Charleston-based Open Angler, an online reservation service dedicated to the fishing charter industry, announced that it has raised $500K in early stage funding.
Launched in April 2015, Open Angler is the only national online marketplace for fishing charter reservations that offers a complete set of online and mobile business tools to help fishing guides maximize bookings, manage operations and easily connect with anglers and referral partners.
The Open Angler platform, which features robust customer relationship management tools and point of sale capabilities, is completely free to fishing guides, outfitters, marinas, resorts and referral partners. Through its user-friendly online marketplace, fishing guides are able to increase their web presence and connect directly with anglers looking to hire a charter.
Using the Open Angler network, anglers can discover and book their perfect fishing trip online. They simply search their desired location in North America, select a date, read verified reviews, choose a charter and reserve their trip.
Open Angler’s network of fishing guides, as well as outfitters, marinas and resorts, can log in to the Open Angler system to advertise trips, manage availability, accept payments and utilize a variety of other time-saving customer relationship management tools.
Geoff Martin, a Charleston-based technology investor and principal of GEM Capital Ventures LLC, is an advisory board member who assisted with the capital raise.
“I see Open Angler as a major industry disrupter,” says Martin. “I’m excited for the company to have backing from a sophisticated investor in the space, and I am highly confident in CEO Alicia Aloe’s ability to grow the business nationwide.”
Aloe is a veteran of the restaurant reservation industry who launched and grew a business that was acquired by OpenTable in 2010. She co-founded Open Angler with CTO Eddie Edenfield who has a history of developing innovative online and mobile offerings within the commercial and higher education space.
“Fishing charter captains are in the same position restaurants were in 10 years ago – most are running their businesses manually and intuitively instead of leveraging facts and tools that can streamline their processes,” says Aloe. “We offer a variety of tools unique to the fishing industry that are a game-changer for guides who want to spend more time on the water and less time on backend business details.”
Building from an initial customer base in Charleston, S.C. where the company is headquartered, Aloe says that Open Angler has plans to scale quickly and will have charters and anglers actively using the platform across North America’s most popular fishing destinations within months.
Open Angler was a startup accepted into CoHort 3 of the Harbor Accelerator program, a 14-week high intensity “bootcamp” for founders of innovative and scalable startup companies from the Charleston region and beyond.