In this episode we set up a booth at the 2015 NWA Technology Summit in Rogers Arkansas. The NWA Tech Summit is put together each year by the NWA Tech Council & the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce. This episode is a break from our normal format in that we interview several people including high school students, entrepreneurs and a New York Times best selling author.
Note that Jon mistakenly refers to the President and CEO of AT&T Mobile & Business Services Ralph Del Rio, in fact his name is Ralph de la Vega. Our apologies to Mr. de la Vega.
Our guest in order of appearance:
1:50 Joyce Grippi, Founder of Grippi Business Solutions
8:15 Mary Lewis, Executive Director, Accelerate Arkansas
20:55 Bentonville School District Ignite PSC Program Students Aikman Ewalt, Castle Kerr, Ernesto Santos
29:50 Louis Patler, PH.D. New York Times best-selling author, speaker and consultant, President of The B.I.T. Group
Thank you to the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce, the NWA Tech Council and all of the folks who made the summit a success.
Our contact info:
Startup Junkie Consulting
455 Media Group, LLC
Omid started as an electrical engineer and is now CEO of Ascendant Dx, a proteomics company focused on bringing new diagnostic tests to market. Currently they are focusing on tests based on newly discovered biomarkers for breast cancer and childhood diseases.
Omid is an experienced executive, entrepreneur and inventor. He has spent the last 18 years bringing new products and businesses to market in fields ranging from photography, medical imaging, and microprocessors to graphics, healthcare information technology and genomics.
He specializes in finding markets for new technologies, or finding new markets for old technologies. Specially, if it involves developing new business models, and new corporate structures.
He is also an expert in intellectual property strategy development.
Omid is Entrepreneur In Residence at University of California at Los Angeles and has done Personal Genomics Research at Harvard Medical School
455 Media Group, LLC
Startup Junkie Consulting
Currently Mike Poore is the Superintendent for Bentonville Public Schools. He officially assumed this position on July 1, 2011. Mike began transitioning in the spring of 2011. He is excited that his vision for Bentonville Schools closely aligns with a community that seeks to be the best in all that they do. Under his leadership, the school district has opened 3 new schools and has plans for 2 more schools to open, Bentonville West High School in the fall of 2016, and our 11th elementary school in the fall of 2017. Bentonville Public Schools consistently ranks as a top performer in academics, arts and athletics
Mike is leading the way by forming partnerships with the business community in a STEM program called Ignite.
Idea was Hatched:
Ignites Basic Concept
To learn more about the program contact Mike at email@example.com
Lacie Bray is a co-founder and business manager at Ozark Beer Company. She is originally from Rogers, Arkansas, but left the area after college. She returned in 2010 by way of raft guiding in the Rockies, teaching in Chicago, and a stint gardening in South America. Her diverse background has equipped her with the invaluable skills of perseverance, a positive outlook, and creative problem solving. All of which serve her well in running Ozark Beer Co. Her favorite adventures these days involve her 18 month old son. To learn more about the brewery or get in touch with Lacie, visit www.ozarkbeercompany.com.
Ozark Beer Company is a manufacturing brewery located in Rogers, Arkansas. We opened the doors to the public in November 2013. Our beer is available at over 125 locations throughout Benton and Washington County as well as our tasting room at the brewery. In the Ozarks, hard work makes honest people, and here at Ozark Beer Co, hard work makes honest beer. We are rooted in a deep tradition of independent, spirited people who live their lives with a resilience and humility rarely seen anywhere else. In these mountains and at OBC, hard work isn’t what we do, it is who we are.
Core Brewing & Distilling Company started in September of 2010. The founder, Jesse Core, began production on a 1-barrel RIMS brewhouse with 8 small fermenters. Our first client was Kingfish in Fayetteville. By 2012, we expanded our brewhouse to a 4-vessel, 25-barrel brewhouse with 4 x 25-barrel fermenters and 2 x 25-barrel Brite tanks. Demand quickly grew, and Core expanded again by adding 10 more 40-barrel fermentation vessels and 5 more 40-barrel Brite tanks. / / Our growth has occurred due to consumer demand. At Core, we understand that quality is vital. If we produce consistent product of high quality, demand will grow. Additionally, Jesse has established a culture of humility and hard work putting the emphasis on the customer. We are good people making good product. In 3 short years, we have grown from 0 to 500 barrels of sales in a month. Our product is found in over 400 locations, and we have won numerous awards. The mascot of the company is a wiener dog. His name is Barney. He was a gift from Jesses mother, and Barney was a special member of the family for over 19 years. / / Jesse Core, Core Brewing Co. http://corebeer.com/
Cole Thornton is the owner and founder of Gadget Grave in Fort Smith AR. Gadget Grave repaired more than 45,000 devices over the past 5 years and are continuing to see a steady increase each month. Cole manages day-to-day operations, online marketing, and growth planning. Gadget Grave has grown into the industry leader in Arkansas.
They have been in business for over 5 years and have bootstrapped it the whole way. With less than $12,500 in startup funds, they have been able to generate over $5,500,000 in sales to date and they continue to grow and expand into new markets.
Papa Rap is a Latino Motivational speaker for parents and students.His messages go from parent involvement in our schools and communities to student success by making the right choices in life.
ArkanSalsa Fest is an eclectic art and music festival to raise money for scholarships and to inspire community leaders. The festival celebrates the rich diversity of Northwest Arkansas by bringing people together and offering them a chance to meet new amigos/friends while listening to music, dancing, eating delicious food & visiting with local nonprofit organizations and businesses that benefit us all in our area.
Al Lopez, AKA Papa Rap (http://www.paparap.net/
Startup Junkie Consulting
455 Media Group, LLC
Michael Paladino CTO & Co-Founder of RevUnit talks with us about his business and some of the lessons he's learned since starting his company with CEO & Co-Founder Joe Saumweber. Headquartered in Bentonville they have guided their company through a rapid startup just three years ago and continue to grow.
Jeff Clapper talks with us about 8th & Walton and how in just a few years his company has become the leader in Walmart Vendor training. "It's important to me to help other people". Jeff company culture, how his families support is so important and the challenges of running a small business.
Kelly Miller shares his story of not only running a successful software development company but how he helped build one of the top startups in Northwest Arkansas.
Intelligence engineer, Tom Tessmer of Integrated Insights joins us to talk about the complex nature of retail intelligence, branding and story telling.
We talk with Hayseed Ventures COO Scott Andrews. Hayseed Ventures is a VC Production Studio located in Northwest Arkansas. They are actively working to change the face of startups in Northwest Arkansas and to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship in beautiful downtown Fayetteville.
Q : What do you do?
Scott: We are a startup that starts startups. We are a venture studio, with a team of 7, we partner with early stage companies and help them raise funds. Our goal is to work with 6 to 8 companies a year.
Q : Who is John James?
Scott: He is a physician by profession who likes to build businesses. He figured out how to arbitrage keywords back in the 90s with google adword traffic and became a huge portion of it, he built Grill Stuff and started Acumen brands (monetizing facebook).
Q: What is your competitive advantage?
Scott: Customer Acquisition. We understand the process of getting the data, analyzing it and creating the economic machine that drives it.
Q: What are some of your current portfolios.
Scott: We actually have 5. One is the Q-Ball, it's a quiz ball reloaded. We built the content behind the machine and then built a SaaS business around it and built an online platform for it
Q: What kind of companies you work for?
Scott: A company that is early but has some tractions, some customers and some revenues.
Example: Menguin (Online Tuxedo Rental)
Q: Your model, how it is different from venture fund or from incubator or accelerator?
Scott: Its kind a mixed of everything. Our revenue is like a venture fund. We are co-founder.
Q : How did you come to work for Hayseed Ventures?
Scott: My interest is to work with a lot of different engineers and to continuously learn and learn about new things.
Q: What advice could you give to entrepreneurs who might want to talk to Hayseed?
Scott: Any entrepreneur needs to understand the problem they are solving, If you have specific interest or understanding, turn into competitive advantage.
Q: What do you look for entrepreneurs or businesses to work with?
Scott: We have a checklist and the top 3 are: Can we test this quickly? Can we reiterate it quickly and can we do it cheaply? And aside from these, we also identify if the business is a 10 million dollar business, if not then it is not something that we mess with. Does it have a clear customer acquisition strategy?
Q: Why should entrepreneurs come to Hayseed?
Scott: With a team having different brains, you get a lot of experience thinking about you all the time and you get a lot of contacts. An accelerator would introduce you to a lot of people and say go figure it out; a venture capital groups would say here’s the check, go figure it out. We’ll say come work with us, we will help you figure it out. We are hands-on and we’re teacher, not doers. We will teach you how to run your social strategy, how to manage your website and how to raise capital.
Q: What needs to happen next to make this whole Northwest Arkansas rock and roll?
Scott: I think we need to continue the path that we’re going, we’re starting to create density. Find ways to retain talents.
Q: What is your message to big companies, why do they need to care about this startup things?
Scott: I think that when we do better, they’ll do better as well. They’re going to be able to attract more talents and provide more service to them.
