On July 25, immediately preceding the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Camber Outdoors gathered a group of promising entrepreneurs for Pitchfest 2017, held at Petzl headquarters.
The seven finalists, selected from a pool of 47 applicants, (pictured above), pitched their business plans to a panel of judges and a crowd that included industry influencers, investors and CEOs. Each finalist received eight weeks of one-on-one mentoring leading up to the event as well as a week of pitch coaching before the big day.
The pitches were judged by Matt Compton, COO, Simple Finance; Jill Layfield, Co-founder and CEO, Tamara Mellon; Dan Nordstrom, CEO, Outdoor Research; Diana Seung, EVP Merchandising, Backcountry; and Susan Viscon, VP Merchandising & Private Brands, REI.
Here are a collection of sound bites from each pitch:
- “We set out to create a brand that had some soul…we hope we can do for cycling what LuLuLemon has done for yoga.” – Jennifer Hannon, Machines For Freedom
- “We don’t just cook food in the backcountry, we cook great food in the backcountry…if people love their experience in the outdoors, they’ll want to protect the outdoors.” — Emily Nielson, Dirty Gourmet
- “Professionals are looking for balance — they no longer want to choose between career and lifestyle. Now they can have both.” — Aryn Schlichting, Mountain Careers
- “The landfill is our #1 competitor. It’s the cheapest, easiest solution on the market…we want to change business as usual and close the loop on textile waste.” — Christina Johnson, Upcycle it Now
- “We’re a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs in mountain towns…to incubate and accelerate new businesses and create experiences.” — Amy Kemp, ELEVATE
- “Solovore means one who eats of the sun…solar cooking is great for tight spaces and a life on the go. We want people to move from freeze dried to from scratch.” — Anne Patterson, Solavore
- “We want to save lives by rebranding the bike helmet…we’re shifting the narrative from safety to style.” — Gloria Hwang, Thousand
“Pitchfest gives women entrepreneurs the visibility and platform to bring their fresh thinking, innovative, ideas and passion for the outdoors to market,” said Deanne Buck, executive director of Camber Outdoors. “This year’s finalists really delivered. We hope their Pitchfest experience catapults them forward and inspires more women to start companies in our industries.”
The event was launched in 2015 as a cornerstone of Camber Outdoors’ programming to elevate women entrepreneurs and accelerate growth and innovation in the active-outdoor industries. Since then, 26 women have live pitched their business plans to a panel of top-tier industry executives and a room full of investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders. The mentoring and feedback they’ve received have helped Pitchfest participants increase their business sustainability and growth.
Now in its third year, Pitchfest has been funded in part by The REI Foundation’s Mary Anderson Legacy Grant since its beginning. This year’s event was Co-sponsored by Perkins Coie and Backcountry.
If you missed Pitchfest 2017, you can watch the recorded version here.
Photo by John Evans courtesy Camber Outdoors