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."
Founder Harvey Hughes of Mountain Home's SEAS Education, an Innovate Arkansas client firm, likes to keep things simple. Here are his five tips for startup success.
“Patent trolling,” the practice of obtaining large buckets of intellectual property rights with the intention of using them to extract damages and settlement revenue rather than to protect innovation or produce anything, is not a new idea. Over the past 40 years, lawmakers have tried to strike a balance between defending research and advancements while dissuading offensive use of patents that negatively impact our economy.
One Innovate Arkansas client firm stretches the "startup" tag. SEAS Education of Mountain Home has been around since 1995 and quietly has become a leading national provider of education plan management software.
Eyona Mitchell is experiencing first hand how the other half lives. A one-person team competing in the fourth installment of the ARK Challenge startup accelerator in downtown Little Rock, Mitchell used to help businesses at previous stints working with the Downtown Little Rock Partnership and Alt.Consulting in Pine Bluff.