Remember when we reported that new Bend startup Tribe Pilot had been selected as one of three early stage companies to pitch at the OUTFOUND festival in Hood River last weekend? They won. Matt Smith, the company’s founder, snagged the popular vote for his early-stage startup, a social app that helps plan group adventures.

“People were really excited about the idea, and couldn’t believe that it didn’t exist,” Smith says. “The most common response we got was ‘I’m planning three trips and I need this right now.'”

Matt Smith, on the right, getting ready to pitch — and win. Boom!

Tribe Pilot was initially selected from more than 30 companies to compete in what OUTFOUND calls its venture stage, essentially concept-stage startups. Matt narrowly squeaked by his two presenting competitors to win a bottle of Oregon bourbon, and of course the glory of winning.

Second place went to Animosa, a startup that makes a menstrual disposal kit for women adventuring in the outdoors and away from restrooms. Third place was Cirque Series, a company that promotes maximum altitude gain running events.

The OUTFOUND Festival also included a growth-stage competition, and both tracks were coordinated by Bend Outdoor Worx. The winner of the growth stage competition received a fast tracked application to the Venture Out Festival, which is this October in Bend. (If you didn’t go last year, you need to go this year. So many fun startups. So many great people. An awesome night).

For Matt, the win is further confirmation that his app has legs. He’s deep in development of the product right now, with a beta launch scheduled for August, and an official launch planned in September. “We’ve got new features coming online each week,” he says.

At its core, Tribe Pilot is a social app that helps you plan trips and adventures with numerous people. The idea is to eliminate the 127-email chain, and provide a place to headquarter your trip planning and everything associated with it, from to-do lists to meal planning to photos.

As someone who has planned a 65-person reunion, many group camping weekends and the occasional girls getaway (Wine anyone? I’m already driving there. Not even sure where. Just going) this product has my attention. Matt says the feature list currently includes:

  • Polls for choosing dates
  • Group and personal packing and to-do lists
  • Meal plan creation
  • Maps
  • Group photo share
  • Mobile money integration, so you can divvy up costs
  • A group chat within the app
  • A social aspect that lets you share your trips with others in your network.

Matt’s currently on the hunt for a business development person who can spearhead some B2B partnerships. He’s also headed to Outdoor Retailer next month to spread the word about Tribe Pilot. Congrats to Tribe Pilot on its first win — and we have a feeling you’ll be hearing lots more about this startup in the months to come.



Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at or

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley