Lincoln’s Powderhook game-changing for outdoor aficionados

Powderhook 2

Eric Dinger, enthusiastic entrepreneur and outdoorsman, sought to solve a problem he personally faced – finding enough time to pursue his fondness for hunting and fishing.

He discovered that many others in his community of outdoor enthusiasts experience the same problem. He also found another problem compounding the lack of time – that is, the lack of information sharing. He set about building a platform that would connect people for the purpose of sharing information, advice, tips, and events happening in the great outdoors. Eric has dubbed Powderhook the ‘front door to the outdoors’.

Eric describes himself as a life-long entrepreneur. Originally from the South Dakota/Minnesota area, he moved to Lincoln for college. He married his banker after graduation, and she and Eric are raising three children in Lincoln. He sold his first venture, a brand and sales strategy firm, in 2013 and started Powderhook that year.

Powderhook has evolved since its founding in 2013. The platform is built to reward sportswomen and sportsmen for helping each other. Powderhook works with the nation’s leading conservation organizations, retailers, and manufacturers by “bringing the outdoor industry together to solve some of the most important challenges.”

Eric provided the example of obtaining access to hunting as a problem solved by Powderhook. It’s what Eric calls, “a help desk for the outdoors.” Users can access local and current information on the platform, such as permit and license requirements by state. Anyone looking for local fishing ponds or updates on what’s biting, for example, can find it on Powderhook.

Powderhook also offers a unique feature called Digital Mentors. Large and small outdoorsman brands can gain exposure to their customers on Powderhook as Digital Mentors while featuring their products and services. Brands such as Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s looking to attract the newest entrants in the outdoor sporting market pay to access the Powderhook platform and analytics. Examples of agencies include departments of fish, wildlife, and natural resources. Employees of these agencies are Powderhook Digital Mentors.

These brands earn banner ads by allowing their mentors to answer questions and post useful advice. Mentors then earn points by mentoring Powderhook’s 165,000-plus users. Powderhook has built the largest outdoor mentoring network with 1792 mentors nationwide, ready to help outdoor enthusiasts have a good day outside.

It’s up to users on the site to find their own mentors; anyone wishing to share their knowledge about the outdoors can become a Digital Mentor on Powderhook to engage with the platform’s users. The platform also allows users to ask questions of the community at large. Users can be confident they will receive an answer quickly from the community. The average response time is 1 hour and 1 minute – giving users almost real-time ‘outdoor helpdesk’ support.

The scope of advice exchanged on Powderhook is wide-ranging. Users can ask any question related to the outdoors. From gear recommendations, to camping, hunting, and angling locations, to events around the country, Powderhook is a knowledge goldmine. Users seeking other enthusiasts to sport with can connect with others on the platform and can select another user to become a mentor who can take them fishing or give advice about great camping destinations, for example.  Powderhook is a crowdsourced outdoor helpdesk that is free to users.

Examples of questions that users of Powderhook might ask are the following:

“What are some fun outdoor camps for kids?”
“I love to eat Walleye. What is the best place around Omaha to catch a walleye?”
“What is the best place to buy a new bike?”
“Who wants to take me hunting next weekend?”

Users looking for events can also find those on Powderhook – over 17,000 different events are featured on the app. Well-known organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and the National Wild Turkey Federation promote their events on Powderhook.  Eric sites some interesting ways that Powderhook is connecting brands and people. He recounted that a family who moved to Manhattan, NY met the editor and chief of the magazine Field and Stream through the app; he offered to take them hunting.

Eric noted that Powderhook built its audience mostly around hunting, but has grown to include most any outdoor activity, such as camping, rock scrambling, hiking, biking, and more.  The company continues to grow and is currently hiring software engineers and quality assurance specialists.

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