Alex Fletcher (BSBA ’19) was well on his way to pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a professional athlete – making semi-professional status and racing for CU Boulder Cycling – when a horrible crash left him on bedrest for months.
During his time of recovery, he started to feel lost, not knowing if he could compete again after breaking his back. He began reading and researching everything under the sun to distract himself. That’s when he found himself going back to his home roots of Silicon Valley and tapping into his interest of startups. His goals moved from wanting to be a professional athlete to wanting to get other people outside in some capacity.
Combining his passions for the outdoors and tech
“I realized the outdoor industry hasn’t been touched yet by sharing economies like Uber, Airbnb and Turo. I also saw a huge problem, where the guides and workers weren’t getting nearly as much as the big companies they work for, even though they are the ones providing their expertise.”
Since transferring from CU Boulder to CU Denver, Fletcher has been working on his app, Unser Outdoors, which perfectly combines his passions for the outdoors and technology. The app allows city dwellers and travelers to experience outdoor adventures just like locals do. People can sign up for a local guide to take them mountain biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding or even on a backcountry photography session. Fletcher states how this is a big contrast from typical guiding services, which are confined to certain areas like ski resorts. The locals will take them off the beaten path to show travelers what a place really has to offer.
The user experience is very similar to Airbnb, and individuals can search for activities in the area they’ll be traveling. The travelers pay for the local’s time and service. This is how Fletcher is flipping the typical pricing structure for guides upside down. Instead of the payment going to corporations, the local guides get 70% of the transaction, in turn lowering the cost so more people can afford these experiences.
Allowing people to show off their passions
The app has been live for a little over a year. In that time, Fletcher has partnered with two amazing people in senior level positions within their respective companies who help him with marketing and the tech side of the app. Everything is possible if you have a team with diverse skills.
What are the next steps? First Fletcher has to walk across that commencement stage May 18. Then he will be working to completely overhaul and re-launch Unser’s platform and brand. The team is ditching the mobile-only approach and broadening their reach by creating a website as well.
The team also plans to offer more guide services, in more states, with more locals. As of right now, Unser connects users to guide services in 14 states via 62 locals, but over 400 additional locals across the country have expressed interest in becoming guides through the app.
“I want Unser to get to a place where anyone, anywhere can look into something no matter where they’re traveling and get an awesome outdoor adventure experience. This reaches beyond resorts or tiny guiding services; the world doesn’t work that way anymore.”