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.


Marquee sign Catapult Outdoor Rec Pitch event at Boulder Theater

3 outdoor startups to know about

If you were hanging from the edge of a cliff, a new business venture would probably not be at the top of your mind. But for Craig Payne—founder of Hustle Bike Labs and creator of the REM Pedal—it was a relevant thought. The mountain biker was enjoying a ride when he hit a boulder more


All you need to know about what went down at Outdoor Retailer

The final Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City is behind us. And while the attendees we spoke with felt that the aisles of the Salt Palace were less crowded that usual (no official numbers have been released by the show), energy was high around the industry coming together to more

Patricia Rojas-Ungar, OIA

Outdoor Industry Association welcomes new power player

At the end of November, Outdoor Industry Association will have a new voice in Washington, D.C. to help press forward the industry's increasingly demanding agenda on trade and land conservation. Patricia Rojas-Ungár, OIA's VP of government affairs, comes from the U.S. Travel more


Copycat gear in startup nation

There was a time in Tayson Whittaker’s life when $200 was a lot of money. In 2014, when Whittaker was a 23-year-old finance student at Southern Utah University, he struggled to come up with enough cash to buy ultralight backpacking gear. He already had a closet full of hunting more


Surviving the pandemic: Digital workshops for outdoor startups

The coronavirus crisis has ravaged small businesses across the globe, and those in the outdoor industry are no exception. If you own an outdoor startup, Catapult Innovation Labs, a startup accelerator owned by SNEWS' parent company, Active Interest Media, has devised a means of more

Breckenridge, Colorado, at night with snow

Industry Buzz: Alex Honnold, Eoin Comerford, CampSight, Purple Orange, and more

Keep up by reading Industry Buzz. Here are today's top headlines: Have a news tip? Email us at Just after midnight on Thursday, Alex Honnold free-soloed a skyscraper in New Jersey, but called it quits halfway through because he was uncomfortable with the more

5 themes of Outdoor Retailer

How do we use social media in the outdoor industry?

You don’t have to think very hard to come up with examples of how social media has been weaponized to spread harm. But a panel at Outdoor Retailer on Saturday Day 3 explored effective ways to flip the script and use the powerful tools of social media to accomplish good things for more

Wayfinder Co-Op pitchfest

Wanted: The next best outdoor startup

The days of starting small businesses in dingy garages or cluttered home offices are dwindling. Nowadays, entrepreneurs are bouncing around ideas in sleek spaces with string lights, succulents, coffee bars, and clusters of brainstormers. And one in Denver housing more than 25 more

Organ Mountains in New Mexico with full moon

New Mexico gets a new OREC office with a diverse twist

The 12th state to create a government office dedicated to promoting the outdoor recreation economy, New Mexico lawmakers voted last night to establish an Outdoor Recreation Division—and the effort takes a different flavor in the Land of Enchantment. While rafting and biking have more