Founder, Tower Paddle Boards
With over two decades of Internet experience at the executive level, Stephan Aarstol is an Internet industry veteran. He has founded a number of ventures including: the No Middleman Project, Tower Electric Bikes, Tower Paddle Boards, the Tower Beach Club, Sidepot Gaming, and more.
Founded in 2010 and funded by billionaire Mark Cuban, Tower Paddle Boards is one of the biggest success stories in Shark Tank history. With only $100K in lifetime sales at the time of the 2011 pitch, Cuban invested just $150K, and since then Tower has done well over $40M in sales. In 2014 with a staff of just 5 people and revenues of $5M, Tower was named the #1 fastest growing private company in San Diego by the San Diego Business Journal. A year later Tower was #239 on the INC 500 list of America's fastest growing companies. Tower was the #1 brand out of over 2 million 3rd party sellers signed up for the pilot Amazon Exclusives program, and he and his company were mentioned by name in Jeff Bezos’ 2015 annual letter to stock holders. Tower was named to Internet Retailer's 2016 "Hot 100" list of the world's most innovative e-retailers.
Stephan holds an MBA in New Venture Management from the University of San Diego. He is a widely published entrepreneurial thought leader and he speaks regularly at Harvard Business School on the recently published HBS case study, “Selling on Amazon at Tower Paddle Boards”.
In 2015, to challenge long held delusions about unhealthy start-up work culture, Stephan moved his whole company to a 5-hour workday and would later write a book titled “The Five Hour Workday” about the experience, which would spread the idea to tens of millions of people worldwide, and get press in over 20 countries (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and more). He was subsequently hailed, "The World's Best Boss" by Hamburg Germany's #2 newspaper, MorgenPost, and "America's Best Boss" by the UK's Daily Mail.
Notables / Awards
- 2022 - Named to International Business Times' Social Capital Top 100
- 2019 - Named Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year at Western Washington University
- 2018 - Named to Alumni Hall of Honor at the University of San Diego
- 2017 - Named to "Top 10 Most Influential Business Leaders in San Diego" by Our City Magazine.
- Author of 'The Five Hour Workday' published in 2016
- Fast Company contributing author
- Inc. Magazine contributing author
- Entrepreneur Magazine contributing author
- Forbes.com contributing author
- Washington Post contributing author
- Search Engine Journal contributing author
- CNN Money with Maggie Lake
- CNBC's Power Lunch
- Fox & Friends with Tucker Carlson
- Huffington Post
- The Adam Carolla Show
- Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas
- School for Good Living, with Brilliant Miller
- Kaufmann Foundation