Advantage Capital announced Thursday that it has invested $2.3 million in First Orion, the parent company of PrivacyStar, a maker of call- and text-blocking software.
Construction of First Orion’s $15 million, 60,000-SF headquarters at 520 Main St. in the Argenta Historic District of North Little Rock is expected to wrap up next month.
The investment was made in connection with the federal and state New Markets Tax Credit program, which helps bring investment capital to areas like North Little Rock in order to promote business growth and job creation.
Advantage Capital's investment in First Orion was part of a larger NMTC investment in the company that totaled $4.5 million, according to Donya Hengehold, director of communications for the firm.
She told Arkansas Business by email that the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance provided the balance of the $4.5 million investment.
"This move comes at a pivotal time in our company's continuing expansion," said First Orion CEO Charles Morgan in a news release. "This is such an exciting time for First Orion, and we are thrilled to keep the momentum going in transforming the central Arkansas region into a prominent technology hub.
"With the additional capacity at our new headquarters, we anticipate hiring at least another 50 high-tech employees, helping to keep Arkansas' highly skilled workforce here in our state. The NMTC program is helping us reach these goals."
The headquarters will be the anchor tenant of the city's newly developed Argenta Plaza, and it can accommodate up to 400 employees.
Since 2014, First Orion has grown full-time employees from 36 to 204, according to the news release.
"We have seen strong results in Arkansas through our participation in the NMTC program, and we are excited to continue working with rapidly growing companies such as First Orion," said Damon Rawie of Advantage Capital. "Companies like First Orion are the types of businesses we look to invest in: those with growth potential and in a position to generate high-quality jobs, drive local economic growth and make a lasting impact in the local community."
In a statement, U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., called the First Orion investment is "a great example of what we aimed to achieve with the New Markets Tax Credit program."