Legos allow kids to build cool things and develop their creativity. However, these tiny bricks can become fragile while building a large masterpiece. 12-year-old Tripp Phillips made a solution for this by creating Le-Glue, a water-soluble glue that can strengthen lego creations. Tripp and his dad pitched the product on Shark Tank and got a deal with Kevin O’Leary. As of 2022, Le-Glue is worth an estimated $1.6 million.
About the Founder
Tripp Phillips and his family reside in Dalton, Georgia. Like many young entrepreneurs that have gone on Shark Tank, his startup story started when he was tasked with making an invention in school.
In the third grade, Tripp’s teacher made him choose between writing a paper or making it. He picked the latter, and his dad advised that he must first identify a problem, then make a solution for it.
When the young man went home, he played with his lego airplane, and its wings kept falling down. At that moment, Tripp had the idea to make a special glue for legos. After hearing about it, Lee Phillips believed his son’s idea was brilliant.
Founding the Company
The father-and-son duo got help from a friend who worked for 3M. Because Lee is a lab director, they had the tools to make an adhesive that’s strong but temporary. It could dissolve in water if they want to rearrange their lego sets.
With this, Le-Glue was created in 2015. At age ten, Tripp became one of the youngest patent holders in America. His invention also won first place in the International Torrance Legacy contest.
Lee invested $1,000 to kickstart the business and raised over $3,300 through a Kickstarter campaign. The startup ended up making $125,000 in three years with the majority of sales coming from its website.
Shark Tank Appearance
Because he is a fan of Shark Tank, Tripp Phillips always wanted to feature on the show. In 2018, he finally got his chance to pitch Le-Glue with his father. They appeared on season ten of the show, seeking $80,000 for a 15% equity stake.
They brought along Tripp’s sister, Allie, to help with the demonstration. Tripp handed out homemade samples of Sharks they created. The Sharks admired the kid’s entrepreneurial drive and were impressed with the profit margins. Tripp’s main goal was to partner with a large brick manufacturer.
Kevin O’Leary was the first to make an offer but it was contingent on securing a licensing deal. He offered $80,000 for 50% of the licensing revenue until he recovers his money then the equity will drop to 20%. Based on Kevin’s history, this is a fair proposal!
Guest Shark, Jamie Siminoff felt like he couldn’t match the offer and dropped out. Daymond John also made an offer without any clauses but the Phillips went with Mr. Wonderful despite no assurances.
After Shark Tank
Tripp and Lee immediately started working on the licensing deal with Kevin after Shark Tank. A year after the Le-Glue episode aired, the company made more than $500,000 in revenue. In an interview with starterstory.com, Tripp revealed the business was making around $18,000 per month. He also shared, they have distribution in the UK, South Africa and China.
The temporary glue is now available on Amazon, Walmart, Learning Express, and various independent toy stores. The company began manufacturing hand sanitizers in 2020 to aid regional communities in fighting the pandemic.
On Amazon, Le-Glue has an average review rating of 3.9 from over 1,100 reviews. In the future, they are planning to expand into new regions such as Australia and Canada. Currently, the business is valued at an estimated $1.6 million.