Tech firms Inuvo and First Orion/PrivacyStar officially unveiled their new space in the River Market District's Museum Building on Thursday, promising to add an additional 75 workers next year.
Each firm is leasing about 13,000-SF in the building, owned by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman. In April, the firms announced they would be making the move from Conway to downtown Little Rock.
Both companies have ties to former Acxiom Corp. CEO Charles Morgan. Morgan is a member of Inuvo's board of directors and a major shareholder in the public company, and he is chairman and CEO of PrivacyStar, which makes a call and text blocking app for smartphones. Inuvo CEO Richard Howe is a former chief marketing officer for Acxiom.
Inuvo is a digital publishing and ad-tech business that manages much of PrivacyStar's IT work. It moved to Conway from New York City in 2013.
Privately held First Orion is the parent company that does business as PrivacyStar. It also maintains offices in Dallas and Seattle.
Together, the firms employ around 125 people. Morgan said the firms should add another 75 workers in 2016.
"Downtown Little Rock is an exciting place to be, and as nice as any city in America," Morgan said in a news release. "We are happy to grow our company in the River Market district, near the Little Rock Tech Park, and are looking forward to our continued growth. We are building technology and building careers."
PrivacyStar, Morgan noted, has seen consistent revenue growth of 5 percent or more per month. The firm reports monthly results of more than 10 million blocked calls, 300,000 new blocked numbers, 450,000 mobile registrations and 300,000 complaints filed through the PrivacyStar app with the Federal Trade Commission. Those complaints representing 21 percent of all FTC complaints and make PrivacyStar the top contributor to the FTC compliant database, he said.
Howe said Inuvo saw $19 million in revenue in the last quarter, up from $16.7 million in the second quarter.
On every level, Inuvo's performance has improved since the move to Arkansas despite those who thought it would lead to financial ruin, Howe said. He said Inuvo has paid out $10.5 million in payroll benefits and spent about $2.5 million in goods and services since it moved to Arkansas.
Monday marked the first official day in the new space for the firms, which started remodeling in May. Herron Horton Architects of Little Rock led the design project, and Morgan credited Hussman for allowing the firms to apply creative design in the remodel.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke at the grand opening event, saying the firm's move solidifies Little Rock's potential as a national microhub for tech startups. He also cited the computer science initiative he guided through the state Legislature as evidence of the state's commitment to growing a tech talent base.
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