Local Startups Make Pitch To Downtown Partnership Board

by Wesley Brown (wesbrocomm@gmail.com) 30 views 

Downtown Little Rock Partnership (DLRP) board members on Wednesday chose local startup Apptegy as the winner of a lunchtime pitch contest that pitted a handful of Venture Center members in the “Shark Tank-like” contest.

Apptegy and other four other early stage Central Arkansas startups each gave five-minute presentations to members of the DLRP board, which held its regular monthly meeting at the Venture Center offices at the Little Rock Tech Park’s current downtown space.

DLRP President Susie Smith said the pitch contest was an opportunity for members of the downtown group to get exposure to some of the companies that are now part of Little Rock’s fast-growing “Creative Corridor.”

Apptegy, developed by local startup entrepreneur Jeston George, allows local school districts to push out social media announcements and updates using one online platform or app. “We build stronger relationships between schools and their community,” said Apptegy presenter and Chief Marketing Officer David Allan.

Besides Apptegy, Little Rock startups Bfonics, Cart Delivers, Merger Match and Broadband Development Corp. also participated in the luncheon event.

Bfonics uses Bluetooth-enabled and location-based mobile tools to help retailers and other businesses use cost-effective mobile technology to connect with customers, offering customized deals directly to a smartphone.

CartDelivered is a recently developed grocery delivery and data analytics startup that promises to make life easier for local consumers who need help with shopping.

Broadband Development Group LLC, which was formed in February, has a plan to deliver 1-gigabit Internet services to local businesses by installing fibers lines directly inside commercial buildings.

Merger Match uses proprietary predictive organizational software to improve long-term success of merged companies through the use of better data, said company founder Alese Stroud.

Venture Center President Lee Watson said the 41 early stage startup firms that have come through the center’s mentorship program have created 53 new jobs and generated over $1.5 million in revenues over the past 10 months.

Following the noonday pitch contest, DLRP Director Gabe Holmstrom, told board members that the partnership has signed up 37 participants to take part in Little Rock’s 2015 Food Truck Festival, which will be held in early October. Now in its fourth year, more than 10,000 people attended last year’s event in the downtown area, officials said.