PHOTO: RAIN Coastal Pre-Accelerator entrepreneur Jesse Dolin developed a non-toxic, lead-free fishing weight.

Buoyed by the RAIN Ecosystem: Stoney River Sinkers

Stoney River Sinkers is part of the inaugural RAIN Coastal Pre-Accelerator. Founder Jesse Dolin was chosen from the Florence and Lincoln County cohorts to pitch in the Launch Stage competition of the Willamette Angels Conference (WAC) on May 9, 2017. The next step for Stoney River Sinkers’ is to continue building their brand.

Story of Success

Dolin is a passionate fisherman who had an “Aha!” moment when he reconsidered his lifelong hobby through an environmental lens: The lead sinkers used by generations of fishermen were poisoning the Earth’s waters.

Soon after this realization, Dolin developed a prototype of a lead-free non-toxic stone sinker. And within two years, Stoney River Sinkers were being sold at a dozen tackle shops in and around Florence.

As lead-free fishing policies become more widely adopted (small, lead fishing weights have already been banned in seven states, as well as every national park in the U.S.A. and Canada), the market for Stoney River Sinkers will continue to grow, and  Dolin believes he has one of the superior lead-free alternatives.

“The key to fishing is natural presentation. What’s more natural than a stone gliding down a stream?” he said.

Experience with RAIN and the Coastal Pre-Accelerator

By 2015, Dolin had a profitable product but the business was running out of money. He didn’t know what to do next. Fortunately, it was around this time that RAIN offered its first programs on the Central Oregon Coast.

“I went to a RAIN pub talk where entrepreneurs gave speed pitches, and I thought ‘I’m not alone.’ I didn’t realize there was this community of support for startups. I felt that joining this program was exactly what I needed because it offered a roadmap to success and connections to mentors who had experience with launching products,” Dolin said.

This past March, Dolin applied and was accepted to the inaugural RAIN Coastal Pre-accelerator. Dolin and his cohort peers from Florence and Lincoln County will graduate at the RAIN Coastal Demo Day on June 21 at the Florence Events Center.

What’s Next

Dolin will pitch in the Launch Stage competition of the WAC on May 9 in Corvallis. And while the prize package is modest, the opportunity to share his dreams with investors could be invaluable.

After the WAC, Dolin plans to continue building the Stoney River Sinkers’ brand through sharing his passion and excitement for lead- free fishing. He also hopes to make this his full-time job.