Tower Paddle Boards has found growth by swimming with the sharks and selling on Amazon. In 2010 Stephan Aarstol, founder and CEO of the niche online retailer, began designing, manufacturing and selling stand-up paddleboards direct to consumers on TowerPaddleBoards.com. In 2011 he got publicity—and $150,000 in funding—via reality TV by taking a dip in ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Billionaire investor Mark Cuban ponied up the cash in exchange for a 30% stake in the business. Aarstol in 2012 began selling on Amazon’s marketplace, which made up about 44% of the retailer’s total revenue in 2015. The company is extending its product selection to include sunglasses and other beach-style products.
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