its simple effectiveness had been revealed for them all to see.
Almost as important as the product itself was the question of how it could be applied to a surface.
It was Tripp who hit upon the idea of using a squeeze pouch in preference to struggling with a spoon or similar appliance.
Eventually, because of the volume that would potentially be sold, the family firm invested in a filling machine which would take care of the entire process.
The selling point of this product is without doubt the fact that it holds twelve times more effectively than Lego or Mega blocks which are not glued, and yet they come apart effortlessly in simple hot water.
The winning combination of a child’s imagination and his parent’s technical knowledge has ensured Le Glue’s success for many years to come.
Some Interesting Facts
Nobody should be under any illusions about Tripp being mere window dressing for his scientist father’s project. Subsequent interviews with the young teenager have revealed beyond question the young man’s own business acumen and entrepreneurial skills. He knows precisely what he wants for his company and his invention.
Tripp made a few major discoveries quite early into his adventure. One was the importance of Amazon as the most effective means of advertising and distributing his product.
The second was that his target market was not actually children, but their parents and grandparents. Having this kind of demographic knowledge is vitally important to understanding how to pitch it.
Lastly, he recognized the importance of social media to the modern market. And it is this product intelligence which continues to drive sales and to ensure the popularity of Le Glue.