|Lanford Holloway, founder and CEO of Columbia-based TerraStride, said the key to raising capital is “getting a proven concept out there. It’s very hard to sell a raw idea.” (Photo/Chuck Crumbo)|
Published Aug. 28, 2015
(From Aug. 17-30 issue of Columbia Regional Business Report)
At first blush, the idea of creating an app for hunting might seem a little far-fetched. After all, how can the smartest of smartphones bag a 10-point buck?
But Lanford Holloway and his team at Columbia-based startup TerraStride have created an app that might help the hunter keep his appointment with that buck.
It’s an app called HuntStand, which can provide the user with a range of data from location of hunt stands on the property to wind speed.
HuntStand app and its companion Turkey Hunt are two of the apps offered by TerraStride. Using the same mapping technology for the hunting apps, the company has created TerraStride Pro, a platform that offers a virtual tour of high value property that can be used by real estate brokers.
Holloway, CEO and founder of TerraStride, said he got the idea for a hunting app about six years ago.
|The HuntStand app offers the hunter a range of information from wind direction to location. (Illustration/Emily Matesi)|
After wrapping up an International Master of Business Administration at the University of South Carolina, Holloway re-opened that drawer and proceeded to see if he could transform what he believed was a good idea into a product that would make money.
Holloway, who founded the company in 2012, recruited his tech team from among software developers at USC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science who were working on their doctorate degrees.
Each app’s ingredients are basically the same – satellite images, GPS, and a computer.
Since its launch, the HuntStand app has been downloaded more than 300,000 times.
“If the trend lines continue, a year from now we should easily be in the seven figures in terms of downloads,” Holloway said.
The download is free and available through either Google Play Store or Apple’s iTunes. The app is monetized by selling advertising space to merchants trying to sell their wares and services to hunters, Holloway said.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, hunting enthusiasts in 2014 spent nearly $840 million on hunting products and services in South Carolina.
Access to the TerraStride Pro app is sold to real estate brokers and land management firms. So far, 25 companies have signed up for the service.
“There’s a lot of synergy and crossover of the products,” Holloway said.
Both products involve mapping large tracts of property that are almost always sold for hunting clubs or timber, he added.
TerraStride is beginning to show signs of profitability, Holloway said.
As far as investment capital, Holloway said TerraStride “has raised over seven figures.” TerraStride also this year received investment approval from the SCRA Technology Ventures SC Launch board.
Holloway said the key to raising capital is “getting a proven concept out there. It’s very hard to sell a raw idea.”
If a startup can prove a real market need for its product, then it can raise money, Holloway said.
Looking ahead, Holloway said the company plans to release a “massive update” to HuntStand that give the app more sophisticated mapping and social features.
Sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship.org, 1 Million Cups meets at 9 a.m. Wednesdays at Cromer’s P-Nuts, 1700 Huger St. For more information, check the group’s at http://columbiasc.sites.1millioncups.com/.