Details Emerge About 2014 ARK Challenge in Fayetteville, Little Rock

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Mar. 17, 2014 12:39 am  

Chuong Nguyen of Streamix pitches during his Demo Day pitch at the inaugural ARK Challenge in 2012. (Photo by Beth Hall)

The ARK Challenge startup accelerator is expanding to Little Rock in 2014, funded by the state and private interests, and going forward will narrow its focus. 

Two installments of the ARK have been held in Fayetteville, funded by the federal Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. Fifteen and 10 startups from across the state, country and even the globe were brought in for the first two competitions.

For the first installments of 2014 planned for Fayetteville, just five startup teams will be chosen. They will receive $50,000 in seed funding up front as opposed to the $20,000 previously provided. Plus, winners will receive beta contracts in place of cash awards.

Innovate Arkansas will run the third and fourth installments, with "ARK 3" set to run from June through September in Fayetteville and "ARK 4" running September through November in Little Rock. Specific dates have yet to determined, but the Little Rock version will be held in ground floor space in the Block 2 building fronting East Markham, directly across from the Statehouse Convention Center.

Once the Little Rock edition of the ARK is complete, the space will revert to co-working space run by the Little Rock tech board.

Details about the Fayetteville installment have yet to be determined. The former Iceberg co-working space served as home base for many ARK activities in Fayetteville previously, but a new space is planned for the square in downtown Fayetteville.

Innovate Arkansas director Tom Dalton said the Little Rock installment likely will focus on data analytics. The first two ARK competitions focused on the northwest Arkansas industry cluster of retail, food processing and transportation and logistics, and Dalton said that would continue to be the case with ARK 3. 



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