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Easy Access Hunts CEO Joey Pate presents during the May 11 Spin66 Pitch Pit competition.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
Easy Access Hunts CEO Joey Pate presents during the May 11 Spin66 Pitch Pit competition.

Easy Access Hunts wins Spin66 pitch competition

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Weeks after being accepted for The eFactory’s 2018 business accelerator and pocketing $30,000 in startup capital, Easy Access Hunts LLC won the fifth-annual Spin66 Pitch Pit competition May 11.

The latest judges’ nod brings home another $5,000 for the software company described as “Airbnb for hunters.”

Founder and CEO Joey Pate gave the final six-minute pitch of the day at the Spin66 Innovation Summit, and it was enough to convince the three judges. Other companies that pitched were Gracious, a cloud-based sermon preparation platform – also participating in the business accelerator; HQ Assist, a service to help accomplish personal to-do lists; Netsofy, a medical tourism platform to connect patients and doctors around the world; and Tacit, employee training software using virtual reality.

Easy Access Hunts sets up short-term lease arrangements and already has one hunting season under its belt.

“We’re just giving you the platform to lease the land,” Pate told the judges in a short Q&A after his pitch. “This is something the market’s never seen before. We’re going big.”

During the spring season, Pate said roughly 1,500 acres were in the system and they were rented at a 40 percent rate. The company’s 18-month goal is to have 65,000 acres accessible to renters.

Pate has identified a market of 12 million hunters nationwide, and he says 80 percent of them are dependent on others’ land. They spent an estimated $624 million last year on private hunting leases, Pate said.

Serving as judges during the Pitch Pit at The eFactory were Jim Ashley, a director at accounting firm BKD LLP; Zola Finch, executive director of RMI Inc.; and Dee Telting, co-founder and CEO of Your Pal Pro Inc.

Before rendering their selection, the judges had questions:

• What guarantees that the land is “huntable"? Pate said, “We’re checking it out and setting quality metrics. We’ll tell people if it’s ‘huntable’ or not.” He acknowledged that process is not scalable for the business.

• If you’re renting out vacant land, how do you know renters “check out”? “We’re making a check-in and check-out step on our app. The landowners will know,” Pate explained.

• What about the seasonality of the hunting business? Pate said some predator hunts will help level it out but emphasized the core targets of deer, turkey and waterfowl cover plenty of revenue-producing days.

After the event, Pate said the cash prize – issued through event sponsor RMI – was timely. The company recently acquired insurance for landowners using the booking platform.

“This money is helping provide all of our landowners with $1 million in liability coverage for any experiences that are booked through our website,” he said via email.

The daylong Spin66 event also had a session on Building Big in the Midwest, a panel discussion on kickstarting business ideas, and a roundtable with foodies on culinary trends.

Organizers say there were about 50 fewer attendees than last year, when entrepreneur Amy Blansit won the Pitch Pit for her Solely Jolie makeup industry product. She received $10,000 in cash and business services.

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