The Pitch: Outdoors Product Makers Vie for Best in Show
The outdoor industry momentum continues as entrepreneurs encouraged with "Shark Tank" style event
When the outdoor industry's biggest trade show set up shop in town, innovation is sure to follow. That was the case at The Pitch, a "Shark Tank"-like event held at Denver's Wayfinder Co-op during the summer Outdoor Retailer week in July.
The Pitch brought together five finalists who had 5 minutes each to make a plea for supporting their inventions.
The event was lead-sponsored by GearJunkie, a digital publication covering outdoors news and reviews, which offices out of Wayfinder, a new coworking space for outdoor-inspired companies.
“The outdoor industry is ripe with innovation. But for many inventors and entrepreneurs, turning a revelatory moment into a product and then into consumers’ hands is a daunting prospect,” says GearJunkie editor-in-chief Sean McCoy. “Our goal is for The Pitch to help small brands scale their innovations and reach consumers. Ultimately, this will make playing in the outdoors better while helping turn dreams into reality.”
The Pitch panel of judges included investors, advisers and entrepreneurs who delivered feedback to representatives from Kokopelli Packraft; hybrid gear clip maker Heroclip; Mystic Devices terrain-adaptive lighting; Colorado Teardrops trailer inventor and renter; and Revel Gear camp lighting. Four finalists were from Colorado.
Following a Gear & Beer event in the Wayfinder parking lot, which brought together outdoor, travel, adventure and lifestyle companies, as well as local brewers, Mystic Devices took to the stage before a packed house — and took home The Pitch prize of the night: $10,000 in marketing, public relations, legal and consulting services from sponsors, plus a two-month membership at Wayfinder.
“Since we’re looking for investment to launch our product we thought it would be a great opportunity to get some exposure and meet new people in the industry,” says Mystic Devices co-founder Chris Slaughter, who was interested in attracting investments for tooling and production costs and advisers for the brand’s adventure sports light-sensor device.
“Being onstage and pitching our ideas was a fantastic blend between being rooted in the casual vibe of the outdoor community and being serious to help jump-start and grow the companies there,” Slaughter says. “We were stoked to win against a lot of great entrepreneurs who are all in different phases of growth. We’re really looking forward to utilizing the services won.”