Women’s outdoor recreation promoter lands $750K to fund expansion

Bold Betties organizes groups of women for outdoor activities like Mountain Biking. (Courtesy Niki Koubourlis)

Niki Koubourlis just stuffed $750,000 of fresh investment into her rucksack.

Koubourlis, who started Bold Betties as a company to promote outdoor adventures for women, plans to use the fresh provisions to push into new territory.

“The three things we’re using the money on are marketing, technology and people,” she said. “By the end of 2018, our plan is to be in 120 cities.”

Bold Betties is currently in 31 cities.

The firm organizes meetups for women to climb, mountain bike, hike, fly fish and do other outdoor activities. It doesn’t plan and outfit the majority of its own trips: Bold Betties promotes existing operators and outfitters, and then takes a cut of the sale, similar to how Kayak takes a cut of flights or car rentals.

Koubourlis said the firm makes 80 percent of revenue from these excursions, for which it charges the same price as other guiding companies. She negotiates discounts with outfitters, and Bold Betties pockets the difference, which ranges from 15 to 40 percent, she said.

The company will charge $150 to raft the Squamish River in British Columbia on July 22. (Courtesy Niki Koubourlis)

The rest of Bold Betties’ revenue comes from merchandise, including Patagonia clothing and Osprey packs.

“People are placing more value on experience than stuff,” Koubourlis said. “We weren’t monetizing those. We were using them as creating awareness … there was much more demand on the experiences we were creating.”

For $250, women can take a guided hike through Long’s Peak Keyhole in Rocky Mountain National Park Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, or raft the Squamish River in British Columbia on July 22 for $150.

Bold Betties has multiplied quickly, from five cities this time last year to 31. With chapters in 13 states, Koubourlis said, it has led more than 8,000 women on 863 outings.

“There is no one who does exactly what we do,” she said. “We’re not guides ourselves – we partner with our guides … women know we’re a gateway to this kind of stuff.”

Bold Betties works out of an 1,100-square-foot office at 331 14th St. and has four employees, but Koubourlis said she plans to hire a fifth.

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