Engine, e-commerce startup based in Fayetteville, raises $1 million in capital

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,936 views 

Fayetteville-based software startup Engine has raised $1 million in venture capital to fund its cloud-based e-commerce software platform.

Among the company’s initial investors, according to a news release sent Tuesday (Jan. 23), is Claiborne Deming, a philanthropist and chairman of the board of El Dorado-based Murphy Oil Corp., where he was president and CEO from 1994 to 2008.

Deming will serve on Engine’s board of directors along with company founder John James and Jim Kane, the firm’s chief technical officer.

Engine began working with a few pilot customers in early 2017, and is currently in beta testing.

“Engine is building an e-commerce solution tailored to fit digital brands that seek a one-of-a-kind customer experience,” James said in a statement. “I started Engine with the belief that there must be a better way than the clunky, old status quo to manage and operate an e-commerce platform.

“When beta testing of our platform concludes this spring, we expect to have a product that truly stands out and positions retailers for success in the e-commerce marketplace.”

For the past four years, James has run Hayseed Ventures, a startup studio in Fayetteville focused on e-commerce. Hayseed’s 12 portfolio companies have created hundreds of technology jobs in Arkansas.

James has invested in 16 startups and raised more than $100 million in venture capital for a variety of enterprises. His venture capital production is the most for an individual in the history of Arkansas, according to the release.

“I applaud John for his vision and leadership in creating a product that will revolutionize the e-commerce space and give stores the opportunity and flexibility they need in a platform that will help them grow their business,” Deming said in a statement. “Engine, with its headquarters in Northwest Arkansas, can capitalize on its proximity to leaders in retail to collaborate, network and learn from each other. I am glad to be on the ground floor of a project that will change e-commerce for the better.”