Climbing startup launches DTC website

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 530 views

Lacaida Ropes’ “Fern” rope is named after a rock climbing location in northwest Arkansas. The 80 meter length of rope sells for $349.

A climbing start-up from the inaugural cohort of the University of Arkansas Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP) launched its first line of products.

Lacaida Ropes is a Latin American veteran and direct-to-consumer company that manufactures ropes with custom designs and meter markings. Founder Pedro Somarriba said the company’s website went live on June 30, and it also set up an Instagram store. Growing the business with regional and national business partners is a long-term goal.

“We are going to expand our [sales] channels,” Somarriba said. “The question is where and which first.”

Lacaida uses three subcontractors (two in the United States and one in China) for raw materials. The products are cut to length, marked with a patent mark, packaged and sold.

Somarriba, 34, is a senior merchant for Walmart in the planters and birds category. He moved with his family from North Carolina to northwest Arkansas in 2018 to take a finance role at the retailer. The company promoted him to buyer a year later.

In 2021, he took a logistics and supply role with toolmaker Marshalltown in Fayetteville. He returned to Walmart last June.

Pedro Somarriba

Somarriba said bringing these experiences together gave him the entrepreneurial bug, and he focused his efforts on an activity he’s passionate about: rock climbing.

“I did a standard market analysis that I learned in business school and finally got the hang of it,” said Somarriba, who earned an MBA in 2018 from the Fuqua School of Business at the University. ‘Duke University.

Somarriba is the first generation of his family born in the United States. His parents moved from Nicaragua during the Sandinista uprising of the 1970s. He eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies from the University of Florida, then served six years in the U.S. Army Special Forces, mostly in Okinawa , in Japan.

AU’s 12-week GORP Incubator gave Lacaida up to $15,000 in non-dilutive funding. The company also has an angel investor from Somarriba’s personal network.

Virginia F. Goins