Ideas on how to disrupt the Outdoor industry

The outdoor industry is on the fringes of disruption, as millennials seek new ways to experience the outdoors. We (the millennial generation) are interested in living a rich life, full of diverse experiences. Rather than being an expert in a niche activity we would rather dabble in several. We are an experience driven generation.

Some what overlooked these days is the value of real, face to face, human interactions and the importance in engaging with the natural world. Historically the digital progression has pushed us further and further away from what it really means to be human. This can be best summarised by the phenomena of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) caused by socialmedia. Vicariously and superficially being connected with friends.

We are finally at the brink of another revolution in technology and this time it will be awesome for mankind. Rather than technology isolating us it will enhance real human connection with nature.

At C21 we are poised to embark on this new revolution in technology from an outdoor lense. We are eagerly pursuing our own ideas and investing in others that increase better human connection and inspire people to be active outdoors.

C21 Accelerator’s tag line; “Save yourself from your screen, Keep it Real” centers around this idea of richness. Fundamentally we believe in products and services that increase real interactions with others and the outdoors. We

The following are a collection of thoughts that have been circulating around our office.


How do we connect people who want to participate in an outdoor activity or simply go for a walk with a neighbor? And how do we connect these people with the right information to help ensure a great experience? What does it even mean to “get out doors”?

Many of the big brands in the outdoor industry paint a hard core picture of bearded men on the top of mountains with a parka and an ice axe. In reality, this image doesn’t resonate with most of millennials. Yes we love adventure and yes we participate in extreme sports but most of us live in urban settings and dabble in many different types of activities.

Imagine an online platform to connect us with activities and friends to go do these activities with. Finding a new adventure in your neighborhood or in a remote location with just a few clicks.

Access to Gear

How do we make a variety of outdoor activities accessible to millennials? How might a sharing economy model be applied to the outdoor industry? How can we reduce the amount of stuff we consume and produce to reduce our environmental impact?

Great gear is very important however, owning thousands of dollars of equipment we might use once a year, that become quickly outdated, is highly unattractive. Yes rental companies exist but their inventory normally consists of entry level gear and don’t offer technical garments.

Imagine landing in Salt Lake City, Utah from Los Angeles, for an epic weekend of skiing with your buddies with only a backpack. You arrive at the Adventure Club which is conveniently located next to the slopes and are offered refreshments next to a warm fire in the reception area while you check the trail maps and get all the information you need for the day. An associate greets you by first name and distributes the gear you had personally picked out online a week before your arrival. The latest patagonia jacket, black diamond skis, boots, gloves, and a pack.

No need for all the ski bags, clunky boots, and overstuffed duffle bags full of your gear.

The following week you have a stand up paddle board trip planned back home on the beaches in LA and because the Adventure Club exists in every major city, you’ll never have to own another piece of gear.

Escape from your screen.

How can we reduce the time we sit in front of a screen? How might we improve efficiency that allows us to better engage with technology? What social standards can we place around this issue? How can we gameify reducing the time we are in front of a screen?

The Ocean

With so many unknowns about the ocean and so little human exploration how can we build awareness? How can we get people more connected with the ocean?

The C21 team loves the ocean. We’ve all spent a significant part of our lives surfing, fishing, swimming and in general experiencing the ocean. I personally have a strong connection with the ocean and it’s environment precisely because I grew up by the coast in North Carolina. I’ve always had access and been around family who inspire me every day to go play on the water. Because of this deep connection I have tremendous respect for what the ocean provides our planet.

This in turn affects how I behave outside of the ocean. I try to take care of the environment around me.

Awareness creates a sense of responsibility to preserve the ocean. Isn’t it crazy that we know more about the moon than we know about our ocean. What if we could give more people this strong connection? How might that change how they view the environment? What product or service might give more people access to the ocean and the confidence to explore?

We’d love to hear from you. If you are an entrepeneur and are passionate about any of the topics please reach out and lets start a discussion. Contact me on twitter @afkehaya or find us online