Jason Li is one of the most remarkable people you will ever meet, and he began to distinguish himself at a very young age. Immigrating from China at the age of 6, Jason had one primary passion when he was growing up: Judo. He was great, competing in national tournaments until he, unfortunately, broke his back and was unable to continue with his Judo career.
For an entire month, Jason was relegated to his bed, where he recovered from his life-altering injury. During that time, there was very little that he could do. He decided to read, and one of the books that made an impact on him was a book about changing the world. The book focused on entrepreneurship and its significant impact on the third world. It showed the ways entrepreneurs can make large impacts in these poor areas of the world.
Further, Jason was and still is very passionate about the environment problems with pollution. It was through this meeting of passions that Jason founded iReTron – amazingly, he did so at only 16 years old.
Jason saw a problem, and within that problem, he saw a business opportunity. There are plenty of people who want the latest, most cutting-edge technology on the market. At the same time, there are plenty of people who can’t afford the newest gadgets. What do many people do when they are finished with a device? They throw it away. Electronics have become one of the primary sources of pollution.
Seeing all of this, Jason decided to create a business where people can send in their used electronics. From there, the electronics are recycled. Sometimes they’re refurbished and resold; other times, they are taken, at a loss, and disposed of properly. Jason combined his passion for the environment with his desire to build something and sustain himself.
iReTron on Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 5 Episode 20
iReTron, at the time, was having issues growing simply because there was not enough capital to utilize. Jason describes finding buyers to be the easy part. The hard part for the company was acquiring enough electronics to be able to turn more significant profits. It’s for that reason that Jason went on Shark Tank with his business idea seeking $100,000 from one of the sharks for a 20% stake in iReTron.
The most remarkable aspect of his appearance on the show was probably his confident presentation when you consider his age. If you see the episode, it seems like Jason is in his 30s. The sharks are stunned to learn that he is only 16 years old after his initial pitch.
There are several concerns raised throughout his standoff with the sharks. The most pressing issue is when Jason reveals that the company has generated only $40,000 in profit. This is when Jason reveals the critical detail that he needs more capital to acquire more goods. It is also noted that there are plenty of other businesses that are very similar to iReTron.
What ended up working the most for Jason ends up being his charisma. All of the sharks describe having doubts about the business itself. Despite their misgivings, each of them has something nice to say about Jason and his delivery. He appears smart and confident.
It is for that reason that Barbara offers him the $100,000 he sought. She says as much in her pitch that it isn’t necessarily the business that she thinks she’s investing in, but Jason himself. Jason had one shark in mind when he arrived, though. He presses Mark Cuban, assuring him that he will retain his drive even with a cash infusion to his company. Mark agrees, and so Barbara and Mark go into a partnership, splitting the $100k.
Jason is thrilled when he leaves the Tank. It is clear that he had one Shark in mind when he went on the show, and that was Mark Cuban. He is excited that he even got the chance to meet Mark, let alone work with him.
The Sharks all had similar concerns, mostly that there are alternatives on the market that are a lot more successful. However, they all seem to believe in Jason, and they were all impressed by the confidence in his delivery and the way he carries himself at such a young age.
Life After Shark Tank
Jason is currently a student at the University of Chicago. He continues to run iReTron while he studies. He is a student leader on campus and is involved in helping other young entrepreneurs on campus. He’s given several speeches, including at TEDxUChicago in 2015. Further, he has even gone on to launch his second social enterprise: UProspie. This is a service that helps people reach higher education who might not ordinarily get there, or who just need assistance in achieving higher education.
The streamlined process makes iReTron one of the easiest ways to get cash for your old electronics. The prices are competitive; you can receive a pretty nice chunk of change from devices that most people don’t think twice about just throwing out. Plus, every phone recycled is another phone not in the ocean or clogging up some waste facility.
The cash infusion from the Sharks has helped the business. iReTron can offer customers the highest price possible for their electronics. Further, customers can make bulk sales, so the company can spend a good chunk of money at once. Jason has been able to use the profits from iReTron to sustain himself at the University of Chicago, paying for his tuition.
All of this has allowed Jason to pursue other ventures without needing to invest all of his time into iReTron. Not to mention, having that kind of exposure to hugely successful individuals such as the Sharks is valuable in itself.
Li continues to involve himself in startup companies, the latest of which is called Flipside. The company is a media platform that breaks down news articles and determines whether they are real or fake – opinion or news. The company hopes that this sort of service will help in such a time of political tension.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with iReTron, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.