Past event…

Event Ended

Acxiom Downtown Little Rock

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Premiere Sponsor


Sep 12
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Sep 13
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Sep 14
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Community Sponsors

Olivia Farrell

CEO - Arkansas Business Publishing Group

Olivia Farrell is the Chief Executive Officer of the Arkansas Business Publishing Group that publishes Arkansas Business, Little Rock Soirée, Little Rock Family, and over 20 other niche publications and websites. She began her publishing career in 1978 when the company’s annual revenues were $100,000. Today, the Arkansas Business Publishing Group enjoys revenues exceeding $8,000,000.

In addition to her service as Chairman of the Board for her own company, she has served on the Board of Trustees for the Arkansas Arts Center and the board of directors for the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, the Arkansas Rep Theatre, the Arkansas Business and Education Alliance, and the Association of Arkansas Entrepreneurs.

Farrell has been included every year in the Arkansas Business Power List since 2003 and was recognized as an Arkansas Woman of Influence in 2010. In July 2012, Governor Mike Beebe presented Farrell with the Distinguished Citizen Award at the Arkansas Community Service Awards.

Rod Ford

Innovation Entrepreneur, Investor, Geek

Rod Ford is a serial entrepreneur involved in the startup, growth and exit of multiple technology and innovation companies. Most recently, Rod was brought in by a private equity company as the CEO of nGage Labs, Inc. to transform the company from its founding as a static coupon company (“Copia Mobile”) to a personalized mobile engagement company, with an innovation analytics center in Little Rock. Under Rod’s leadership the company developed a proprietary cloud based personalization engine, transformed its brand to nGage Labs, and signed contracts with several major brands. Rod is currently a strategic advisor to the company as he turns his attention to other innovation and entrepreneurial interests. Most recently, prior to nGage Labs, Rod was the founder of CognitiveDATA, Inc., which was recognized by Inc. Magazine four consecutive years as one of the fastest growing companies in the country. Rod sold CognitiveDATA in 2009 to national marketing service provider, Merkle, Inc. of Columbia, MD.

Rod started his career as a systems Engineer for multi-national food giant Cargill and later joining Rockwell Automation, working to implement process automation and management information systems for some of the largest companies in North America. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arkansas. Rod spends much of his time working with startup companies and supporting technology incubators and accelerators as an innovation mentor and is currently an active board member with the Arkansas Venture Center.

Dana Robbins

VP – Owned and Operated Properties for Inuvo, Inc.

Dana Robbins has over 20 years of experience in the marketing technology industry, and is currently the Vice President of Owned and Operated digital properties for Inuvo, Inc. In this role, Dana leads the Alot digital media properties group including the development of content, site functionality, ad operations and data analysis. The Alot properties include 6 content rich websites and 7 different mobile applications.

Prior to joining Inuvo, Dana was a Product Executive and recognized expert in a new breed of marketing databases known as online data management platforms (DMPs). Dana helped pioneer Acxiom’s initial digital data platform, using offline audience data for online media targeting. Additional career highlights include 10 years of start-up experience where she led the Total eData team that created one of the industry’s first real-time name, address, and email matching systems, and led the General Health Corporation team responsible for real-time integration of medical testing results that provided instant availability of patient test results across medical platforms.

Dana’s career has spanned the data and marketing spectrum, including executive positions with Acxiom, ChoicePoint, General Health Corporation, and Total eData. Dana has bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Hendrix College, and currently resides in Conway, Arkansas.

James Hendren

Tech Startup Funder / Advisor / Mentor   |  

James K. Hendren, Ph.D., has been a leader in raising the awareness of the importance of technology and knowledge job development in Arkansas’ economic growth strategy since the mid-1980’s. He received his doctorate in physics from the University of Arkansas in 1972, providing a foundation for his successful career in sophisticated software development in both the defense and banking industries. James was CEO, then Chairman of Arkansas Systems, Inc. (ARKSYS), one of Arkansas’ early “high-tech” companies. While growing that company from a small, home-grown company to an internationally known corporation, he served on the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority board of directors and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. He was one of the initiators of Accelerate Arkansas and the Arkansas STEM Coalition. He has worked with more than twenty technology startup companies being CEO of four.

