Mike St. Pierre followed his bliss onto commercial fishing boats in Maine, on tour as a sound technician with the Eagles, into the kitchen with celebrity chefs such as Thomas Keller at Per Se in New York City and Michele Richard in Washington D.C., onto the Appalachian Trail – no, really, he was not in Argentina – into the Adirondacks and Cascades, ice climbing in the White and Rocky mountains, onto wild rivers pack rafting – and now across the finish line in Telluride, where the company Mike founded in 2009, Hyperlite Mountain Gear (www.hyperlitemountaingear.com), is one of four winners of the Telluride Foundations’ Telluride Venture Accelerator inaugural initiative.
Founder/CEO Jesse Johnson and the Telluride Foundation’s CEO Paul Major established TVA to further innovation and entrepreneurship for young, high-growth business ventures nationwide, laser-focusing on industry sectors which correspond to preoccupations of the Telluride region: outdoor recreation, tourism, natural products, health, energy, water and education.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear, is based in an old turn-of-the-century textile mill in Biddeford, Maine, a region of America with a rich textile manufacturing tradition. There Mike and his team design, manufacture and sell ultra-light packs, tents and accessories using a high tech, non-woven laminate, Cuben fiber, originally developed for the high performance sailing industry.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear currently offers a line of almost 20 ultralight backpacks, several ultralight shelter systems and tarps, various ultralight accessories, including stuff sacks and trail totes, and plans to launch additional products in 2013.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s products are in use in the outdoors on all seven continents, including Antarctica, and have received accolades and product endorsements from leading outdoor industry pundits, including Outside Magazine, Climbing Magazine, Trailrunner Magazine, Backpacker, and Petersen’s Hunting Magazine.
As a winner of Telluride Venture Accelerator, Mike will reside in Telluride for six months (through July), where he will have access to two successful entrepreneurs-in-residence, a myriad of resources made available through the TVA and Telluride’s robust angel investment community.
In exchange for its efforts, Telluride Venture Accelerator has taken an equity stake in Hyperlite Mountain Gear and each of the other new ventures. If these businesses become successful, those equity stakes will grow in value, potentially allowing TVA to create a fund with which to expand the program in the future.
Underlying Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s approach to design and materials is Mike’s core belief that outdoor enthusiasts, whether hiking, climbing, paddling or biking should carry only weight that serves a functional and necessary purpose. (Humm, could be a tag line for Weight Watchers.)
To learn more about Mike St. Pierre and Hyperlite Mountain Gear, click the “play” button and listen to our chat.