The three-day annual conference, taking place at the UIC Forum on 725 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago, is billed as the Midwest’s largest deal conference. More than 140 startups or early-stage companies will show off their products, services or ideas to angel investors, venture capitalists, private equity firms and crowdfunders.
FishWithMe.net was started in Rockford in 2014 by Rock Valley College business professor and avid fisherman Stacy McCaskill. It’s the only web-based network that helps everyday anglers find fishing buddies to share always rising costs and to learn and share tips and techniques.
FishWithMe.net took second place in the 2014 NIU EIGERlab FastPitch competition – the 2016 Fastpitch Competition takes place this Wednesday – and worked with Rockford’s Thinker Ventures to refine its business model, create the website and expand its marketing. At the FUND Conference, McCaskill and her team will be introducing FishWithMe.net to a large network of Chicago-based investment firms as well as investors from Dallas to Silicon Valley.
The eventual goal of FishWithMe.net is essentially to become the Match.com of the recreational fishing industry. More than 60 million people fish at least once a year, according to the American Sportfishing Association, only running and biking have more participants. Those fishermen spend nearly $50 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses.