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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Alumnus launches Trailvoyant, a hiking app with over 1,600 miles of Arizona trails

Courtesy Geoffrey Schultz
Geoffrey Schultz, founder of the web app Trailvoyant, stands in front of hiking trails in Phoenix, Arizona. Trailvoyant maps out over 1,600 miles of hiking trails in Arizona for users.

UA alumnus Geoffrey Schultz launched a web app called Trailvoyant, which allows users to locate over 1,600 miles of hiking trials located in Arizona.

Schultz graduated from the Eller College of Management with degrees in marketing and entrepreneurship and was accepted into the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship Program during his time at UA.

Schultz said Trailvoyant, his second startup venture, combines his passion for both hiking and technology and his experience in the McGuire program was “eye-opening, challenging and helpful.”

Dan Janes is a mentor in residence for the McGuire program and helps advise startups for the center and Tech Launch Arizona.

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“The goal is that we give students a practical experience to be able to apply all the different things that they’ve learned throughout their academic career into creating a new venture,” Janes said. “They’ll be able to differentiate themselves in the corporate hiring world by understanding how to apply innovation to traditional business principles.”

The first venture Schultz worked on during his time in the McGuire program was called Deja Dining, which he described as a “Yelp for original, local restaurants.” Schultz said the venture was closed after about a year due to a number of unfortunate circumstances.

Schultz is hopeful about Trailvoyant, and said his goal is to add a new mountain range’s trails to the app every month. By the winter of 2017, he wants to be mapping hiking trails in Phoenix. Schultz and his partner are also working on creating a Trailvoyant mobile app.

After Deja Dining closed, Schultz got a job as a hiking guide at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, where he realized a lot of the resources online and available to people who wanted to hike in the area were either inaccurate or incomplete.

Schultz said this observed problem and a Finger Rock hiking trip gone awry with some friends initially sparked the idea for Trailvoyant. On this ill-fated trip, Schultz and his friends realized the trail they had found online went no where near the actual finger-shaped rock formation, taking them far off the grid without any water left and resulted in them having to be helicoptered off the mountain.

“I realized that when I was looking at the directions and maps online, a lot of them—even the National Forest Service maps—are not accurate based on what’s out there,” Schultz said. “They only show some of the data. They might show a line that is the trail, but they don’t show all of the unofficial trails that go off from it.”

Schultz said while in the process of building this app, he spoke with many hikers about their experiences and what resources they used for their trips so he could be sure he was building a tool people would actually use. He and his partner have completed the trails mapped on the app themselves, ensuring they are safe and actually present on the mountains.

“The other thing I really took away from the program was how important an interpersonal connection was and relationships are in business,” Schultz said. “Honestly, you could probably learn to write a business plan from a good textbook or an online course, but people that I got to know in the program have contributed a lot to my success.”

RELATED: More than just views: Here’s what to expect when trekking on the trails of Tucson

Schultz said he would tell students currently in the McGuire program to “value and respect the relationships you’re building, both with the faculty and mentors and with the other students.”

Users on the Trailvoyant app can find hikes and narrow searches based on difficulty level, trail features such as if there are caves or ruins on it, water features like streams or waterfalls and if the trail is dog-friendly or not. There’s even a “Surprise Me!” option for the more spontaneous hiker and an option to build your own hike if the app is upgraded for $5 a month with a free 14-day trial period.

“My goal in all of this is to encourage people to enjoy, respect and cherish the wilderness,” Schultz said. “There’s a ton of amazing things out there, and it makes me sad when I go out and I see garbage laying around in a fire ring or things like that. I want to motivate people to care about natural places, and I’m trying to do that through creating meaningful, personal connections with these places.”

Follow Jessica Suriano on Twitter.

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