A group of LSU students and alumni competed in the Rice University Business Plan Competition, one of the largest student startup competitions in the world, and received more than $200,000 in funding for their business, Mallard Bay.
Mallard Bay, a website designed to book hunting and fishing trips, competed at the competition for three days against other collegiate entrepreneurs and won $141,500 in cash investments, $75,000 in in-kind services and $500 for best consumer elevator pitch.
“The competition was surreal, and I can truly say it was one of the most impactful weekends of my life,” said Joel Moreau an LSU graduate and co=founder of Mallard Bay. “It was amazing to be able to compete alongside so many innovative ideas and companies from across the world.”
The funding amount was the fourth highest out of all competing companies. Moreau said the competition presented several new opportunities for them to pitch in front of networks across the southeast.
Moreau said that most of the funding will go toward the development of the platform and the launch of their mobile app this summer.
Moreau said that Mallard Bay pitched to several flights of investors and received feedback from judges. They spent time going over their presentation and making new connections at the networking sessions.
Moreau said the competition helped strengthen the business’ confidence.
“I would absolutely recommend the Rice Business Plan Competition to any LSU students with an innovative idea or company,” Moreau said. “The mentorship, introductions, and feedback provided were truly invaluable and have given us a lot of confidence and clarity in our business.”
Mallard Bay is a booking website that allows sporting individuals to find charters and outfitters across the United States to fish, hunt and go on adventures. The website finds areas within each state and sends prices to booking customers for each outdoor hunting location.
Moreau said the business was inspired by LSU graduate Logan Meaux, who had a difficult experience booking a hunting trip.
“Mallard Bay was born out of Logan Meaux's own experience booking a waterfowl hunting trip to celebrate his father's birthday,” Moreau said. “That turned out to be a rotten trip and huge waste of money due to a lack of communication and connection with the outfitter.”
Meaux said he found that spending money on flights and hotel rooms could result in an overall disappointing experience and realized there was a problem in the process of booking guided trips and wanted to fix it.
“I knew after that experience that I wanted to create a company that related to my hobby, that I knew and loved,” Meaux said.
Meaux partnered up with other LSU students, including Moreau and sports commerce senior Wyatt Mallett, to create the company. They then put together a team of business and computer science students and alumni to help with development.
Moreau said that Mallard Bay also creates back-office tools that make it easier for hunting services to manage their customers’ dates and accept payments in an organized place. He and other partners within Mallard Bay are looking to streamline the process of finding and vetting a guide service.
Mallard Bay launched its website in November and now has offices at LSU Innovation Park.
Meaux’s father, Chris, is the founder of the online food delivery platform Waitr.
Logan Meaux and Mallett grew up together and were Waitr delivery drivers as teenagers. They both have used their previous experience and friendship to develop Mallard Bay.
Mallett is now the director of business at Mallard Bay and enjoys the connections he’s made from the experience.
“I would have to say my favorite part about being a part of Mallard Bay is the relationships I have made as well as the memories,” Mallet said. “The hunting and fishing industry is very relationship-oriented and we've made a lot of connections and friends.”