Back in the 90’s Erik, was a firefighter with a ladder company. Eventually realizing that going into burning buildings when everyone is running out wasn’t the brightest choice, he built his first Internet tech startup in ’96. Over the last 25 years, Erik has: built 5 startups; led digital strategy for the 4th largest news media conglomerate in the US; worked for tech companies like Intel and Verizon; served as an advisor or board member to many outdoor companies; and has consulted on digital strategy for major brands like REI, Cabelas, DSW Shoes, American Eagle Outfitters, and Albertsons as well as countless emerging and challenger outdoor brands. The combination of consulting for outdoor brands and being an avid outsider himself, he saw an opportunity in the ecosystem to break away from the standard fare of a handful of experts creating outdoor reviews and create a review platform that rewarded participation and that spoke to outsiders because it’s powered by outsiders.
With that, Gearmunk was born—and prides itself on doing things differently. When everyone was competing with each other spending money on facebook and instagram ads, Gearmunk was engaging in Dark Social and building a community. When everyone else was building a “we talk, you listen” model, Gearmunk went the other direction and built community. When everyone thought email was dead Gearmunk broke new trail and grew an email list from 1,000 to 235,000 in less than 18 months.
Gearmunks first investor, and still active advisor, is Hap Klopp, the founder of The North face, so that’s pretty cool, we guess.