Success Story

Dare to Disrupt Episode 6 – Disrupting the Mattress Industry with JT Marino

In 2012, JT co-founded Tuft & Needle with Daehee Park, disrupting the mattress industry with their ‘bed in a box’ concept. In their first six years, they grew the company to $250M in sales. In 2018, they merged with the largest U.S. mattress manufacturer, Serta Simmons Bedding, where JT is now the Chief Disruption Officer.

In this episode, JT discusses how Penn State’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem supported him in his initial entrepreneurial endeavors, leading him to meet his current co-founder, Daehee Park. Marino also talks about how Tuft & Needle made the decision to merge with Serta Simmons, and what disrupting an industry really means. 

At the end of the episode, Nathan Bonslaver, a senior at Penn State Berks studying mechanical engineering, joins the conversation. He is the co-founder and president of CarToCamp, which designs, manufactures, and sells a universally fitting sleeping-platform product and storage system for car camping. Bonslaver asks Marino about how to maintain inventory and keep up with orders early on, as well as whether Marino would do anything differently if he could go back and change things. 

About JT Marino

JT Marino is the Chief Disruption Officer at Serta Simmons Bedding and the co-founder of Tuft & Needle, which merged with Serta Simmons in 2018. He studied math and computer science at Penn State. 

Download the full episode transcript

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Dare to Disrupt is a podcast about Penn State alumni who are innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, and the stories behind their success. Learn more.