Repeat Minnesota Tech Entrepreneurs Raise $1m For A New Adventure With Omnia Fishing

Updated 8/27: The raise was $1m, not $750k as initially reported.

Two accomplished Minnesota tech entrepreneurs — Matt JohnsonDan Wick — are teaming up for their next act: Omnia Fishing.

“We’re borrowing a lot from what I learned while at Contour,” CEO Johnson explains in reference to his prior company Contour Innovations, started with Mike Lauenstein in 2009 and bought by Swedish firm Navico in 2014 (undisclosed).

“We have unique ways of associating data, content, and products with specific bodies of water using machine learning,” he elaborates.

“For example, when an angler comes into our site, they will receive custom tailored content and recommended products specifically for the waterbodies they fish. Our recommendation engine already counts 20,000+ variables and will continue to dynamically evolve to provide what we call ‘crowdsourced preparedness.’

CTO Dan Wick adds to that, “From a technical standpoint, Omnia aligns well with my past life at RedStamp in terms being of a consumer facing product that offers a lot of customization. At Redstamp, there was always this different card for different people on different occasions data-driven approach that we are going to apply now with Omnia.”

He joined Red Stamp with Erin Newkirk in 2006 which was eventually purchased by Taylor Corporation in 2013 (also undisclosed).  The duo also recruited fishing expert Chris Morgal as a third partner in Omnia.

Omnia has the backing of $1m in seed capital going into a fall launch, targeting October in the Midwest/Great Lakes States market. Minnesota’s most active tech angel Daren Cotter has put in capital, so did Steven London, and has NetSPI founder Seth Peter, which sold a majority stake to Sunstone Partners earlier this year.  Ten other investors got into Omnia early via Gopher Angels and they combined invested $320k of the $1m oversubscribed round.

“We know we are going to have to scale quickly.”

For the ecommerce side of it all, Omnia is going to be doing its own fulfillment (not dropship), which means that they need more physical space than the average tech company —  already they have 2,000 square feet secured in Golden Valley; if all goes according to plan, expect that footprint only to grow.

While their core revenue model is centered around selling fishing products, Omnia also intends to offer a $29/year premium membership option to build in recurring revenue on top of the platform, borrowing from Amazon’s Prime playbook.

Overall, Johnson says the the domestic fishing industry at large is a $45 billion dollar per year spend and “the categories we’re focusing on are everything that is required in the boat for the angler, which is about a $5 billion dollar slice of that each year.”

“Success in this is very much about going out there prepared,” Johnson knows firsthand, which is equally applicable to fishing as it is business. And with their new foray, Johnson & Wick have joined the growing ranks of Minnesota’s repeat tech entrepreneurs.