growing in Hou
A Louisiana-founded hunting and fishing startup is growing its operations and expanding into Houston.
Mallard Bay, a marketplace for booking guided fishing and hunting trips, will move half of its employees to Houston and will join the Greater Houston Partnership, according to a release from the GHP. The company hopes the move will help it tap into the large corporate and convention entertainment market in Texas.
The company was founded in 2021 by a group of Louisiana State University students after noticing a gap in the outdoor travel space. Last year, founders Logan Meaux, Joel Moreau, Wyatt Mallett and Tam Nguyen entered in the Rice Business Plan Competition and won the fourth-most in investments and prizes, totaling $218,000.
“Entering the Rice Business Plan Competition helped close out our $1.8 million seed round last September,” Meaux, co-founder and CEO of Mallard Bay, says in a statement. “Not only did it help us raise money, but the recognition and the contacts we made were instrumental in growing the business and sparked the idea to expand to Houston. Prior to the competition, we were unaware of all that the Houston startup ecosystem had to offer, but quickly realized the value of having a network here in Houston.”
That same year the company also acquired Texas-based marketing firm, Bourbon Media. The company also recently launched GuideTech, which provides guides and charter services with tools like calendar management and payment solutions for back-office use, the Baton Rouge Business Report reported earlier this year.
According to the GHP, Mallard Bay now works with more than 300 outfitters, ranchers and charter captains. The company has seen more than 1,000 percent YOY growth over the last five months.
Houston-based technology services development company Softeq Venture Studio is a major investor in Mallard Bay. According to a statement from Billy Grandy, chief innovation officer at Softeq and Managing Partner of the Softeq Venture Fund, the company began working with Mallard Bay in 2022.
"The company has garnered significant interest since participating in The Softeq Venture Studio, our hands-on startup accelerator program and we are eager to see where this next chapter takes them," Grandy added in the statement.
Softeq announced its latest cohort for its accelerator program in May.Houston is also home to outdoors and sporting equipment marketplace Everest. Founder and CEO Bill Voss spoke on the Houston Innovators Podcast about how Everest aims to disrupt the marketplace with its seller-friendly platform.