Founder & CEO
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, 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 $30M 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, where he is in their Alumni Hall of Honor. He was named the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year at Western Washington University, his undergraduate school. Stephan is a widely published entrepreneurial thought leader in publications including: Fast Company, Entrepreneur, INC, Forbes, and the Washington Post. He speaks regularly at Harvard Business School on the recently published HBS case study, “Selling on Amazon at Tower Paddle Boards”.
In addition to his Shark Tank appearance, Stephan has been featured nationally on CNN Money, CNBC's Power Lunch, the Huffington Post, ABC's Beyond the Tank, Fox & Friends, 20/20, Fortune Magazine, People Magazine, and the Adam Corrolla Show.
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. In 2017 Stephan was named to Our City's 2017 list of the Top 10 Most Influential Business Leaders in San Diego.
Stephan is a contributing author to:
on Fire Podcast Interview
Business Journal Interview
Interview by Terry Lin