Written by Kevin Volz.
Post Millions of people use social media sites like Facebook and Instagram as a platform for sharing photos and experiences they enjoy. However, the internet fosters a variety of opinions and lifestyles that at times can result in criticism from individuals that may not support a user’s interests. Tag N’ Brag in Chester Township, Ohio, created an app that connects one group in particular, outdoorsmen, in a space where they can post photos and share experiences without fear of backlash.
“People can use our app to share stories and pictures without worrying about negative reactions from those who may not approve of hunting and fishing,” said Tag N’ Brag co-founder David Giarrizzo. “There is a large niche group that is very passionate about these sports, but doesn’t have a dedicated digital platform to connect.”
The app, called Mount, takes the social experience a step further by helping to connect nearby users. Their technology is location-driven, so if someone using the app takes a fishing trip on a river in Montana, they can use Mount to share their experience with others users in the area. Giarrizzo says the goal is to connect young outdoor enthusiasts who grew up in the social media age and are the future customers of the industry. As more people use the app, the next step will be to draw in brands for advertising.
“We are focused on attracting people to Mount, and in turn, advertisers within the industry can benefit from having a concentrated audience of like-minded people,” said Giarrizzo. “It creates a symbiotic relationship between users and the companies who sell the products they want most.”
Growing up in northeast Ohio, Giarrizzo and his brother were always outside with their dad and uncle, in the woods and on the water whenever possible. They developed the idea for Tag N’ Brag while attending The Ohio State University when they started to notice the social media reaction to their sports was not always favorable.
“For us, it was less about the kill or the catch and more about the camaraderie and memories we were making,” said Giarrizzo.
They wanted to share this experience with other outdoorsman and began making hunting and fishing videos and posting them online. Four years later, Tag N’ Brag has a weekly video webcast, an apparel line and a social media app. The company released a version of Mount to select beta testers via the iOS App Store in early 2016 and is currently raising funds to develop a version for Android. Tag N’ Brag plans to hire a development team to enhance the technology as well as a video production team for their weekly web series.
In 2015, Tag N’ Brag started working with The Bit Factory, a northeast Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier, for entrepreneurial mentoring and help developing new features for Mount. The organization is also using Tag N’ Brag’s social media following to grow Mount’s core user base.
“When we initially started the company our main focus was determining the best direction that would set Tag N’ Bag up for success,” said Giarrizzo. “We’ve made continued progress in the past year thanks to the help and support from the Bit Factory.”
Giarrizzo says he always knew Ohio was an ideal location for a company like Tag N’ Brag, being located near many popular hunting and fishing spots, plus the many resources in the area for startups.
“This is the perfect place for our business to grow,” said Giarrizzo. “People think app developers can only thrive in Silicon Valley, but we are a prime example of what can be achieved in northeast Ohio.”