Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Senior pursues passion

Oct. 15, 2014

By Rumasa Noor

A love for hunting can cross generations – all it takes is an enjoyment of the outdoors. For UW-Whitewater senior Derric Francis, hunting is not just an activity – it’s a passion. This passion for hunting led him to the idea of forming a business to help hunters lease hunting lands for a short period of time.

“For me, hunting has always been a stress reliever, if I ever get overwhelmed,” Francis said. “For me, it’s a safe haven. I know I can go out into the woods and just take a nap or go into the street and can just clear my mind.”

Francis recently won first place in the Elevator Pitch Contest, organized by UW-W’s Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization (CEO), where he presented his business idea, Hunt Butler.

What is it?

Hunt Butler is the “Airbnb” for hunting land, according to Francis. Airbnb is a community marketplace website for people to list, discover and book accommodations around the world.

The main idea of Hunt Butler is to give hunters the opportunity to lease a hunting land for a day or a whole week.

Hunting industry largely works with macro leases, which means hunters have to lease the land for a whole year, which is expensive for those who only want to hunt for a few days, Francis said.

“We are really trying to make a niche, allowing ourselves to connect with actual landowners and the hunters to actually go in and only pay for the days they want to hunt; so that’s our main idea,” Francis said. “We are really trying to institute micro leases for  hunting lands.”

Main objectives

Francis said one of his main goals with the company is to break the “barrier” for hunters and allow them to find a hunting land.

“Right now, hunting is becoming more and more expensive,” Francis said. “So if we can do everything – to actually take that load off – so you don’t have to actually rent land for a full year or purchase land yourself,” Francis said.

His father has been incredibly influential in driving him toward outdoor activities. Francis wants to give back to his dad by doing the same thing and getting other people interested in the outdoors as well.

“We would really like this to be global where we are the hub for anyone that wants to kind of go hunting or find any type of outdoor recreational activity with hunting as their main focus,” Francis said.

Francis has a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Ramone Rezaei in Sweden. He also recently added another employee who is working on the network security for his company’s website to make sure it doesn’t get hacked.

The novice entrepreneur said he wants to provide a secure system where users can just click and find hunting places around the globe. He wants to engage as many hunters as possible.

Major Challenges

Hunt Butler has a unique business model since there isn’t a company that offers microleases as of yet. Its uniqueness gives Francis an edge, as he doesn’t have to deal with competitors with similar business models, but it also brings him some challenges.

One of them is getting the insurance coverage. Insurance companies are reluctant in providing insurance to his company; most of them say they haven’t done anything like this before which is why they need to look deeper into it before deciding to provide coverage to his company.

Francis says he hopes the industry doesn’t become too competitive when he establishes his business.

“You can ask any entrepreneur: When you are starting, you have no idea if it’s going to work,” Francis said.

He said his idea is still “a bit fuzzy and translucent,” but everyone he has talked to told him he is moving in the right direction.

How did the contest help? 

Francis is double majoring in accounting and finance. He said succeeding in the competition ensured him that his idea is valid, and that he is on the right track.

“Winning the competition really helps you, it just gives credibility to your idea,” Francis said. “I think the biggest thing is that validation, that you should continue on with it,”

He said he also talked to the judges after the competition and received insightful tips and feedback, which he wouldn’t otherwise get in the classroom.

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Founded 1901
Senior pursues passion