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."
Two commercialization strategy workshops for entrepreneurs and university researchers have been scheduled for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in April.
The Walmart Foundation donated $1.5 million to the Amazeum, the interactive museum scheduled to open in 2015 in Bentonville. The money donated will allow the museum to have a temporary gallery, Amazeum officials said.
In December, Acumen Brands of Fayetteville announced objectives for 2014 that one company executive called “insane.” The leadership wanted five new programs to keep the company vibrant and growing, among those programs “flash sales” and “Marketplace.”
In its third year, Made By Few is a tech conference for designers, developers and entrepreneurs who design and create web and mobile applications. It drew attendees from 15 states to its 2013 version held at the Clinton Presidential Center.