CI Alumnus’ App Success Puts Hunting in the Spotlight

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 14, 2022) — After efficiently constructing among the finest hunter and angler centered social apps available on the market, one College of Kentucky School of Communication and Info alumnus is trying to additionally assist construct up his neighborhood.

Brad Luttrell, a 2009 journalism graduate, is the co-founder and CEO of GoWild, a free social media neighborhood serving to out of doors fans enhance their abilities, uncover gear and earn rewards. Based in 2016, the forum-based app connects neighborhood members to locals who’re curious about the identical matters as an alternative of requiring members to construct their very own following. 

What units GoWild aside from its opponents is its deal with gear. There are 500,000 items of drugs customers can tag of their content material to indicate what they’re utilizing and about 30,000 items of drugs customers can buy instantly from GoWild, which incorporates about 40 manufacturers. The app additionally rewards customers with factors that unlock completely different prizes as they purchase merchandise and make posts. Prizes embrace GoWild swag, coupons, present playing cards and a free fishing journey with the corporate founders, which has but to be gained. Luttrell views the funding as incomes his prospects’ enterprise and investing again into them.

“Constructing a tech firm in Kentucky, I’ve been instructed, is like rising a pineapple within the Midwest,” Luttrell mentioned. “And the Midwest isn’t a conducive rising atmosphere for pineapples, which is one thing we hope to vary.”

The thought for beginning a tech firm got here after Luttrell returned to his childhood, southeastern Kentucky roots of searching and fishing after a hiatus to come back to UK. He had spent his school years squarely dedicated to writing, modifying and taking pictures photographs for the Kentucky Kernel, placing in upward of 90 hours every week managing a employees of 40 for the coed newspaper. After incomes his diploma, he labored for a few years as a contract photographer, an promoting copywriter and a inventive director. When he met his aim of turning into a inventive director earlier than turning 30, he made a brand new aim.

As he tried to consider an organization to start out that will fast-track his profession whereas additionally attempting to enhance at whitetail deer searching, he discovered that there wasn’t an excellent on-line house for veteran hunters and rookies alike to attach, swap recommendation and share searching experiences. And after going through “hunter harassment” for sharing his previous recreation on different social media websites, he set his sights on creating an area for the outdoorsy neighborhood.

“The truth that you is perhaps afraid to share one thing that you simply care a lot about is loopy to me,” Luttrell mentioned. “I simply had this simultaneous realization that there ought to be a distinct segment platform the place you’ll be able to rapidly meet different individuals and dialogue with them across the factor you’re keen on.”

Combining his various talent set along with his expertise for storytelling, Luttrell constructed an organization — with no prior startup expertise — from the bottom up with three different founders. For the primary two years, the founders met of their basements and dwelling rooms on holidays, early mornings and late nights, utilizing all their free time to set the inspiration for the corporate. In 2017, they began fundraising. By the subsequent 12 months, Luttrell was capable of go full time with GoWild, and he credit his time with CI for growing the instruments he wants for fulfillment.

“My skill to storytell that I discovered from the Kernel and the College of Kentucky is the one most essential talent set I’ve ever discovered,” Luttrell mentioned. “Once I made the soar into being an entrepreneur, the very best factor to do to lift cash is to be trustworthy, inform an genuine story and get individuals to imagine in you.”

The app has been gaining plenty of traction previously 12 months. Final January, GearJunkie, a trusted enterprise within the out of doors business, named GoWild the Greatest Searching Social Media App of the 12 months. Luttrell mentioned the title was thrilling as he felt the out of doors media had snubbed his enterprise for some time. In April, GoWild was additionally featured on Fox Information Media’s homepage, and in December, Louisville Enterprise First named GoWild as one of many Startups to Watch in 2022.

Luttrell’s startup success with GoWild led to him being named to Louisville Enterprise First’s Forty Beneath 40 Class of 2021. Not solely was the distinction essential to him as a result of it acknowledged his staff’s exhausting work through the years, however he felt it additionally legitimized the often-questioned searching business amongst a various class of corporations together with distilleries and well being care.

Shifting ahead, Luttrell hopes to scale GoWild right into a worthwhile enterprise that lasts and may stand its personal in opposition to different social media apps. He desires the app to proceed to be a protected, enjoyable and helpful house for everybody enthusiastic about wildlife conservation. His targets additionally embrace serving to different founders, particularly these within the South and Midwest, to achieve the extent of success he’s managed to realize to this point with GoWild.

“We’re making such an impression,” Luttrell mentioned. “Sure, it’s smaller scale proper now, however I don’t need that to cease. I feel if we finish tomorrow, there’s a black gap on the web that doesn’t exist in the best way that we do. It’s such an essential neighborhood to so many individuals. I simply need to have the ability to feed them the leisure and training that they present in our platform and proceed to maintain it alive.”

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CI Alumnus’ App Success Puts Hunting in the Spotlight

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