Women in Tech

March 4, 2021

Business

Bentonville's 'Ox' Hits $3.5M in Seed Funding

Ox, the Bentonville-based augmented reality supply chain company (formerly known as Oculogx), has recently secured $3.5 million in seed funding that will be used to expand the company's operations.

  • Ox provides omnichannel order fulfillment software using augmented reality (AR) that makes order picking faster and more accurate for customers such as Walmart, Google, and Newell Brands. -Talk Business & Politics
  • The funding round was led by MaC Venture Capital and Cortado Ventures, and included additional participation from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Vuzix, Florida Funders, KCRise Fund and Willow Growth Partners. The funding will allow the company to invest in partnerships, expand its operations and develop a wider in-house team. -Ox
  • “I realized that in order to keep up with the massive and ever-growing retail market, traditional supply chains needed help catching up to the competition," CEO Charu Thomas said.
  • Thomas believes seed funding can typically sustain business for up to 24 months - and the company is committed to that growth - after just one year on the market, Ox had a 3600% return on investment. You can read the full press release HERE.

Economic Development

Northwest Arkansas' Continual Growth

NWA Daily (8th Street Market; Bentonville)

Northwest Arkansas now ranks as one of the most popular destinations for talent relocating to mid-size markets in the US. Mid-size markets (more affordable metro areas) are growing in attractiveness across the country, and the trend has greatly accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The desire for an alternative to major cities (such as LA, Chicago, and New York) is often attributed to the remote work shift, expensive housing markets, and densely populated metros.
  • In 2020, Arkansas ranked No. 10 among U.S. states for inbound movers, according to the National Migration Study. Furthermore, NWA is also one of the fastest growing metros in the country, ranking high for quality of life and low for cost of living.
  • The same study showed Arkansas experienced a 59% inbound percentage as part of a larger migration to the southern states, and jobs were the primary reason for individuals relocating to Arkansas.
  • Companies that also make the switch to mid-size markets experience growth rates up to 20%. According to AEDC, smaller metros provide the most optimal opportunities for companies seeking access to talent, and workforce availability is driving investment to alternative locations. -AEDC

Entertainment

A New Meaning to Cycle Bar

Pedal Pub Miami

Last night Fayetteville City Council approved what would be one of the first pedal taverns in the region. Pedal Pub, found in mostly larger cities, has expressed an interest in expanding to Fayetteville and was approved.

  • According to twitter, the City Council approved two carriages for operation with the possibility to expand to upwards of 10 in total.
  • So, what are these things? Founded in 2007, Pedal Pub is now in more than 50 markets. The idea is from a Netherland style past time - beer and biking. You gather a group of friends (or strangers), and hop on the bike for an afternoon cruise around town while drinking some cold refreshments.
  • No word yet on when these things will be cruising around town, but we will be sure to keep you posted. In the meantime, you can discover more about the company HERE. You can view the full City Council agenda HERE.

Community

Warm Hearts Saved Lives During Winter Blast

In late February, the City of Fayetteville received federal approval to allocate $50,000 from its Community Development Block Grant program to use towards the city's homeless community affected by extreme winter weather conditions.

  • When sub-zero temperatures swept across the state in recent weeks, 7 Hills Homeless Center raised approximately $51,805 in one week to aid in the response.
  • In addition, volunteers with the Salvation Army, New Beginnings and Northwest Arkansas Continuum of Care began outreach at camps and got people sheltered. SA shelters were open 24/7 in both Bentonville and Fayetteville. Food and transportation from hotels and shelters were also provided.
  • As a result, the 7 Hills center placed 103 people in Fayetteville hotels, logged more than 90 hours of outreach at camps, and totaled more than 200 bags of food delivered and 40 rides. -NWA Democrat-Gazette
  • "I don't think we should ever talk about homelessness without talking about that consensus in America - that housing is both a human right and that our elected leaders should do more to realize that right... Things don't have to be this way," said Solomon Burchfield with 7 Hill's New Beginnings program. -NWA Democrat-Gazette

Community

What's New NWA?

NWA Daily (Table Mesa; Bentonville)

The month of February saw big changes in NWA - new restaurants, coffee shops, parks, trails and more are popping up faster than Razorback Athletics national rankings. Leisurlist put together an all-inclusive guide to everything bright and shiny in NWA. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Fayetteville: Lift Coffee Bar is moving into the former Puritan Uptown space, which has been vacant for over a year; Wilson Park is getting a major facelift that will include covered areas to sit and eat, watch volleyball or tennis, and more; Mojo's Pints and Pies is also now open in East Fayetteville.
  • Bentonville: A new market from Table Mesa is coming to Downtown Bentonville - the cafe will offer coffee, baked goods, local produce, salsas, sauces (including many of Table Mesa's specialty sauces), meats, cheeses, and more!
  • Rogers: McClard's Bar-B-Q IS COMING TO ROGERS. The popular Hot Springs joint will open a second location in Pinnacle in the former Pinnacle Bar & Grill space and hope to open in April. 'Nuff said.
  • Springdale: A drive-through ONLY Starbucks is coming to Downtown Springdale, along with a Chick-fil-A franchise located at the corner of Sunset Avenue and Gene George Blvd.

Interested in more? View the full list HERE.

Business

Celebrate These Women in Tech All Month Long

Happy Women's History Month! In the last 100 years, issues pertaining to women's rights in this country have made significant strides. Just 58 years ago, President JFK signed into order the Equal Pay Act, which prohibited sex-based wage discrimination between men and women performing the same duties in the workplace.

  • More specifically, industries such as the tech sector are continuing to fight an uphill battle when it comes to closing the gaping gender gap. Across the tech industry, women make up roughly 28% of the workforce, and funding for tech startups founded by women hovers below 3% (2.7% for women of color).
  • As the 2021 NWA Tech Summit approaches, Executive Director Ashley Wardlow said she is excited about the possibilities of the Summit and is looking forward to aligning efforts with the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion made by the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • The NWA Tech Summit's key areas of interest:
    • Growing diversity among the NWA Tech Summit committee.
    • Providing underrepresented communities, including K-12 and college students, with access to Tech Summit content.
    • Bringing an array of diverse perspectives to Tech Summit programming.
    • Partnering with minority-owned vendors.
    • Supporting community partners who serve.
  • Read the full statement HERE.

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