Mark Gimelfarb

CTO - PrivacyStar

Mark is responsible for the management of PrivacyStar’s technology infrastructure as well as thought leadership for the strategic infrastructure development necessary for the growth plan, domestically and internationally. Mark is responsible for the design and implementation of the company-wide technology initiatives supporting efficient and cost effective services delivery of PrivacyStar features and services.

Mark’s background includes unique technology development and leadership at the University of Arkansas – Little Rock, including the NASA-sponsored academic research. Additionally, he has years of tenure in software development, service delivery vendors in credit/debit card processing, medical staffing, employee benefits management and high tech industries. Mark has been responsible for the delivery of significant scalable technology solutions on time and on budget.

During his career, Mark has lead the development of sophisticated distributed IVR and fax processing systems, working directly with Telcos to utilize some of the most advanced SS7 network capabilities they provided and creating unique solutions to combine point-and-click deployment, provisioning and voice-training of on-demand IVR/fax systems for clients using custom TAS and CTI interfaces. He also built the first PrivacyStar fixed-line working solution for call blocking on fixed line networks.

Mark graduated from the Donaghey Scholars Program with Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He also holds an Associate of Arts in Business Management from the International Christian University-Kyiv in Kyiv, Ukraine. Mark has extensive international experience having extensively lived and studied abroad, specifically, at the Graz University of Technology in Graz, Austria. Mark continues to be a guest speaker at various events at various colleges and universities as well as industry conferences.

Community Sponsors

Marvin H. Maurras

Serial Entrepreneur

Marvin Maurras began his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 12. He has founded and/or exited several companies, among them being a health care company now owned by AON, co-founder of Miracle Kids Success Academy, Kids Unlimited Learning Academy, Insurance Rating Dynamics (sold), a Mortgage Servicing Company (sold), and is an active investor in a leading identify theft protection company based out of phoenix. Above all, Marvin is interested in disruptive technology, efficiency in regulated industries and the use of social media in marketing.

Dustin Williams

UX/UI Designer - Bourbon and Boots   |  

Dustin’s many specialties all have “user experience” at their core. They include Interaction Design, User Interface Design, Website Design, Website Development, Conversion Rate Optimization, User Testing and Usability. Dustin has worked with Microsoft Mobile, Microsoft Zune and TEAGUE. Dustin has also worked with Arkansas based companies such as Walmart and Acumen Brands (

Dustin is deeply rooted in the Arkansas Startup Eco-System and is currently a founding partner of a startup ( Dustin is a supporter of the Arkansas Venture Center, an organizer in the Little Rock, AR chapter of 1 Million Cups and a past Mentor for The ARK Challenge Northwest Arkansas.

James Eldridge

CEO - WearLit   |  

James is a freelance business consultant and the CEO of WearLit, a classic literature-based, e-commerce apparel company. He was previously President and Co-Founder at James & James, a wildly successful furniture business in Springdale, AR
He is passionate about business development, operations, and building strong leaders. He is a voracious reader, loves all things Lego, and is a staunch Patriots fan

Abby Sims

Owner - Idestini Dev Studio

Abby Sims is the owner of Idestini Dev Studio, based in Bryant. Abby has 14 years of experience in full stack development covering a broad range of web and software development projects. Abby is passionate about serving the developer community and has served for several years as an officer in the Little Rock .NET Users Group and organizer of Little Rock Tech Fest. Abby’s favorite project these days is helping companies build and enhance the online version of their businesses through effective, creative and measurable uses of technology.

David Hudson

CEO - Few   |  

I'm Dave. I work at Few. I want to build my community, change some lives, write some apps, crunch some data, and make technology do things it was never built for.

Dan Decker

Developer - Few   |  

Dan is currently a software developer at Few. In addition he helps organize several Conway community efforts, including La Lucha Space, The Locals and BarcampConway.

Previously, Dan spent time at The Faulkner-Van Buren Regional Library System as the Network Administrator supporting library technology access for over 200,000 residents across 2 counties. At Dillard’s, Inc., Dan built advertising infrastructure and workflow processes for over 200 users across the US.

