The Story of Sooligan: From San Fran to Super Bowl Via NWA

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 12:00 am  

Sooligan co-founders Nikka Umil (left) and Natasia Malaihollo at the ARK Challenge Demo Day.

Innovate Arkansas adviser Mike Smith worked closely with Umil and Malaihollo, mentoring them through the Ark Challenge, which amounted to a startup boot camp. He’s a former Stephens Inc. executive who engineered private investments for the Stephens family. He knows a good investment when he sees one, and believes Sooligan is a good investment.

“Everyone that met this team recognized their tenacious enthusiasm and wanted to help with their progress,” he said.

Sooligan’s planned end game, fittingly, is big. Umil said the Super Bowl momentum will help establish

Sooligan in those 20 prominent college towns. One of them is College Station, Texas, and Sooligan will launch there the same time the famed South by Southwest festival kicks off this spring in nearby Austin.

“We expect to grow this way and get acquired by a major tech company like Yahoo or Google,” she said. “This may be far-fetched to many, but it’s a very realistic and natural route for someone in our space — mobile, social search and location. These tech giants are largely focused on these aspects and are in an arms race to dominate in this space.”



Please read our comments policy before commenting.