Cairn announced today the addition of two local investors: Cascade Angels Fund and Scott Allan, the general manager of Hydro Flask. The new investments bring the startup’s total seed round to $2 million.

“As a brand partner, I have experienced Cairn first hand. The data they provide to brands greatly informs product development, marketing and innovation. At the same time, they are bringing together a unique community of consumers, all with a love of the outdoors,” says Allan, who is also joining Cairn’s board of directors.

Hydro Flask was acquired by Helen of Troy for $210 million in February. Cairn plans to draw on Allan’s experience in creating shareholder value across outdoor products, positioning companies, commercializing technologies, building brands and managing growth.

Cairn, which provides subscription boxes to outdoor enthusiasts, has grown rapidly since its founding in Bend in 2014, and is a prime example of Central Oregon’s burgeoning outdoor industry. The startup was one of the first Bend Outdoor Worx accelerator graduates and a Bend Venture Conference early stage finalist.

The Cairn team -- a BOW alum.
The Cairn team taking time out to ski this winter.

Julie Harrelson, Cascade Angels fund manager, says that Central Oregon has an opportunity to become an innovation hub for the outdoor industry. “Cairn is a part of that ecosystem and a strategic investment for the fund,” she says.

Cascade Angels aims to drive economic growth by investing in Oregon companies. This is the 2016 fund’s first investment, with more likely to come. The Fund’s 2014 and 2015 iterations have supported several Bend startups included Droplr, Manzama, Amplion, LeadMethod and Odysys, as well as other startups around the state.

Cairn's March box fea. Hydaway bottle. Bend startups!
Cairn’s March box fea. Hydaway bottle, another Bend startup.

The investments from Allan and Cascade Angels will close out Cairn’s seed round. The funding will help the company expand its team and product offerings and continue to grow its subscriber base.

The company previously announced in February that it had raised $1.7 million from investors including Brian Spaly, founder of Bonobos and founder and CEO of Trunk Club; Rick Dalzell, former Amazon SVP and CIO and board member of Intuit; and Jim Collis, private equity partner at Seaport Capital and HydroFlask board member.

Cairn began as an idea in Little’s retail marketing class at Wharton. It now counts more than 10,000 subscribers, who receive monthly boxes filled with new outdoor gear. Jared Peterson, Little’s co-founder and classmate from business school, left Apple to joint the company full-time as CTO in December.

The box is certainly integral to the business, but the pair also see it as a foundation for creating an engaged community of outdoor lovers and consumers, and as a vehicle for gathering invaluable data for the brands the box features. It’s the latter that has set the industry a buzz. About 40% of Cairn subscribers offer feedback on the products they get inside their Cairn boxes, a feedback rate that’s exceptionally high, the co-founders say.

Rocco, Little's dog (then a puppy) and Cairn mascot. I die.
Rocco, Little’s dog (then a puppy) and Cairn mascot. I die.

Raised in Oregon, Little is committed to continuing to grow the company here. Receiving funding and partnership from local business leaders like Scott Allan and the Cascade Angels Fund is really exciting. We are part of the innovation hub in Oregon and will continue to fuel this ecosystem,” he says. Congrats Cairn!

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, 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 WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

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