Above all Dan is a maker of the web. He worked for EllisLab, Inc., ExpressionEngine, and contributed to CodeIgniter, a hugely popular PHP framework. Freelancing in his spare time, Dan has helped make numerous other web properties with Normalcy, Inc. and FocusLab, LLC.

Gabe Couch

Designer - Few   |  

Gabe is a Designer at Few, a design and development agency in Little Rock, Arkansas, specializing in web and mobile applications. He co-founded the annual design and development conference, Made by Few, that draws attendees from across the United States and Canada. CEO of Tagless Style, an online style service for men. He is from Dardanelles, AR and attended College at the University of Central Arkansas where he studied Fine Art with an emphasis in Design. Gabe has worked with companies on a local to global level. Ui / Ux Designer at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue shield, Acumen Brands ( Country Outfitter ), Saatchi & Saatchi X as the global Ui / UX Designer. While contracting Gabe worked as the Director of Visual Design for Retrofit a funded startup in Chichago, as well as contacting for Barrows North America working with Uniliver here in the United States.

Arlton Lowry

CCO - Few   |  

Arlton is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Few, a design and development agency in Little Rock, Arkansas, specializing in web and mobile applications. He teaches Web Design as an Adjunct Professor in the Art Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He founded the annual design and development conference, Made by Few, that draws attendees from across the United States and Canada and co-founded BarCamp Conway, an annual community event focused on educating and incubating the tech community in Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Information Technology. He's worked with numerous local, national, and global organizations, like the Mozilla Foundation, Walmart, ACL, Manning Publications, AETN, and LessAccounting. He currently resides in Little Rock, Arkansas with his dog Coco.

Tricia Beavers

PMP - Dillard's

Tricia has over 14 years in the IT industry, she is a strong advocate for communication, hard work and respect. Tricia has a wide diversity of skills that when combined with practical business “know-how” and technical savvy allow her to work with individuals to move concepts into solid projects.

Jamie Fugitt

Startup Lawyer   |  

Jamie Fugitt is a startup and technology lawyer at PPGMR Law, PLLC. He helps entrepreneurs and startup companies by explaining legal choices in an understandable way and by helping them address legal needs at the right time in their company’s life-cycle – two simple but often overlooked strategies. He thinks the most successful entrepreneurs are the best communicators. Jamie studied law at Harvard Law School and cultural anthropology at the University of Arkansas.

Mike Steely

Founder - Sparkible

Mike heads Sparkible, an idea development company specializing in technology products, product prototyping, and crowdfunding. Mike was the founder of the Arkansas Venture Center, a non-profit organization serving as a regional startup acceleration and incubation program. He is also co-champion for the regional 1 Million Cups program in Little Rock, hosts the Local First Little Rock and Crowdfunding Little Rock meetups and is a rabid supporter of the local startup scene.

He serves as a coach and mentor in various national startup accelerators, including Arkansas's own ARK Challenge Little Rock and NWA. Mike is a regional champion for UP Global and serves on the Advisory Board for SXSW and SXSW V2V. When not judging a pitch or evaluating a lean canvas, Mike spends his time as the purveyor of the best hot dogs west of the Mississippi through his solar-powered mobile food cart company Green Cart Deli.

Emily Reeves

Director of Digital Innovation and Insight Planning - Stone Ward

As agency digital champion, Emily Reeves assures that Stone Ward has the offerings, expertise and alliances to bring sound, measurable digital innovation to our clients’ marketing efforts. A seasoned communications strategist with a passion for all things digital, Emily has distinguished herself as an avid blogger, social media speaker, industry observer and moderator.

Emily describes her strength as the ability to create order from chaos--a high value proposition for clients struggling to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape.

Ted Dickey

Advisor at Innovate Arkansas

Ted Dickey received a BA from the University of Arkansas, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Thereafter, he earned a Juris Doctorate and was admitted to the Arkansas Bar. He spent over six years at Stephens Inc. in their Corporate Finance Department employed as a financial analyst, an associate in the Financial Services Group and then as a vice president in the Private Placement Group. During this time, he was responsible for placing debt and equity securities with institutional investors for public and private companies.

