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Chattanooga based Roots Rated started small and is growing fast

Roots Rated Co-founders Fynn Glover and Mark McKnight

There's so much to do and see in the great outdoors, including right here in the Tennessee Valley. So how do you decide where to go and what to do? RootsRated.com is there to help.

I asked Fynn Glover one of the co-founders of Roots Rated where the idea came from. He told me, "it's a long story."

"I was kinda curious between the intersection of outdoor athletics, and productivity in the work force," Glover said

In 20-11, Roots Rated co-founder Fynn Glover and two other people traveled across the country talking to college students about spending time outside.

"I wrote this ten page dissertation about where the United States is going, and it kinda culminated in this, you know, call to action for myself which was to go interview as many people that are members of generation Y as possible," Glover told me on a Friday night in April.

He ended up talking to about twelve hundred people.

"(We) brought a lot of data back to our sponsors but also that informed the initial idea for Roots Rated," Glover said.

Roots rated is now working in several areas. That includes helping brands with stories, photos, and video to help those brands connect with people who use what they make.

At Rootsrated.com you can read stories, and search places across the country to hike, run, bike, or pretty much anything you want to do outdoors.

"If you Google things right now, let's say you go to Minneapolis, and you are looking for the best trail to go on, before we existed you would find a Yelp review of some botanical garden," Co-founder Mark McKnight told us. "It wasn't that compelling and it wasn't vetted out by experts. So you didn't know what to trust "

McKnight, Glover, and the rest of the Roots Rated team is working to fill that void. We met them at their offices on the first Friday night of April. There was a fire and people enjoying a few beers. They hold a kind of happy hour for their employees and they also invite others from the growing start up and business community in Chattanooga. It's a community they're thankful to be a part of.

"We acknowledge that everything we do at some level is tied to hundreds, thousands of other people," Glover said. "That's probably the philosophical genesis behind community, but this is also just fun."

The rest of the month the Roots Rated offices is a lot of meetings about managing and distributing content for outdoor enthusiasts and the brands and fields they are currently working with.

"I sometimes joke that I talk on the phone and go to meetings for a living," McKnight said.

These meetings and those phone calls are the work of a growing start up. For this start-up, it all started four years ago after that cross country road trip.

"I knew by taking that trip that I was kinda jumping off to some extent, and that would probably lead to something entrepreneurial, but I had no idea what that would be, and what this would all evolve into," Glover said. "You know it's been definitely the most challenging and rewarding, you know, thing I've ever done."

McKnight was the Marketing Director at outdoor retailer, Rock/Creek before crossing over full time at Roots Rated. Dawson Wheeler, and the folks at Rock/Creek have been big supporters and early investors.

That part of the story coming soon on Making History.

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