Celebrating 10 Years of onX Hunt

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On the occasion of onX’s 10th anniversary in 2019, we sat down with company Founder Eric Siegfried. A lot has happened since, and this post has been updated to reflect some of the changes.

We’ve come a long way from a small team working away in a Missoula, Montana, office. Now we have offices in both Missoula and Bozeman, craft products for hunters both East and West, and have added two more products: onX Offroad and onX Backcountry. But much of the original team is still here, and we’re staying true to our roots. It’s not uncommon for people to sneak into work after a morning’s hunt, or for us to cut out a little early and go enjoy a bit of fresh powder. We’re in the business of enabling outdoor adventures, and we can’t wait to see what the next decade brings.

onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried hunting from a tree stand.
onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried hunting from a tree stand.

The onX Story

Driving west in Montana is an adventure of changing landscapes. The scenery shifts from vast amber plains of sagebrush into thick forests and mountains. Rivers weave through valleys, and elk and deer feed in hay fields.

Hunting western Montana entails hiking steep hills, glassing for antlers through trees, and navigating public and private land: this was the unfamiliar world onX Founder Eric Siegfried found himself in. He thrived in the eastern sagebrush, but learning this landscape was a new challenge.

Siegfried rose to the challenge by loading public land data onto his GPS. He recognized the importance of accurate location data for explorers and hunters alike. The invention of the onX Chip in 2009 was the reward of both his determination and passion for helping others enjoy the outdoors, and propelled onX as the first land data company of its kind.

In 2013, his fledgling company advanced even further with the advent of the Hunt App, which took the outdoor tech industry to new levels by providing everyone comprehensive maps, for hunters around the country.

Ten Questions With onX Founder Eric Siegfried

1. We’ve outlined the founding story above. Was there a particular moment when you remember thinking, “Hey, this is pretty cool. This business is going to work?”

I don’t recall a specific moment, but I remember being really excited even before launching our first products, which would have been some time in the summer of 2009. I had finally figured out how to get the data onto a microSD card and was really enjoying the Montana product while testing on a scouting trip. I remember thinking that the plug-and-play simplicity was key to the product being a success at retail, and for most customers in the field (before, I had only had a download version that was harder to use).

I also remember some time around September of 2009, where I showed the product to a buyer at Scheels Sporting Goods in Billings, Montana. I could see the excitement in his face! He knew the pain this would solve for outdoor enthusiasts, and he was confident he could sell a lot of product.

onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried paining an "X" on the company's Missoula, Montana, building.
onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried paining an “X” on the company’s Missoula, Montana, building.

2. What’s your favorite part of your job? What excites you the most?

I remember the first pictures and stories started coming in with excited customers telling me how they had used the product to have a great experience in the outdoors. This was exhilarating and provided a boost to power through the long hours required to expand quickly to other states.

3. What do you believe are the greatest strengths of onX as a whole?

The greatest strength of our company is our fantastic team united behind our common passion for helping our customers have a safe, easy, and enjoyable experience in the outdoors. Our team understands the challenges our customers face while trying to discover a new place to recreate or while navigating the outdoors. We know how important it is to have the most current, accurate, and comprehensive data, and being driven to the brink of perfection benefits our customers.

Changing the way you hunt. Try the Hunt App for free.

4. onX is building out a great team. What strengths or traits do you look for when bringing someone on board?

Our team is full of really creative and talented individuals who are solution-oriented and exhibit some good old-fashioned Montana-made grit. They know how to execute and take a seemingly impossible goal through to completion. Our team is curious and they have an experimental mindset. They also exhibit a willingness to step outside of the norm and take risks, which translates into disruptive innovation.

5. Do you recall any big landmarks in the last 10 years? What are some of the memorable moments?

There are so many milestones and landmarks it would be hard to count. The most memorable ones would be these four:

  • Getting into Cabela’s.
  • The moment our team overcame the stress of early 2013 when we launched our remodeled office building the same day we launched the first version of onX Hunt on iOS.
  • The day our team completed our first version of all 50 states in January 2015.
  • The day our team launched onX Version 4 after a complete rebuild of our app and our brand in 2017.
onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried packing out an elk while hunting in the mountains.
onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried packing out an elk while hunting in the mountains.

6. onX now has two products: onX Hunt and onX Offroad (onX Backcountry was added in late 2020). What’s next in the evolution of the business?

There is a huge opportunity to inspire people to get outside by organizing outdoor recreation information. The evolution of onX is going to be exciting!

7. How do onX’s access and landlocked project efforts factor into the company’s overarching mission of helping people have the best outdoor experiences possible?

We see a need for a lot more outdoor recreation opportunities for everyone as more and more people look to the outdoors to stay healthy and fit. Without these great places, there would be far fewer memories being made. So we have set out to help ensure that access to places that people already enjoy is secured in perpetuity, as well as support the creation of new places for all to enjoy.

8. What advice would you give to young hunters or outdoor enthusiasts wanting to build their skills in the outdoors?

I would encourage anybody of any age interested in exploring a new outdoor activity to just get out there and try it ASAP. If you have questions, ask somebody. Do online research to learn more about the activity, or go to your local shop that supports that activity and ask questions. Get out there!

onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried stands on the roof of the company's Missoula, Montana, office.
onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried stands on the roof of the company’s Missoula, Montana, office.

9. Where do you wish to see onX in a decade?

In another decade, I’d love to see onX inspiring tens of millions of people across the world to get outside and explore. I want to see search and rescue operations for people who get lost reduced to zero. I want to see the world’s outdoor recreation information organized in one platform. And I want to see onX create a simplified form of navigation.

10. Describe onX in one word.

One word! How about two? “Discover outdoors.”

onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried bowhunting and using the onX Hunt GPS App on his phone.
onX Hunt Founder Eric Siegfried bowhunting and using the onX Hunt App on his phone.

12 Years of onX Hunt

We also took a bit of time to look back at major onX changes over the past decade-plus. Curious how we’ve evolved? Take a look.

Jess McGlothlin

Before coming to onX, Jess McGlothlin worked as a freelance photographer and writer in the fly-fishing and outdoor industries. While on assignment in the past few years she’s learned how to throw spears at coconuts in French Polynesia, dodge saltwater crocodiles in Cuba, stand-up paddleboard down Peruvian Amazon tributaries, and eat all manner of unidentifiable food.