Q: Why should they come to this region?
Scott: This region is the Silicon Valley for retail. You’ve got Fortune One and everything that supports it. There are vendors and world-class educational institution here.
Our contact info:
Bryon Western and Jim Lewis of Little Bird Systems talks with us about the internet of things.
The Business Model and How Money is Generated from this product
(JIM’s Perspective on what they do)
How to startup a company (based on their experience)
(BRYON’s Perspective on what they do)
ADVICE : Creating a company Based on Technology
What’s the future of Technology-based businesses in Arkansas
Our contact info:
Jeff and Jon talk with a local brewer, Lee Robinson, Founder and Co-Owner of Bentonville Brewing Company.
Q: What is the difference between nano and micro-brewery?
A: It’s based on volume production, what you can do annually. How many barrels a year - in Arkansas it’s 500 barrels a year is a micro-brewery. However this number increases every year, the bar keeps on raising for what can be considered as micro-brewery.
Q: How do you sell your beer?
A: We self-distribute and we don’t go through distributorship because that means a lot more costs,a lot more kegs and lot more inventories to get a good percentage of the keg.
Q: Your run your own tap room? Where is your tap room?
A: Yes, we run our own tap room. Its over here at 1000 Southeast 5th St in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Q: What is your background? Is that where you met Gavin Edwards (co-owner)?
A: My background is actually finance and real estate. Yes, we have worked together in real estate over the last few years, he was a realtor and I was a loan officer. He came into the brewery a little bit later in the game. It was me and another friend of mine who started it.
Q: About your brewmaster, how long he’s been doing it?
A: About 2 or 3 months now. But before him, we brought in a guy who is experienced so it is from that person where our current brewmaster has taken his technical background from.
Q: When you guys decided that you wanted to do this, how did you come to an agreement? Who’s gonna do what? What does the partnership look like and all that fun stuff?
A: A lot of handshakes and verbal. We do have a new operating agreement now but that’s probably one thing that we should have defined more clearly early on. We should have written out in detail what and whose role should it be because many would not do the roles they said they would do.
We did some other things, trading equity for work and build-out and stuff like that but it didn’t quite go as we planned but we all got it done in the end. I did all the licensing with the TTB and ABC, a lot of stuff, I didn’t know about. You can read all that stuff online but depending where you live at, you will have different circumstances to go through in getting a license.
Q: Now that you’re in the game, are you getting a little more confident with all that works, getting the traffic, getting the brand out there and all that?
A: Yes, we’re very excited how things are going so far. Our first brews were actually very good beers.The first time we had a bad batch, they got messed up, we got the wrong yeasts and we just flushed it down the drain.
Q: What do you think the outlook is for craft brew?
A: I think it’s very positive right now especially here in Benton County and in the Little Rock area, there is a lot of growth happening, there are a lot of breweries coming out.
Q: How has it been so far? Did it meet your expectations? Exceeded?
A: It has met my expectations. Right now, we’re paying the bills so that’s pretty good. We’re not really into real profit yet.
Q: When you get to capacity, what’s the plan? What will you do to expand?
A: That’s where it gets a little risky to me. We can add a little more areas and space but we will soon outgrow that space and that’s gonna be the next challenge - what we are going to do, should we stay in this small craft brewery or do mid-size brewery and that is where the risk will come in. It is something we should plan and think about thoroughly.
Q: Are you going to can as well?
A: If we decide to go, we need to move to another facility. That maybe an option for us.
Q: What do you think about some of the labels that are out?
A: Sometimes more is less, that is my personal opinion. I would like to keep it simple and basic and focus on the beer.
Q: What’s keeping you up at night?
A: Right now we are trying to maximize production and also manage accounts, making sure to keep all accounts that we have. And also, what beer to produce.
Q: How many different types of beer that you have now?
A: We’ve got 5 different types.
Q: Do you guys offer anything other than your own beer?
A: We have some wine in our brewery. We have some brewed coffee from Airship coffee. We’re looking at local root beer.
Q: Are you having fun?
A: Yes, I really enjoy starting business and running them day to day
Q: What about cleaning and water quality?
A: The whole brewing process is cleaning. Brewing is not difficult, it's a lot of hard work, taking good notes so you’d know what you did right, what you did wrong. And making sure that everything is very clean so you don't get infections. With the water quality, we run it through a carbon filter and we treat it with different salts to balance the water to the beer that we’re gonna make.
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In this episode, we are joined by Startup Junkie consultant Jayshica Amargos. She joins us in a fun conversation about business partnerships.
Our contact info: