Colorado’s newest business accelerator today announced the selection of four innovative young companies to participate in its first 12-week business development program. Created in 2018, Catapult Outdoor Accelerator is a unique collaboration of industry-leading brands in the outdoor adventure market, including the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), Moosejaw Mountaineering, Active Interest Media (AIM), and Outdoor Retailer. These companies have partnered with the expert startup team at ICELab @ Western, which will guide the programming, and the Colorado offices of law firm Holland & Hart, which will lend legal advice on IP and other matters.
“Our sole mission in forming this coalition is to support innovation and opportunity in the outdoor industry by seeding small business growth,” said Jonathan Dorn, AIM’s Chief Innovation Officer. “As veterans of this space, we’re driven to give back, which is why we’ve all put skin in the game in the form of financial, staff, marketing, logistical, or networking support. It’s also why we’re not taking equity from any of the companies we select, which is very unusual in the accelerator world.”
More than 30 companies applied to be part of the first program, which will split time between ICELab facilities in Gunnison, Colorado, and AIM’s office in Boulder. The four startups selected to participate—Gearo, Revel Gear, Hustle Bike, and Geyser Systems—represent a diverse mix of products, leadership backgrounds, and revenue models. “We’re very excited about the real-world prospects for these products,” said Dan Pingree, CMO of Moosejaw Mountaineering. “Each entry would answer a real need for outdoor enthusiasts, and I’d personally be excited to sell these goods in my stores.”
Gearo co-founders Justine Barone and Andrew Chase bill their company as “the Open Table for the outdoor gear industry.” Their goal is to build a robust digital marketplace where enthusiasts can easily find and book gear rentals from outdoor retailers.
Revel Gear husband-and-wife co-founders Kody and Brian Plavincky dreamt up their innovative lighting products on a backpacking trip. Their goal is to provide ambient mood lighting and renewable solar power in the palm of your hand, while giving back through a charitable program.
Hustle Bike founder Craig Payne is developing a new bike pedal with the potential to be a singular technology for road, mountain, CX, and urban riders. It uses a patent-pending magnetic system that promises to create better contact between shoe and pedal, along with more security and easier release than existing pedals.
Geyser Systems founder Jonathan Ballesteros has developed something all campers can love – a hot shower system that is extremely water-efficient and can also be used to wash your dog.
In addition to mentoring and business-development support, the Outdoor Accelerator will provide a range of benefits to each company. OIA will supply access to industry data and research; networking through events and workshops; and participation in the Future Leadership Academy. Moosejaw will provide invaluable advice on merchandising, pricing, and distribution, while AIM will provide audience development consultation and promote the startups with free editorial and advertising in Backpacker, Climbing, SKI, and other brands. Outdoor Retailer will be providing booth space as well as on-site marketing.
“We can’t wait to show off our first cohort at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this June,” said Matt Kaplan, Vice President of Membership and Business Development at OIA. “The partnership between our organizations – and the level of support we’re collectively providing – is unprecedented, and we couldn’t be happier to support innovation at a grassroots level.”
To learn more, visit Catapult Outdoor Accelerator.