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Friday, September 28, 2012

Pilot customer gets massive boost from Shark Tank

Back in the spring, we featured our customerTower Paddle Boards, as they were about to appear on ABC's "Shark Tank." Six months later, we've got some exciting updates to share. In case you missed the episode, Tower was one of the lucky companies to have a "Shark" decide to take a chance on them. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban agreed to make a $150,000 investment in the business, which has resulted in enormous growth for Tower.

I spoke with Founder Stephan Aarstol this week (in advance of an update on the company scheduled to air on "Shark Tank" tonight) about what's happened this year, and how Pilot is supporting his company's growth. Aarstol told me that since the episode featuring Tower Paddle Boards originally aired, the company has seen sales increase more than 800 percent year-over-year, taking them from $250,000 in sales for 2011, to a projected $1.5 million for 2012. And if those numbers weren't enough, an article in Entrepreneur Magazine recognized Tower as one of the top 10 "Shark Tank" success stories.

Meanwhile, Pilot is continuing to handle all of Tower's inbound freight from China, as well as domestic delivery of thousands of completed paddle boards a year. When I asked Aarstol how working with Pilot has helped his business, he told me that the paddle board industry is notorious for high incidence of damage during shipping. Before Tower started working Pilot, they had been experiencing a 15 percent damage rate. After working with Pilot to make improvements like double boxing, that rate is down in the five percent range. Additionally, Tower is partnering with Pilot to explore other possibilities for international shipping, including setting up a warehouse in Australia, from which Pilot will facilitate the delivery of paddle boards to consumers who order from Tower's website.

Our San Diego station has really enjoyed working with the team at Tower Paddle Boards, and is thrilled to see the company thriving. Once again, congratulations to Tower on the huge success -- we're happy to play a small role in making your business run smoothly!