Team Profile: The Guide Finder

Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Guide Finder Logo

Team Name: The Guide Finder
Team Members: Michael Holkesvik (YC '13), Konrad Coutinho (YC '13), Siddhartha Banerjee (YC '13)
Industry: Outdoors/Technology

The Pitch

We want to make it easier for outdoor guides to attract customers online.  The outdoor industry constitutes $70 billion a year in sales, but has yet to truly take advantage of the capabilities of the web.  By positioning ourselves at the cutting edge, we will be in a position to create real value for millions of consumers.

The Team 

We have both the industry knowledge and technical skills to be successful.  All three members of the team are rising Juniors in Yale College, and all are Computer Science majors with extensive programming experience. 

Michael Holkesvik, CEO          

A South Dakota native, Michael grew up with a deep passion of both hunting and fishing and has extensive connections in the industry.  Also, with prior software development leadership experience at CERN he has a unique perspective from both sides of the digital divide. 

Konrad Coutinho, CFO           

Originally from Florida (the highest ranking state in retail fishing expenditure), Konrad manages the financial aspects of the company as well as front end development.  With prior work experience at Goldman Sachs, he knows what it takes to create a sustainable business model. 

Siddhartha Banerjee, CTO     

Backend database development is done by Siddhartha, a native of Delhi, India.  As an Electrical engineering and Computer Science major, Sid is a leader of the Yale Hybrid Racing Team and loves tackling complicated technical challenges and building tools to make life easier.

What problems did you see that led you to develop The Guide Finder? 

The outdoor trip planning market is broken on both sides – both guide and consumer.  Guides are more and more understanding that they need an online presence to attract new customers, but don’t have the time, technical skills, or financial capabilities of going it alone.  People looking to book these hunting and fishing trips have an equally hard time finding and choosing a guide, and usually end up spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on an experience that they are not sure is the right one for them.

How is the Guide Finder solution different? 

Our combined team skill set of deep industry knowledge and experience combined with programming expertise allows us to create something that truly isn’t available in the current market.  We allow guides to easily set up beautiful online profiles that showcase their talents through pictures, video, and testimonials.  Consumers then can easily search through this database of potential outdoor experiences and sort and compare by important factors like location, price, and fish species. 

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