Richmond alumnus Fynn Glover pitched his company RootsRated, a curated recreational guide to 500 startups that could lead to an investment in his company.
Glover earned the opportunity to pitch in San Francisco on Friday for winning the annual Will This Float? Competition in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Nov. 15. Glover was one of 20 presenters, he said.
“I think what I really focused on was a quality narrative story,” Glover said. “All of this storytelling is the most important part. … I work to make people feel, to make people understand that I had built the solution.”
Glover works with specialty retailers to compile information about the local outdoor industry, and currently, RootsRated provides this information for 35 cities, he said.
Activities are broken down into 11 categories: backpacking/camping, climbing, cycling, flat-water paddling, hiking, mountain biking, road running, skiing and snowboarding, surfing and windsurfing, trail running and white-water paddling, according to the company website.
While working for a hedge fund, Glover traveled 16,000 miles across North America with his college roommates in search of some of the most beautiful places to explore. They researched online and interviewed about 1,000 college students to learn local knowledge about recreational habits, Glover said.
They had trouble finding useful information until they stopped at specialty retailers, he said. “But the issue was that they didn’t have a sophisticated technological platform to disseminate local knowledge – that’s what RootsRated is.”
Glover continues to work with retailers who specialize in activities from hiking to cycling and who can provide information about the local outdoor industry, he said.
Glover, a 2010 graduate, majored in international relations and French, minored in environmental studies and played on the soccer team. At the time, Glover was unsure about the type of career he wanted to pursue, but he knew that he wanted to promote a good cause, he said.
Glover was unfamiliar with business until he read Yvon Chouinard’s “Let My People Go Surfing,” which framed entrepreneurship and sustainability in a way that Glover said he had appreciated.
Russian professor and modern literature and cultures chairwoman, Yvonne Howell, and French professor Kasongo Kapanga were his mentors, Glover said.
Glover enjoyed spending time outdoors, Kapanga said. And because of Glover’s ability to connect the knowledge that he gained in school to his life outside of school, Kapanga said that he had not been too surprised when he had learned that Glover had co-founded RootsRated.
“The company he created is all about how to live the good life locally here in the U.S.,” Howell said. “By ‘good life,’ I mean a life you can believe in – healthy and outdoorsy – but also thoughtful and philosophically connected to the future of your own country’s local economy, community and environmental sustainability.
“Follow this lead. …If you want to start your own business and you want to make money, you need to do something you believe is good with society and yourself; otherwise I’m not sure you would ever be happy with it.”
Glover hopes to combine various aspects of the outdoor industry by using technology to connect local enthusiasts to the best local information, he said.
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