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."
The Vault is an internal incubator for student entrepreneurs set inside what once was the underground vault of the former Federal Reserve Bank at Third and Louisiana streets in downtown Little Rock. The building now serves students in grades 9-12 as eStem High School.
The R&D 100 is a prestigious list of the world's top 100 tech-based product innovations included each year in R&D Magazine. The R&D 100 is known as the "Oscars of Innovation" and past award winners have included the flashcube, ATM, fax machine and HDTV.
Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jay Chesshir believes the acquisition process for the recommended site of the planned Little Rock tech park could be "substantially done by the end of the year."
The real estate firm selected by the Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board to help search for a downtown site for the planned tech park on Wednesday recommended the acquisition of five properties along Main and Scott streets.