Catch Co., which developed a fishing brand, content and commerce platform, closed on $38 million in Series B funding to continue creating offerings for people who like to fish.
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CEO Ross Gordon, a fishing enthusiast himself, founded the Chicago-based company in 2012 as a monthly fishing tackle subscription offering for fishing lures called Mystery Tackle Box.
“Fishing can be an intimidating category, even for people who grew up doing it like me,” Gordon told Crunchbase News. “You can walk into a tackle shop and there are lures in every shape and size. We wanted to simplify this and curate content to make it easier.”
Catch Co. has since evolved into an e-commerce platform called Karl’s Bait & Tackle and developed original content, including “Unchartered.” The series started two years ago and involves YouTube fishing influencers traveling to destinations to compete in fishing challenges for charity. The company generally does four of these trips per year.
“Customers are still buying fishing items the day of a fishing trip, so we needed the placement of products where they can access that,” Gordon added.
The new round includes both primary and secondary capital and was led by True Ventures with participation from existing investor TechNexus. To date, Catch Co. has raised $56 million in total funding, according to Gordon.
The company was bootstrapped for the first three years, and its most recent raise prior to the Series B was in December 2020 led by Listen Ventures, he added.
“Catch Co. has perfectly positioned itself as a must-have for passionate anglers across the U.S.,” said Jon Callaghan, co-founder of True Ventures, in a written statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with Ross and his team as they grow the brand and expand the sportfishing industry in new and creative ways.”
Meanwhile, prior to global pandemic, 50 million people fished every year, which Gordon said was more than golf and tennis combined. Those people spent $6 billion on gear — rods, reels and tackle — in the U.S., and Catch Co. was growing 60 to 70 percent each year, he said.
Since the pandemic, Gordon has seen a 12 percent increase in fishing license applications, and Catch Co. itself experienced year-over-year revenue growth of close to 100 percent last year.
“The biggest challenge was keeping up with inventory,” Gordon said.
As the world returns to normal in the next 12 months, the company is being proactive with planning to meet and get ahead of any manufacturing or supply chain disruptions.
Gordon intends to use the new capital infusion to grow his team, expand into new product categories, build out Catch Co.’s video content library, and test new shopping experiences.
The company currently has 65 employees and 20 open positions. Gordon expects that another dozen job openings will follow. Catch Co. also plans to test brick-and-mortar stores for Karl’s Bait & Tackle.
“We were running lean before, but there is going to be uncertainty in demand in the next 12 months as we see where behaviors settle,” he added. “We have been on a path of evolution since 2012 and will continue to operate through the lens of improving accessibility to fishing gear.”
Feature photo and inset photo of Ross Gordon, founder and CEO of Catch Co., courtesy of Catch Co.
Blogroll ilustration: Li-Anne Dias
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