TroutRoutes Acquired by onX

onX, a pioneer in outdoor digital navigation, today announces its acquisition of Minneapolis-based TroutRoutes, the industry’s leading mapping resource for fly fishing enthusiasts. TroutRoutes is part of Wayzata-based Traction Capital’s portfolio of companies. By bringing TroutRoutes into its portfolio, onX gains momentum as it enters a new market this spring with the upcoming launch of its newest app, onX Fish. Together, TroutRoutes and onX Fish will address the needs of 45.8M freshwater anglers across the United States.

Founded in 2009, onX develops mapping solutions that inform, inspire, and empower millions of outdoor recreationists. onX Hunt, onX Offroad, and onX Backcountry make up the company’s suite of apps and are built by explorers for explorers. This spring, the company will release onX Fish, a navigation and discovery tool for lake anglers. TroutRoutes, a solution built for river and stream anglers, will complement this offering.

“onX is home to nearly 400 employees who hunt, off-road, bike, hike, ski, climb, and fish. We develop products to solve the hardest challenges we face when we’re out getting after it,” said onX General Manager, Hunt and Fish, Cliff Cancelosi. “Zach Pope, founder of TroutRoutes, built the industry’s leading fly fishing app to solve problems for trout anglers looking for places to fish. His love for chasing trout, focus on stewardship, and commitment to solving real customer problems are the same principles that drive us at onX as well. We are excited to welcome the TroutRoutes team into the onX family and invest in their continued growth.”

“There’s a lot of synergy and shared values between the two companies,” said TroutRoutes founder and CEO Zach Pope. “For the past five years, TroutRoutes has been focused on meeting trout anglers’ needs by consolidating stream and river access information and developing toolsets to help anglers find and explore trout streams across the U.S. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. Coupled with onX’s extensive experience in outdoor navigation technology, TroutRoutes will innovate faster and solve more customer needs than we ever could on our own. We’re embarking on an exciting new chapter at TroutRoutes.”

As the fishing season kicks off across the U.S. this spring, TroutRoute customers can expect the company to continue updating its offering and toolset. onX Fish will launch on iOS and on the web exclusively in Minnesota this spring, with plans to expand across the Midwest later this year.

By Ellie Pigott

Investing in a Venture Capital fund can be a great way for investors to diversify wealth beyond traditional means like stocks and bonds. However, many shy away from this potentially lucrative avenue because of uncertainties and common VC misconceptions surrounding returns, success rates, involvement and theses among funds. In this blog we’ll help explore and debunk many misconceptions faced by investors considering venture capital.  

1. Misconception: All VC Funds Are the Same 

When many investors think of VCs, they picture traditional Silicon Valley funds investing hundreds of millions into prospective unicorns. While these funds do exist, they are only one piece of the larger VC pie. VCs come in all shapes and sizes, and their theses can vary dramatically. Examples of thesis niches include geography, industry, investment size, and company stage. It is important to consider your personal interests, values, specific areas of economic impact, and level of desired involvement before selecting a VC whose investment thesis aligns with yours.  

2. Misconception: Investor’s Returns are Quick and Guaranteed  

Because of startups’ rapid growth, some investors may approach venture investing expecting an equally rapid return. Although the goal of a venture fund is to achieve significant and fast growth with the companies it invests in, this process still takes time. The average lifetime of a venture fund is around 10 years, which includes the time it takes to make all of the fund’s investments and exit from them (either by acquisition, IPO or liquidity). Fund managers may seek extensions if they anticipate needing to manage some of the investments longer.  

Some investors may also expect “guaranteed results” from VC in the same way they would expect certain results from other investments like treasury bonds. It is important to note that VC investments are inherently risky. The lack of a proven track record, uncertainty in market demand, and the potential for unforeseen challenges all contribute to the high level of risk. Despite this inherent risk, many VCs mitigate by having a lengthy and comprehensive due diligence process where they weigh the potential challenges and opportunities.  

3. Misconception: Most Portfolio Companies Will Succeed 

With such high return rates, it’s not uncommon to think that the majority of investments would be successful, but in most cases, this is the opposite. Every VC is different, so it’s important to seek information on your fund’s thesis, but generally, most VCs expect that for every 10 companies they invest in, 9 will fail. Traditional VCs rely on only a few successful exits to drive overall fund returns. However, some nontraditional and non-coastal VCs (like Traction Capital), rely on a different model. These nontraditional funds tend to bet that a higher number of their portfolio companies will succeed but at a more realistic level ($50M exits instead of billion-dollar exits).  

4. Misconception: Investors have limited Involvement in Portfolio Companies 

Just as all funds are different, the same is true for investors. Some VC investors seek a high level of involvement with the companies they help invest in, while others prefer to remain only as financial support. It is not typical for a VC fund to manage portfolio companies directly, but their involvement, advice, and network can be crucial for the success of startups. Active engagement and support from investors can contribute significantly to the growth of portfolio companies, especially when the investor can provide specific industry experience. Before investing in a fund, inquire about their level of involvement and determine if there are ways you can add value.  


Mastering the VC Landscape 

To navigate the world of venture capital successfully, it’s important for investors to be informed and understand the nuances of different funds, embrace the inherent risks, and recognize the potential for meaningful involvement and long-term returns. By addressing these misconceptions, investors can make informed decisions that align with their financial goals and risk tolerance in the dynamic landscape of venture capital.  

If you’re interested in taking the next step in learning more about investment opportunities in venture capital or have questions, reach out to us at