March 24, 2017

Day one of our drive from Bramble HQ in San Francisco, California to Colorado landed us in a coffee shop for seven hours. Caught on the wrong side of the I-80 road closure, we did what most people would do in our situation — we stopped to play in over two feet of fresh snow. This was either a parting gift from the Sierra, or an effort to dig her claws even deeper.

Tahoe pow

(Tahoe Backcountry. Photo: Ken Voeller)

We headed east to join the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), a business growth program based in the heart of the San Juan mountains in Telluride, Colorado. TVA is not a conventional accelerator that pushes for unsustainable growth and hunts for unicorns. A program of the Telluride Foundation, every investment TVA makes is an investment in the future of the community. Any return realized from their investments directly funds the program for future years, fueling local economic development by bringing more businesses to the region.

Telluride, CO. Photo: Kyle Kesterson

(Telluride at night. Photo: Kyle Kesterson)

In their words, TVA is designed to:

...support entrepreneurs solving meaningful problems in the world across many industries by leveraging our truly world class mentor network, providing access to curriculum and topic specific experts, and of course helping with capital resources.

This ethos aligns with what we’re building, and we are psyched to share with all of you that we have welcomed TVA as the first outside investor in Bramble.

TVA is all about making sh*t happen.

Since our inception, we have favored organic growth and community development, and have aspired to build an organization that doesn’t fuel the fire of capitalism just to see it burn, but that adds meaningful value to both the world of outdoor recreation and the conservation movement. Our origins can be traced back to skin-track banter on Red Mountain pass, and bar stool brainstorms at the Rum Bar. At the core of our brand is the maxim “Products Rooted in Place” — if our success is to fuel any region, it feels fitting that it’s here in the southwest corner of Colorado.

One week into the program we’re confident we made the right decision. We have learned from world-class entrepreneurs, been connected to invaluable mentors and spent hours in mind-opening workshops that have already had an impact on the foundations of our business. We also spent a night at High Camp Hut, built a backcountry booter and skied under the full moon. The skiing is good (er... and sledding), and we're happy to report that the library is worth the hype.

Sled ramp at High Camp Hut. TVA Day One.

(Sled play at High Camp Hut. Lizard Head Pass, Colorado. Photo: Marc Nager)

There are seven other companies in our cohort, ranging from a #vanlife startup creating hotels on wheels, to a subscription box for DIY electronics kits. We are the only outdoor product brand, though we follow the legacy of Western Rise and The Dyrt, both of whom went through the program in past years. Western Rise still call Telluride home.

There’s a lot on the horizon for Bramble, including a few new products we’re eager to show you all, and the much anticipated return of an old gem (Last Tote v.2, anyone?). If you aren’t yet signed up to receive email updates, you can join the list here: Sign Up.

Bramble On, friends.