Editor’s Note: The following story appeared in the June 6 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.
Tim Lee, CEO of Springdale-based VentureTech LLC, has been developing mobile apps for businesses and organizations since 2009.
Lee, 48, said he’s lost count of how many he’s developed, but he built the first for the Arkansas Razorbacks. He followed that with a Ducks Unlimited app. Since then, he’s created numerous apps, including those for area county sheriff’s offices.
In 2008, Lee was leading Revolution Technologies and building websites for Realtors when the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal named him to the Forty Under 40 class.
In 2012, he rebranded the company to VentureTech as he became more involved in growing new businesses through venture capital and technology. Some of the companies he’s founded or co-founded included Mobile Patrol, SideLine Access, Mobile 10-8, Central 25 AppWorks and Road Lives. They all either have a mobile app, or one is in the works.
“Almost like ‘Shark Tank,’ we come in as an equity partner, and we put it on the line with them,” he said. “We make sure the technology is run correctly so that they can specialize in their industry expertise. We’re giving them the tools and mechanisms to go out there and do what they are best at in their industry without worrying about their technology being done right. Are their developers putting business skills and forward-thinking into what truly needs to be done to help this product be successful.”
Also, in 2012, Appriss Inc. acquired Mobile Patrol, and Lee joined the company as director of the mobile division. Appriss launched the victim notification network known as VINE. It also launched NPLEx, a program mitigating the diversion of over-the-counter cold and allergy medication toward the production of methamphetamine.
In 2014, Lee founded Sideline Access, and through an acquisition that included two other companies, became Mascot Media in 2016. The company’s apps have allowed people to livestream and track youth sporting events across the nation.
Lee also founded Mobile 10-8, which like Mobile Patrol, has developed apps for law enforcement agencies. Lee noted that in the past 12 months, the apps for the sheriff’s offices of Benton and Washington counties have generated 6.2 million user sessions and 89 million ads. Some of the app features include jail inmate rosters, sex offender tracking via augmented reality and people reported missing. The apps also allow agencies to send out alerts via push notification.
He co-founded Central 25 AppWorks in 2018 and Road Lives in 2019. The previous created a mobile app to help manage college savings accounts, sponsored by the Arkansas State Treasurer’s Office. The latter has been a focus for the past two years amid supply chain issues in the transportation sector. The company’s website launched in December, and he expects a mobile app will be available in a month.
“I’m working with a second-generation trucking family,” he said. “We have built the first forward-facing product for the trucking industry with a dedicated social media platform, a load board for brokers and shippers. We have a breakdown directory for when truck drivers break down on the side of the road. We created a dealership directory, a marketplace for new and used trucks and trailers, and a job board for posting employment opportunities in the trucking industry.”
VentureTech has nine employees. Lee declined to provide revenue numbers but noted the various ways to generate revenue through the mobile apps. The apps are free to download on the App Store or Google Play, but the company can generate revenue through ads or user subscriptions.
Lee was raised in Prairie Grove. He’s a self-taught software developer but said he no longer does the programming. A career goal is to have an app featured on the App Store.
“I think having an app featured on the App Store is more valuable than hitting the Powerball,” he said. “The amount of downloads that happen per second on the App Store is staggering.”
Lee and his wife, Kenna, reside in Tontitown and have two sons. He supports the Law Enforcement Assistance Program, Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter and Folds of Honor. He enjoys playing golf and deer, duck and hog hunting.