The Founding Story of Pursuit: How, What, and Why.
The story of how Pursuit came to be begins with my Dad. My Dad used to (sorta) joke that, “Camping is showing up at a motel without a reservation.” For all his wonderful attributes, teaching kids how to be outdoorsmen was not one of Dad’s strengths. Consequently, my midwestern family grew up with a passion for ball sports but never learned even so much as how to shoot a BB gun.
Several years later, I was a busy young professional newly married into an outdoorsy family. Having recently moved to the West from the East Coast, the mountains beckoned me. Fly fishing, mountaineering, skiing, and hunting sounded appealing but were a total mystery. My father-in-law saw the spark of curiosity and outfitted me with my first batch of equipment. Without him, though, I was stuck. I was too busy to scout, research equipment, learn the tag and license processes, decipher who was qualified to instruct me or knock on ranchers’ doors. There were many hurdles to overcome, and I couldn’t get around them on my own.
That’s when Pursuit was conceived.
Fast forward ten years, I was now a father to five young kids. Now living far from my FIL and not wanting the lack of outdoorsmen know-how to pass onto another Green generation, I started thinking about who I’d want to teach outdoor sports to my kids. An awesome priest friend of mine routinely takes people climbing, skiing, cycling, and fly fishing, and I wished my kids (and also the public) could go with him. The problem was that he lacked the platform to market and coordinate those trips for outsiders. During COVID I spoke with friends who were looking for ranch escapes and other inspiring, off the grid trip options. They too couldn’t easily figure out where to go and how to make their dreams become reality.
My two friends from undergrad, Tyler and Trae, both were experiencing similar issues. Tyler, an avid outdoorsman, had been talking with me about his challenges in the outdoors for some time. He was particularly frustrated with how hard it was for him to find solid fishing and climbing guides. Coupled with Trae’s knack for starting companies, we decided to head to Florida on a fishing and turkey hunting trip to craft a plan. After some discussion, we decided that I would dive in as the CEO.
That’s when Pursuit was born.
I am excited to give the world an easier way to enjoy the outdoors, source great guides, and access private ranches and boats in beautiful settings. We raised money from passionate investors like Joe and Nate Montana, Cyan Banister and Lee Jacobs, Garry Tan, Tyler Eifert, Brandon Linder, Kyle Tibbitts, Lee Bishop, and Scott Banister. That money allowed us to hire the highly talented team of Will Reilly, Mason Meier, and Anna Hill, and we set off into another type of wilderness, building pursuitoutside.com. We launched the site at the beginning of 2022 in conjunction with our start of Y Combinator, and we’ve been building ever since.
So what do we want Pursuit to do?
We want to inspire newbies to try new sports like hunting, spearfishing, and freediving by showing them trips that look enticing and are easy to book. We want to make it easier for experts to do more of what they love by providing them a la carte trip options so they can buy only what they need, like DIY private land hunts. We want to make it easy for landowners, boat owners, outfitters, instructors, equipment companies, and chefs to work together by building a site that allows them to list their individual services in a single page through Pursuit. As we’ve found, people want what rural communities have, rural communities don’t want to be left behind or ignored, and EVERYONE wants that all to be made easy.
Why do we think building Pursuit matters?
We believe that the outdoors teaches us things we can’t understand as easily when indoors or behind a screen, such as: pure silence is not boring, death leads to life, being comfortable with paradoxes is wisdom, and you can’t really know pleasure without experiencing pain. We believe the world is better when people learn these lessons, and have encounters that are beautiful, fun and enriching with people they love or enjoy. Being fully present in the moment is hard, but Pursuit can put you in situations that make that much easier.
So I invite you to be a part of our founding story. I invite you to be an early believer and a Founding Member of a community that is transforming the way we put our phones down and do something real. I invite you to let us build Pursuit for you, to do more of what makes you better, and to enjoy more life, liberty, and the Pursuit.