I’m a hunter. I like to fish, despite being kind of lousy at it. And I love leaving the pavement for trails on foot or a trusty four-wheeled steed.
Four years ago I sat down in my basement with some friends, and we talked about the current state of social media. Baneful social experiments with billions of users had failed people like me, with censorship and bullying running rampant. We believed we could do better, and we knew that outdoorsmen and women deserved better.
Today we’ve come a long way from something built on nights and weekends, to a team building a robust product and a community of hundreds of thousands of people. But we will not rest on our laurels because the work is far from done.
While tech journalists and venture capitalists fawn over platforms like TikTok, I see more of the same for the outdoors: Huge platforms that will fail to provide meaningful value to a misunderstood audience. These technologies will eventually follow suit of their forefathers, shunning the outdoorsman’s lifestyle because Silicon Valley doesn’t understand it.
We must do better. And GoWild will.
GoWild has completed a funding round of $2.25M, supported by investors who believe in our team, product and mission. That mission is to unlock the gate to the outdoors for all. With this milestone, we are well prepared and positioned to continue building the best social platform for outdoorsmen and women, as well as expand upon our gear functionality.
At the core of our mission is empowering people to take that first step outside. So often that starts with finding the right gear, which can be intimidating. “Social commerce” technology on other platforms is a thinly veiled transaction—it does not provide any social value for the community. We are focused on meaningful functionality for you, our members, such as showcasing gear that’s trending in the community and proven to be a worthwhile purchase.
We strive to give you as much information as possible when searching for gear, whether that’s for your first purchase or an annual upgrade. Outdoor gear is expensive as well as an investment, which is why we are investing in making the quest for good gear easier.
We have actively built and improved our website’s social presence over the last few months, which you may have noticed. What you don’t know is we are about to launch a totally new website that will be the culmination of all-things GoWild—community, content and gear. This new platform will have more access to our content, which includes our shows Restless Native and Gearbox Talk, written articles with how-to and gear reviews, as well as a robust shopping experience that aims to help you shop smarter, and with more information at hand.
Our new website integrates with thousands of manufacturers and retailers, bringing hundreds of thousands of products into one place. This means you can spend less time finding the best websites for gear, and more time reviewing the gear itself. We’re also showcasing popular gear in each category (Archery, Firearms, Fishing Tackle, Camping Cookware, etc.), so if you’re new to an activity or just want to buy the best gear, you can pickup products that are field tested and proven by other GoWild members. This website should launch in October.
We’ve also added a new team member to help expand our shopping integrations and offerings. Matt Kubancik has joined the team as the Director of Ecommerce Operations. Matt has an incredible career background in ecommerce, and will be a key player in helping us build strong relationships with manufacturers, as well as a sustainable business model that ensures GoWild is around for years to come.
Naturally, some of you may worry that we’re becoming just another shopping website. That is not the case. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time GoWild Cofounder, President, Zack Grimes, has said the following, I could buy an island in the Carribean:
“I am not building a product that just tacks on shopping—that’s gross. We provide value, or we don’t do it.”
That notion is our moral compass with everything we do as it relates to ecommerce, as well as our platform overall.
GoWild will continue to expand its social functionality. I love seeing the stories you all share about fishing, camping, hunting and everything else. We’re actively working on ways to strengthen your ties to your in-person relationships, as well as to help you find cool people to follow on GoWild who you haven’t met yet, like Lyn and Lacey Hoffman (seriously, check them out). Shopping smarter is an important part of what we are doing, but none of this works without staying true to our social roots.
What’s worth noting is that we built the gear integrations because you asked for them. The most popular requests over the years have been: “I’d like to see what tackle other anglers are using.” “Can you make it so I can find the best deals on camo?” “What’s the best kayak to use for fishing?” I get hundreds of messages sent to my GoWild account each week, and by far, the most requested developments are about more gear. Followed by gear requests are mapping integrations, which we have zero interest in doing. Just use HuntStand, they’re owning maps and by far the most popular mapping platform.
I’ve said it since the beginning, but we are all stronger together. GoWild is a platform that’s built by people like you, for people like you. None of that changes with our team’s growth or the investments. I am still in control of GoWild, along with our original cofounders. We have not strayed from our vision with outside investment, but yet found a team of investors who can help us grow and believe in a healthy outdoor industry.
Truthfully? We've walked away from investments from people who were not aligned with our vision or moral compass. We are here to do one thing—build the best social community for the outdoors so that everyone has a place to learn with ease and without barriers.
That has not, and will not change.
All of this news aside, none of it works without you, the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken time to sign up for GoWild or download the app. I’m grateful for your participation in the platform, because at the end of the day, our team’s amazing tech is a shell of itself without you.
We’re stronger together. Stay wild,
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