Mr. Dickey is an advisor to Innovate Arkansas, a general partner of CDFP Capital and CapRocq Core funds, a Chartered Financial Analyst, a board member of Virtual Incubation and the University of Arkansas' Technology Development Foundation, a founder of Gravity Ventures, a 2004 Arkansas Business selection to the "40 Under 40" list of business people in Arkansas, and is the former chairman of the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

Jeston George

CEO - Apptegy

Jeston is the Founder/CEO of Apptegy, a communications platform and app developer for the K-12 education market. Prior to Apptegy Jeston was the Managing Partner for Ad Solutions Group, a direct marketing company that had a successful exit in late 2011. His driving philosophy as a business owner is execution + grit trumps great ideas every time. He believes that if you didn’t serve in the military, the best way to serve your country is to create jobs in your community that pay more than a livable wage. Jeston is interested in helping aspiring entrepreneurs reach their goals and to motivate others to choose the entrepreneurial path.

Chad Williamson

Co-Founder - Noble Impact   |  

Chad Williamson is a military veteran and co-founder of Noble Impact, an organization committed to engaging high school students at the intersection of public service and entrepreneurship.

Prior to launching Noble Impact, Chad was Director of Philanthropy for former NFL player, Dhani Jones, and CEO of their social venture, BowTie Cause. As a platform to promote awareness for multiple causes, they raised over $500,000 for non-profits around the nation.

He spent five years in the U.S. Air Force and also co-founded a physical therapy company before becoming a teacher and coach at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida. At Berkeley, Chad launched a multi-disciplinary curriculum focused on leadership, group dynamics, and the study of domestic poverty.

He received his Bachelors degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and his Masters from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is married to Heather Williamson and they have two chocolate labs, Moxie and Bristol.

Tyler Presley

Developer - Mainstream Technologies

Tyler has over 12 years of website development experience. Currently, he plans, develops, and maintains custom enterprise level .NET applications for Mainstream Technologies. His skill sets cover several software languages and the occasional UX/UI work. Moreover, he usually finds himself testing new technologies, learning about business, helping where he can, and developing his skills during down time.

In addition Tyler is involved with several startup community efforts such as Co-organizing BarCamp Conway, helping with the first Little Rock Startup Weekend, mentoring at High School Startup Weekend, a member of the Arkansas Venture Center, and served on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Engineering and Information Technology Advisory Council.

Calvin Bramlett

Graphic & Web Designer - EAST Initiative   |  

Calvin is a Designer & Front-end Developer focusing on clean visuals and strong user experiences. He has been freelancing for several years designing and developing brand experiences for many small business and startups. Currently, he works as a Graphic & Web Designer for the EAST Initiative, a national educational non-profit focusing on project based education. He was a mentor for the LRHS Startup Weekend and has participated in two Arkansas Startup Weekends, where he has won 2nd place and Best UI.

Lee Watson

Founder - The Venture Center   |  

Lee provides vision for the Arkansas Venture Center including the development of public, private and corporate strategic partnerships. A serial entrepreneurial, Lee has founded several organizations including Clarovista, a data and mobile driven consultancy. He is also a designated champion for the Startup America Partnership.

Cade Collister

VP UX/UI - Acumen Brands   |  

Currently, Cade Collister serves as VP of UI/UX for Acumen Brands where he builds innovative, e-commerce brands, such as, Country Outfitter, Independent Boot Company, and more. In the past, he has worked with companies, such as Dell, Microsoft, Southern Bancorp and Alltel. He has founded several Arkansas companies, including the interactive design agency, Little Rock Media.
Cade is passionate about the Arkansas startup community and actively offers his time, knowledge and experience to local, tech startups. A few years ago, he started a monthly meet up for techies, entrepreneurs and creatives, called Techdrinks, which now has over 200 members.

Community Supporters
Jordan T. Carlisle
Nirav Armin
Max Farrell
Lukas Deem
Nicholas Norfolk
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