Paper Box Pilots’ CEO, Noah Cahoon, is anything but your average CEO. At an age when most of us worry about our first year in high school, who’s dating who, and driving, — but 14-year-old Noah is more concerned about running his own company with only a little help from his dad.
Cahoon and his father, Brian, traveled from their home in Salt Lake City to appear on the ABC reality television show Shark Tank, where Entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to the show’s panel of potential investors. The episode, which aired October 10, featured rental funnel cake makers, dining table stabilizers, odor-eliminating clothing swipes, and the Cahoons’ product. Only two pitches received investment offers, and Paper Box Pilots was one of them.
According to Business Insider, Paper Box Pilots already enjoys more success than any of our lemonade stands ever saw. The company made $7,500 in eight months from its online shop and independent retailers. Noah began creating products last year for his younger brother. Investor Kevin O’Leary sweetened the deal with a $35,000 offer in return for half of the company, and on the condition that Paper Box Pilots also create pre-made kits and expand marketing toward girls, who he sees as a target demographic. Not bad for an Eagle Scout who started his business as a hobby.
How could a teenager make his cardboard-decorating business a success? His father, who once had dreams of becoming an entrepreneur himself, uses his MBA training when counseling his son.
“When Noah was born, I was getting my MBA,” Brian said on Shark Tank. “I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but when I brought home that little guy — it’s a feeling of responsibility that you have to be careful. And I never got the chance to take that risk.”
Instead of taking iffy chances, Brian guides his oldest son but is careful to let Noah make the important decisions. Currently, the elder Cahoon works as a senior sales consultant at Oracle. Heavy reports that Brian talks resumes and treats Paper Box Pilots like the real deal.
“We truly treat him as the CEO. He is involved in every major meeting, big decision, sales call, and vendor visit. We do lots of ‘field trips.’ He’s even had a first business trip where he spent three days at a toy trade show in Las Vegas.”
With three offers in hand, Noah wavered and looked to his father for advice. Brian encouraged him to pick the best mentor, then allowed his teenager to make the final decision.
O’Leary is confident that his business connections will lead to success for Paper Box Pilots, but the young CEO’s future looks promising even if the company does not ultimately succeed.
[Photo Source: Business Insider]