Little Rock startup Apptegy receives $5.7 million for school communications platform

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,505 views 

Apptegy, a Little Rock-based tech startup company that received support from Hayseed Ventures in Fayetteville, received a $5.7 million investment from Five Elms Capital of Kansas City, Apptegy announced Tuesday (May 30).

The startup created Thrillshare, a digital content sharing framework used in hundreds of K-12 schools in 38 states, according to the release. The company builds a custom mobile app and website for each district, and the system allows school districts to manage all digital interactions, including from various devices and social networks, in one place.

Apptegy plans to use the funding from Five Elms for sales and marketing efforts for Thrillshare, in addition to the development of other products, said Apptegy’s CEO, Jeston George, according to the release.

“We are beyond excited to partner with Five Elms. Their experience working with growing SaaS (software as a service) companies will be a huge asset to our board,” George said in the release. “We get to see every day how Thrillshare impacts our customers as they embrace the opportunities that digital interactions create. Five Elms brings not only financial and strategic support, but decades of operating experience to guide us as we scale.”

Five Elms cited rapid adoption of the product, in addition to positive reviews, as its reason for investing.

“Apptegy has changed the way school districts communicate with their constituents, providing key district information and highlighting student achievement without the hassles of working with multiple technology vendors,” Ryan Mandl, partner at Five Elms Capital, said according to the release. “The team’s innovative product, industry knowledge and best-in-class customer service, has driven rapid, profitable growth and an evangelical customer base. We look forward to working with the Apptegy team to expand on the success achieved to date.”

Apptegy was founded in 2015, and is one of the companies to receive support from Hayseed Ventures. Hayseed Co-founder John James said George was the first Hayseed partner, and Apptegy’s growth in the past two years is “incredible.”

“This deal proves that a small amount of seed capital invested into a vibrant young entrepreneur can lead to incredible economic development for the state,” James noted in a statement to Talk Business & Politics. “A world-class Venture Capital firm investing this much capital in Arkansas is exceedingly rare, and is a testament to the tenacity and brilliance of Justin and his team.”

James said the Apptegy deal also tells another story.

“Sadly, the Apptegy deal is probably the second or third largest investment in a digital company in the state in the last decade. To foster further Investments of this magnitude, the state must make dramatic improvements to make earlier stage funding more readily available to the next round of up-and-coming entrepreneurs like Jeston,” James said.