Enhancing your national park experience.
Raised to Date: Raised: $86,592
Rolling Commitments ($USD)
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The Chimani team has been selected as a “Deal To Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10-20% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology please reach out to email@example.com.
Check out our discussion with Founder & CEO of Chimani, Kerry Gallivan, which was conducted as part of our due diligence process.
National Parks have always been a celebrated visitation site, not just for Americans, but for people from all over the world who travel to locations like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and so many others.
Since 2008, the annual visitation at Yellowstone alone has increased by more than 40% and Zion, nearly 15 times smaller than Yellowstone, has experienced over 4.3 million visitors annually, driven by an uptick in both more Americans and international travelers frequenting the parks.
While this growth in tourists definitely has its benefits in adding revenue to the parks, it has definitely overwhelmed a lot of infrastructure facilities, trails, and even parks’ abilities to manage visitor use in a way that both protects resources and offers high quality, safe visitor experiences.
More than half of Yellowstone’s visitors surveyed last year think that there are too many people in the park causing traffic jams, misuse and lack of services, and simply a poor overall experience in a place that should be celebrated for its serenity and cultural significance.
Chimani strives to solve this issue of unmet tourist needs through their app – serving as a comprehensive visitor guide to America’s National Parks. With services available both online and on a mobile app, visitors are able to find out information about trails, rent bikes, look up shuttle timings and locations, find convenience stores and restrooms, and even scout out the best viewpoints and picture points.
Chimani makes planning easy, helping visitors choose the ideal activities and navigate using a GPS-enabled map that is even available offline. Chimani’s mission is to help everyone experience the natural beauty and cultural history that America’s parks have to offer and by offering extensive guides to multiple park locations in the United States they are well on their way there.
Not only is the app easy to use and incredibly comprehensive, but there is a huge market for an app like this. Since 2008, overnight stays in parks is up 21%, creating a need for more information and more planning.
However, even though there has been a huge increase in visitors at parks and their stay period, the revenue of National and State Parks has only grown by 2%, reaching $14 billion.
This is a clear gap in matching the number of potential revenue opportunities available with the resources at parks. With the help of management strategies that can be provided by the app to help with shuttles, campsite reservations, and stores more people will be able to better utilize services and spike revenue the way it should in line with the growth in visitation.
Just like any attractive market, there are many competitors and the space for park guides is quite crowded. However, Chimani has done an amazing job differentiating themselves and offering multiple services.
Their only true competitor that matches them in scale and ability is REI’s Natural Parks mobile app – with complete trail data, live offline positions, transportation and service information, and even the ability to upload photos and share location on the app.
However, REI’s app is not nearly as current as Chimani’s and contains much fewer parks. They continue to update their system and information though and if Chimani wants to stay successful and ahead of the game, they should continue to innovate and pour significant amount of capital into development of their offering.
Why We Like it
1. Success to Date: Chimani already has 2,100 active paid users and has experienced a 2,000% growth in subscribers since their new subscription model launch.
They have multiple mentions on news publications and are always ranked #1 or #2 in reviews for the best guides on America’s National Parks. Their immense growth definitely speaks to their capabilities and seamless interface.
2. Partnerships: Part of the reason Chimani has experienced so much success is due to their partnerships with large name companies like Ford, Geico RV, and most recently – Subaru.
Chimani is in the process of launching a cloud-based in car app with Subaru that will be featured in their Starling multimedia system (see picture below featured on funding platform website), allowing visitors to use Chimani as their guide as they drive through the parks.
Chimani is also pursuing promotional partnerships with the National Parks Conservation Association, Friends of Acadia, and many more helping further cement themselves as a household name in the industry.
3. Subscription Plan: While Chimani offers a free subscription service, their $29 annual plan or $99 lifetime plan (see picture below featured on funding platform website) allows visitors even more perks.
With their premium model, users can unlock 64 detailed guides for the most visited parks, gain offline map functionality, and even collect virtual badges within parks as an added incentive to visit and explore more.
In addition to this, their partnerships with parks amounts to over $2,500 in park related discounts through use of the app.
4. Opportunity for Further Growth:Chimani already plans on furthering their offerings to more parks both within the U.S. and abroad, but there is yet another way for this company to grow and differentiate.
By implementing a social aspect to their app and helping remind visitors to be conscious of wildlife, Chimani can establish themselves as the guide for both getting around the parks and behavior within them.
Many parks have already expressed concerns with regard to the increase in visitors and how their systems are not adequately equipped to deal with this influx, leading to displacement of wildlife and trampled vegetation.
Chimani is already seeking out partnerships with organizations like the National Parks Conservation Association, proving their interest and commitment to supporting the parks. This would be a natural route for the company to take and would help put them one step ahead of competition.
Kerry Gallivan is the Founder and CEO of Chimani, with over 20 years in technology product development and team management – the perfect leader for an organization like this. He has a clear passion for new ideas and has extensive experience when it comes to education and start-ups.
His experience in higher education, technology systems, and NGOs makes him someone with a variety of different skills. What Gallivan does lack in entrepreneurship experience, he make up for in sheer passion and belief in Chimani.
Through many peaks and valleys to date, Kerry has stayed committed to the business and finding a way to create value for the national parks through Chimani.
His Board Director and Head of Software Development, Vinko Buble, is an experienced engineer manager and an expert in cloud services operations having successfully built and scaled software development, operations, and infrastructure.
Gallivan and Buble are supported by a team that is passionate and educated about America’s National Parks, offering advice on how to properly tailor services within the app and give users the best possible experience.
From park superintendents to Silicon Valley experts, the variety in Chimani’s team makes them well equipped to properly meet the demand in the National park guide industry.
Deal To Watch
Chimani is a Deal To Watch. With their unique offering, extensive information and details when it comes to resources and trails within the parks, and passionate, experienced team – there is no doubt that Chimani is the ideal app on the market when it comes to finding the perfect guide for National Parks.
The company shows much potential for growth and diversification, with an incredibly large user base that simply continue to grow. Chimani can definitely provide a seamless experience that unifies national parks around the U.S., and hopefully soon the world, to drive a community of passionate supporters and advocates for wildlife and adventure.
On the side of investment concerns, we should note that when dealing with a market such as national parks there is limited upside and exit opportunities. Additionally, this team has been building Chimani for several years and has had many pitfalls along the way, including more than one pivot and even layoffs.
While resilient absolutely, there is always a concern that the recent traction the team has found doesn’t have deeper legs and teeters out before it really gets going. We are optimistic that the traction they have found has come from several years of tinkering and listening to the customer. In many ways, we could see this being another MySwimPro, which takes off after 4 or 5 years of slow movement, but only time will tell.
Without this question clearly answered, we think this is a Deal To Watch. For investors who are interested, this could be an intriguing entry point to INVEST!