As an outdoor company on the forefront of a big shift, HuntForce can truly say they’re changing the game.
If you still haven’t heard of HuntForce, just give it some time. The trail camera photo management software, which provides one of the most comprehensive ways to organize, understand and use trail cam pictures, has impacted the hunting community for the better.
When this hunting season began in earnest, HuntForce’s father and son co-founders, Ryan and Jim White, knew they were about to embark on something big. 2014 marks the first full season that HuntForce is being widely used by the hunting public, and the two seasoned sportsmen are ready for things to happen. In a recent interview, Ryan commented on the philosophy and journey of HuntForce:
The idea around HuntForce was, how do we make hunters more successful in the woods by leveraging technology? We had never done anything in software, we were really very new to this whole business model, so we made some mistakes early on and really struggled with this big picture idea of what a hunting application would look like.
We rode the wave of trail cameras. And in the wake, what happened was, we had all these hunters who had this technology and no good way to manage it.
A friend with hundreds of cameras and millions of photos sparked the flame even further, and the desire to prevent that information from getting lost in the ether took over.
“Everybody’s buying more trail cameras, getting more and more data, and what they’re creating is a bigger and bigger mess,” Ryan said. “We saw it as a perfect opportunity to introduce an application that would make that process better and make hunters ultimately more successful, which is what I think any new product in the hunting category is aiming to do.”
Funding was scarce early on, full time jobs took precedence, and a longterm refining process was desperately needed. Then last summer, a Technology Accelerator program in Omaha, Nebraska gave HuntForce the wherewithal to understand the business ecosystem they were entering, and realign the objectives of the company as a true start up.
A move from Louisville, Kentucky to Omaha allowed the company to “really take off,” Ryan said. “We have grown from nothing to a company that’s raised well over $1 million in seed funding, and employs seven people.”
The focus on trail camera photo management became clearer, and that one aspect became the one thing that HuntForce was going to do, and do it well. “What we focused on was the lack, as a whole, that the trail camera companies left for us to crawl into,” Jim mentioned. “They stopped the trail camera experience at the point where you pull the SD card.”
The Whites surrounded themselves with developers and more tech-centric team members without getting hung up on their experience in the outdoors.
Ryan added, “We did place a much larger emphasis on (employees’) understanding the hunting or the outdoor culture. That’s where we come from, and that’s what we understand, but as time moved on, it’s almost more important for them to be passionate for our products and understand start up culture.”
Ryan admitted that the early adopters within the HuntForce customer base are younger, generally between ages 25 and 40, and that there’s still a fair amount of education left to do in terms of getting the word out, and explaining to people how the general hunting public can gain real advantages using the software.
“I think this information kind of raises the bar,” Jim said. “I think you’re seeing a lot more hunters taking big deer because of the technology, because of the trail cameras, and I think HuntForce is just enhancing that and I see that trend continuing. I don’t think it’s a crutch, I think it’s more information, and more education.”
Above everything else, HuntForce doesn’t automatically make you successful.
“Trail cameras and analytics like HuntForce don’t give you permission to ignore the basics,” Ryan said, hinting at the idea that you can’t just look at photos, show up on your hunting land and expect to shoot a buck. “You still have to hunt, it just gives you better information while you’re there.”
That information actually is making better hunters, as early reports from this season have been filled with positive feedback from those who have embraced HuntForce and used it throughout their scouting process. Even the guys from Buck Ventures and Major League Bowhunter are on board, and have teamed up with HuntForce to offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hunt for huge bucks in Oklahoma, and maybe even end up on a televised show.
Ideally, by the time this season is over, even more hunters will have recognized HuntForce as the powerful tool that it is.
Images via Ryan White and HuntForce