Hiiker reaches milestone with €500,000 investment

14 Jul 2022

CEO and co-founder Paul Finlay. Image: Hiiker

The Irish hiking tech start-up is blazing a trail for the US as it maps out its growth plans for the coming year.

Former SiliconRepublic.com Start-up of the Week Hiiker has secured €500,000 in investment from Fuel Ventures, Enterprise Ireland and several private investors.

Co-founder and CEO Paul Finlay said the funding round marks “an important milestone on a journey that is just starting”.

Founded in 2020 by a team of hikers-cum-hackers, Hiiker has developed an app to make it easier to plan hikes. A free version of the app gives access to routes and basic features, while once-off payments and subscriptions can unlock premium features.

Self-taught developer Finlay set up Hiiker with friends Eoin Hamilton, who directs the company’s media and marketing, and Pete Britton, who leads on design. CTO Mark Finlay joined the trio later.

The Irish start-up was selected for the first ever NDRC accelerator hosted by Dogpatch Labs in 2021, receiving €100,000 in pre-seed investment. Finlay was thankful to Dogpatch Labs founder Patrick Walsh and head of platform Menno Axt, “without whose long chats, guidance and belief we would not be at this milestone”.

Hiiker started out focused on long-distance hiking trails, providing information on routes, accommodation, weather and more. Earlier this summer, it launched a next-gen product for more casual hikers, paving the way for further growth.

As of this month, Hiiker has reached more than 380,000 users. “We have also seen over 200pc growth in clicks for the summer months this year versus 2021,” said CMO Hamilton. “This is exciting to see as we enter the busiest period of the year for hiking.”

Hiiker also enables users to donate to trail organisations via the app, a feature that has been welcomed by Galeo Saintz, founding chair of the World Trails Network. “This is a wonderful step forward in integrating trail technology with fundraising and trail organisations,” said Saintz. “Now the many organisations behind trail care and maintenance have a more direct source of funding from trail users.”

CEO Finlay said Hiiker is now in “hyper-growth mode” and that a Series A is “coming soon”. This next-level investment is expected to close in late 2023, early 2024.

The focus now is on growth and preparing for a US launch in 2023. The Hiiker team will be expanding with more engineering and production staff.

“This is an emotional time,” said Finlay. “If I had thought a few years back that I could be building a company that helps get people hiking with some of my best friends, I would have never believed it.”

Alexander Breeden of Fuel Ventures said, “You can tell this app has been built by hikers for hikers and the team’s passion and enthusiasm is in abundance.

“Their traction in terms of users and revenue to date with no marketing spend has been exceptionally strong and we look forward to their expansion with this round.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.