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VC-backed Sportsman Tracker sells to Texas firm COURTESY PHOTO

VC-backed Sportsman Tracker sells to Texas firm

BY Wednesday, September 15, 2021 02:36pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Sportsman Tracker Inc., creator of the HuntWise mobile app, announced this week that it has sold the business to a Texas-based company that offers online recreational safety education and certification programs.

As Sportsman Tracker’s marquee product, HuntWise provides hunters with a set of digital tools, including a feature that helps pinpoint the best times and locations to hunt on both public and private land. 

The venture capital-backed firm found a buyer in Richardson, Texas-based Kalkomey Enterprises LLC, which partners with both outdoor enthusiasts and state and local government agencies around the world to provide a variety of educational courses.

Kalkomey made the purchase with the backing of Boston-based private equity firm Cove Hill Partners.

“(The deal) allows us to look at our customers — someone that loves the outdoors — from kind of an end-to-end experience,” Jeff Courter, founder and CEO of Sportsman Tracker, told MiBiz. “Not only are we giving them an advanced tool to use in the field or on the water, we’re now taking all the people that just got educated and providing them with great tools to experience the outdoors. 

“It really was a perfect match.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With Kalkomey already working with budding outdoors enthusiasts, Sportsman Tracker can tap into this group for information on how to continue to evolve the HuntWise app, Courter said. 

“If someone comes to take hunter’s education, they’re coming for different reasons,” Courter said. “We want to do a lot of listening. How can we take that person and equip them (for) the next step of their journey? We want to start by listening and ask where they’re at. What are we missing? Where are the gaps and where can we help them get engaged in the outdoors?”

Courter founded Sportsman Tracker in 2015 with Jon Schwander with the aim of creating a digital tool kit for hunters. Via three different rounds of funding, Courter and the company were able to raise $4.1 million from 11 investors. 

Michigan venture capital backers included Wakestream Ventures LLC, and Grand Ventures, both based in Grand Rapids, as well as Detroit Innovate, Invest Detroit and Huron River Ventures from Southeast Michigan.  

Courter said Sportsman Tracker’s plans to maintain and grow its presence in West Michigan, particularly as the sale of the business turns the startup into a mature company with the resources to match.

“It’s quite an opportunity to really look at a blank slate and say, ‘What can we do and where can we step in to provide value?’” Courter said. “For the first time since our inception, I feel like we have everything we need now. You just need to go out and execute on a vision.”

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