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Teen gets $100,000 ‘Shark Tank’ business offer for an ingenious idea he had at the age of 8

The 15-year-old offered the show's investor judges 10% of his company for $100,000 and they found his idea quite appealing.

Teen gets $100,000 ‘Shark Tank’ business offer for an ingenious idea he had at the age of 8
Cover Image Source: YouTube | @ABCNetwork

Sometimes, it doesn't take an experienced mind to come up with high-potential ideas that turn out to be profitable business pitches. Even a little child might amaze us by pointing out the flaws in everyday products we've been using for years and suggesting simple yet effective solutions for them. That was the case with 15-year-old Nathaniel Wellen from Los Angeles, who left the world in awe with his remarkable business idea. On the January 20th show of ABC's Shark Tank, Wellen pitched his innovative design of "The Duo" umbrella to the investor judges and walked out with flying colors. 

Image Source:  (L-R) Business investors and television personalities Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner and Kevin O'Leary attend the
Image Source: (L-R) Business investors and television personalities Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner and Kevin O'Leary attend the "Shark Tank" Season 8 Premiere at the Viceroy L'Ermitage Beverly Hills on September 23, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

It was Wellen's simple yet strategic design of the umbrella handle that impressed the judges. People often struggle to share an umbrella with another person, because the one who holds it often gets the most of it. Wellen offered a solution by simply extending the handle so that two people could hold a single umbrella while sharing it conveniently. In a confident tone and an appealing demeanor, Wellen introduced his idea to the judges saying, "It's been thousands of years, and the standard umbrellas we use today have not changed much. That's why I invented 'The Duo', the dual-handle umbrella designed for two because you know what, Sharks? Everyone deserves their own handle." The judges were impressed by Wellen's presentation and joked that he sounded like "a kid out of a 1985 movie."


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Alex Wellen (@alexwellen)


 

This idea popped up in Wellen's head when he was just 8. The 15-year-old and his father, Alex Wellen developed the prototype umbrella and obtained a utility patent too. When the show was filmed, "The Duo" business was pre-revenue and only had prototypes. Wellen offered the show’s investor judges $100,000 in exchange for 10% of his company. Testing the sample Wellen brought, Lori Greiner said, "That’s a good size for a little compact umbrella," and Mark Cuban added, "You’re a great example for kids out there who want to be entrepreneurs." But, "The Duo" came with strings attached. Weather accessories brand, Shed Rain partnered with Wellen's company and owned 49% of the company while also helping with prototypes, manufacturing and distribution. "They’re going to get us in stores like Target, Walmart, Kroger and Costco," said the 15-year-old.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Alex Wellen (@alexwellen)


 

Wellen's strategic partnership impressed the judges. But Cuban rejected the offer saying, "If you dilute your equity at all, even 10%, you’re under 50%. And that’s an issue going into what you’re doing. Given the circumstances, you want to stay over 50%. for those reasons, I’m out, Nathaniel - but congratulations on what you’ve done." While Kevin O’Leary opted out considering Wellen's age and the fact that he would not be frequently accessible due to his school, Barbara Corcoran didn't want to invest in "The Duo" too. But Robert Herjavec was optimistic and said, "I love deals where there’s a potential exit already built in. You create this product, you partner with them and it takes off. There’s no way they’re not going to buy you out."



 

When Herjavec offered $100,000 for 20% of the company, Wellen negotiated for 15% and the deal closed with Herjavec investing $100,000 for 18% of Wellen's company. The 15-year-old shared some words of wisdom for other young entrepreneurs saying, "Just keep moving. Keep going. Reach for your goals and maybe you too will make a deal with Robert." Speaking to ABC about Wellen's smart and innovative idea at the age of 8, his mom said, "It was so cute because a lot of fathers and sons play football together and go fishing together and they did do that too but they innovate together. They would be in the garage breaking umbrella after umbrella." Over the years, the idea became a reality through the consistent efforts of the boy and his dad and also tagged along a Shark on its way to reaching the customers.



 

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