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10/6/2015 Chamber

Chamber to Host Reception in Honor of Startups’ “Graduation"

This month, startup companies ApptegyElyxor, and Bfonics will make the move from their launch pads at the LR Tech Park @ 107 and The Venture Center to market rate commercial space in downtown Little Rock.

LR Tech Park @ 107 is a workspace for early-stage, tech-focused startups and entrepreneurs, with startup services and programs from The Venture Center. This space provides a professional coworking environment with entrepreneurial programming, events, and mentorship. The location, on the edge of the River Market and around the corner from the future, permanent home of the Little Rock Technology Park in Main Street's Creative Corridor, is strategically designed to foster creative collisions with other entrepreneurs, mentors, and business resource partners.

This is real proof that investment in entrepreneurial economic development pays dividends, according to Jay Chesshir, President and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This exciting event is tangible evidence that the Little Rock region’s commitment to new industry attraction, grass roots tech-based business growth and retention, and development of the Little Rock Tech Park, as well as the Creative Corridor, is already yielding new jobs results. The partnership between the Tech Park and Venture Center is a scalable model, whereas businesses will pass through stages of ideation, cultivation, acceleration, and, as we are seeing now, graduation, to an innovative, growing business that outgrows the shared-space concept and moves into the large inventory of office/commercial property within the metro Little Rock region.”

The goal of Apptegy, led by local startup entrepreneur Jeston George, is to build stronger relationships between schools and their community by simplifying the communication process. Through Apptegy’s Thrillshare platform, a teacher or administrator can easily distribute content across a variety of communication channels at once - school website, school app, Facebook, Twitter, text message, and more. When Jeston founded Apptegy, he was the sole employee. Apptegy recently raised $200,000, and the team has grown to nine employees, creating the need to move to dedicated office space in Simmons Tower.

Elyxor develops business applications and software components with expertise in the technology, retail, e-commerce, m-commerce, education, financial services, and manufacturing industries. Headed by CEO Mark Carleo in Boston, and led locally by Sean Townsend, senior software engineer, Elyxor originally opened its satellite office in the LR Tech Park @ 107 space to take advantage of developer talent in Little Rock. As the Little Rock staff has grown, coworking space was no longer suitable, so they have leased larger space just around the corner in the Pyramid Place building on 2nd Street in downtown Little Rock.

Bfonics, founded by local serial entrepreneur Unni Peroth, helps brands and organizations engage their customers in real time using beacon technology – the new revolutionary proximity-based technology that is taking the retail sector and other industries by storm. The company works with a range of industries and customers including major retail chains, malls, city streets, museums, and airports. With a network of re-sellers and implementation partners, Bfonics is also expanding to global markets including UK, Ireland, Philippines, Malaysia, India and the Middle East. Bfonics has raised $350,000 so far and is in the process of adding six employees in Little Rock, which will take its total employee count to 20. The company just moved to its new office in the Melton Building on President Clinton Avenue.

The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold a “Graduation Celebration” on Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., at The Venture Center. Raise a glass to these hard-working and forward-thinking company leaders who are helping grow the metro Little Rock economy. For more information contact Graham Cobb, 377.6007.