Fish ‘smarter’ not harder

Cyberfishing has set the angling /tech market alight with its intelligent device and app. TTW met business development director Vitaly Pchelnikov to learn about the latest firm investing in the tackle industry.

TTW – First of all Vitaly, how was the company founded?

Vitaly Pchelnikov – You never know when the best time to start a new company is, however, prior to where I am now, I was in charge of business development for some Eastern European countries with Pure Fishing when my division was cut. I was about to graduate from Executive MBA Chicago Booth, so I was looking at what to do next. My classmates at Chicago Booth and I tested the idea of combining modern technology with traditional fishing, which in actual fact turned out to be great proposition. The product itself is a physical device and provides huge potential in data analytics. The angling market is niche but huge, however the competition is relatively small. Importantly, we were able to gather a team with tremendous expertise to make the project successful so, during our last months at business school, we created chances to test our theory with other classmates and professors. After graduation we started to implement the project. It took us around a year and a half to go from idea to product. Finally Cyberfishing Inc was founded at the end of 2018.

TTW – What growth have you seen in this relatively short amount of time?

VP– We launched our products in January 2019 at the Consumer Electronic Show – CES 2019 – in Las Vegas, where we achieved great success and won the Innovation Award. A month later we attended China Fish, where we were fortunate enough to win another award – The Best New Products in Electronics category. We also attended a number of consumer shows to gain feedback from actual anglers. We spoke with fishermen and asked their thoughts about the new product and what they would come to expect from it. We had to test price and margin and sales and marketing channels, where we eventually came to the conclusion that this product was needed by anglers. Following this feedback, we now know how to make our software even better and, more importantly, we now have the confidence that we are on right path.  In June we attended EFTTEX and were triumphant here, winning two awards: The Best New Electronic Product and The Innovation of The Year!

TTW – What is the main product?

VP – The product is in two parts – the hardware device and the app. The Smart Rod Sensor is a very small and lightweight device that weighs just nine grams. This attaches easily to any fishing rod by two rubber rings. The sensor recognises your casts and saves the location of your cast. While the angler is fishing, all casts are saved and, as fish are caught, a simple press of a button on the hardware unit saves the information. Not only is the location of your catch saved but also all weather conditions such as wind, temperature and air pressure. At the end of the fishing day anglers will have all the fishing spots on the map and data to include what was caught and so on. This information can be shared with fellow anglers or simply kept private for future reference. As Cyberfishing is just at the beginning of analysing data, however, very soon this data will translate into creating a bigger picture, which will supply anglers with precise information of when and where to go fishing. This technology will put you in front of fish, however it is still down to the angler’s ability to catch them.

TTW – Who are the people behind the company pushing it forward?

VP – We have gathered a team which covers all the main business aspects to make the company a success. There are five people in the team – each of them has strong knowledge in their respective field and extended experience. We are old friends who have been fishing and working together for a long time. One team member covers sourcing and logistics and has vast experience working with Asian suppliers. Cyberfishing’s marketing comes from a fishing journalist, who knows industry leaders personally and has a tremendous network of writing colleagues. We are very proud of our chief technology officer (CTO), whose previous successful expertise was implemented in developing and an application for one the biggest banks in his country. His experience gives us confidence that our software will have a similar level of stability. The product is an electronic one and we cannot survive without an e-commerce professional where our sensor is logical to sale. And from my side, I have business development [experience] from former Pure Fishing position and general management from my Chicago Booth School of Business MBA degree and previous management of Extreme Fishing Ltd.

TTW – Where are your currently distributing to and who are your target markets?

VP – We currently sell directly in the USA and have several exclusive and non-exclusive distribution agreements in Europe and Asia. To sell our sensor, it’s not just a case of buying and reselling. As a company we need to translate our app and user manual into local language and adjust our application to the needs of local anglers. We also need to pass regulation and certification for each country where we are going to work with our partner. So far we are well prepared for expansion and have already passed more than 10 certifications for main markets.

TTW – What does the future hold for Cyberfishing?

VP – Today Cyberfishing is an extremely fast-growing company and I firmly believe we are the fastest growing company in fishing industry. However, we want to grow even faster, we are capable to do so and we have ambition to win the market. We are open for investments now and we want to be a leader in all main markets. Our app has been translated into 12 languages so far and we have made huge progress since January.

So if you would like to be a part of this amazing and ambitious team we invite you to get in touch. However, we want to grow even faster, we are capable to do so and we have ambition to win the market.”

Author: John Hunter

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