Golden Valley, Minn. (October 19, 2020) – Omnia Fishing® today announces the addition of Ralph Castner to its advisory board. Castner previously served as Cabela’s Chief Financial Officer for 17 years and was instrumental in helping the company navigate rapid expansion and ultimately its acquisition by Bass Pro Shops in 2017. Castner will join an extremely talented advisory board that includes multiple start-up exits and industry and e-commerce experience. Castner will assist the company in navigating rapid growth and complex financial and funding needs required with growing inventory and managing cash flow.
“In my previous role, we spent a significant amount of time focused on the in-store experience,” said Castner. “Until I met the team at Omnia and saw what they were building, I wasn’t sure it was possible to provide that same level of relevant tackle selection online. The future of tackle shopping will happen online, and Omnia has prioritized the right things, including product curation and content and data organization for a unique tackle recommendation for each individual lake. That’s what people came into our stores looking for and now it’s digital and more powerful than ever.”
Omnia Fishing CEO Matt Johnson, a longtime angler himself, said, “I’ve really enjoyed Ralph’s incredible perspective on solutions to the financial obstacles in the way of our rapid growth. His connections in the industry are world class and his awareness of how we can provide the most value to our vendor partners that no longer want to be hamstrung by big-box is invaluable.”
Johnson is the founder and former CEO of Contour Innovations, another Minnesota-based start-up, which was acquired by Navico/Lowrance™ in 2014 after creating the automated mapping platform Insight Genesis™. He is joined by co-founders Dan Wick – the technical co-founder and CTO of Red Stamp – and Chris Morgal who has held positions at Pure Fishing/Berkley, Northland Tackle and Navico/Lowrance. Omnia has raised two equity rounds of funding to create a better online experience for anglers to not only find, organize and purchase fishing gear, but hit the water more prepared.
“Only 15 percent of tackle sales are happening online so the industry is largely underserved in e-commerce, and we believe the in-store experience is declining,” added Johnson. “OmniaFishing.com is the first online retail experience to make tackle buying easier and more productive by providing custom tackle selections for specific waters. At Omnia, our goal has always been to build an e-commerce platform that combines data, products and content by lake in order to make relevant recommendations and eliminate the need to visit brick-and-mortar stores and rely on tackle advice from ‘Bill from guns.’ Ralph has firsthand knowledge that will help us scale quickly in the fishing industry. We couldn’t be happier to have an executive of his caliber focused on Omnia’s growth.”
Current Omnia advisors include Justin Kaufenberg, General Partner, Rally Ventures, CEO/Founder SportsEngine (Acquired 2016 by NBC Sports); Seth Peter, Founder NetSPI (Acquired 2017), Managing Director of Twin Ignition; Brett Brohl, Managing Director, Techstars Farm to Fork and Managing Director, Bread and Butter Ventures; Andrew Savage, previous Senior Manager Amazon, COO, Dolls Kill, current CEO of Suma Brands.
About Omnia Fishing
Omnia Fishing was born from the premise that anglers rely on data about the changing, complex relationships between the water body, fish species, technique, season and product attributes. Omnia has built the first scalable ecommerce platform to organize content and products to make shopping relevant based on all those details. The result is a unique shopping experience for every lake and an algorithm that learns based on a number of inputs to constantly get smarter. In building a shop-by-lake concept to sort through all the noise for an angler, Omnia has addressed the root cause that has prevented billions in annual online tackle purchases every year. This establishes a relationship directly with the consumer and reconnect them with the vendors that invest so much in creating great products for specific use cases.
Advanced anglers can use the Omnia platform to file fishing reports on lake pages for the lakes they fish and provide context to the brands they use. This engagement can be used to build their reputation in the fishing industry, get noticed by brands, and receive tackle credits for making useful suggestions. Novice anglers can use the lake specific shopping experience and fishing reports to see only relevant tackle products that will send them to the water more prepared and access instruction on how to use those products effectively.