Arkansas Startups: From Dirt Roads to Interstates - Innovate Arkansas
Arkansas Startups: From Dirt Roads to Interstates
By Mark Carter, 12/3/2012 12:00:00 AM
From an entrepreneurial dirt road to an interstate — that's how Movista co-founders April Seggebruch and Stan Zylowski describe the emerging startup culture in northwest Arkansas.
The two UA Walton College MBA grads founded Movista in 2010 as Merchant View and have grown their retail tracking firm to the cusp of startup stardom. Earlier this year, Movista signed its first national client, Tempur-Pedic, the mattress makers.
Seggebruch said the environment for growing a business in Arkansas, specifically northwest Arkansas, is booming. She cited the creation of Gravity Ventures' Arkansas Fund and the success of the recent ARK Challenge business incubator that brought startups from the state, country and beyond to Fayetteville.
Things have changed a lot, even since Seggebruch and Zylowski hatched their idea for what would become Movista in a Walton College classroom almost three years ago.
"We love to joke that we grew up on the entrepreneurial dirt road and northwest Arkansas folks are now born on the interstate," Seggebruch said. "The ARK, Gravity and, for the most part, Innovate Arkansas have grown up along with us. We are terribly proud of all the work these folks are doing and try very hard to give back when we can."
David Allan has this Startup Weekend thing down. Allan and his Kick It Little Rock team won the latest Startup Weekend Little Rock held at Acxiom's corporate headquarters in the River Market.
David Woodberry isn't typical of the young entrepreneurs you'll find at startup accelerators like the ARK Challenge. Woodberry moved his family from their native Minneapolis to Little Rock to compete in the ARK and grow LinkedCause, which had already launched the TOMS Shoes-inspired Eatiply campaign.
New advances have enabled companies to drill deeper and more complex wells to tap the gas shale, too. Mixed in with the drilling improvements are new fracking techniques that increase the productivity of wells.
The entrepreneurial juggernaut Startup Weekend returns to central Arkansas this week. Startup Weekend Little Rock 2014 will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Acxiom's River Market District corporate headquarters and run through Sunday night.