If you step onto the eighth floor of the Simmons Tower in downtown Little Rock, you may think you’ve been transported to a Silicon Valley technology startup. At Apptegy, the walls are painted bright colors, fridges are stocked with LaCroix, and breakfast is served every morning at 7:30 a.m. From the outside, Apptegy HQ might seem to be all fun and perks, but inside, a dedicated team is intensely working to scale one of the fastest-growing education technology companies in the country.
“A common misconception about Apptegy is that it’s all about the fun,” says Apptegy’s vice president of sales, Casey Mikula, “when really, 99 percent of our day is about the grind and about pushing ourselves.”
Founded in 2013 and launched in 2015, the company has moved from CEO Jeston George’s spare bedroom to a packed floor in the Simmons Tower. The team has hired more than 150 employees, opened a satellite office in Monterrey, Mexico, secured three funding rounds to the tune of $20 million and signed more than 1,000 school districts across the country.
Apptegy’s products help K-12 school administrators market their districts and engage their communities. Competition from school choice programs has made marketing a top priority for schools across the country. “School leadership is often a thankless job that requires dedication,” says David Allan, Apptegy’s vice president of marketing. “Our tools help leaders take on the new challenge of marketing, without adding more work to their plates.”
The foundation of Apptegy’s success is its unique culture. “When deciding our values, we chose two that we would hire and fire by. If you aren’t willing to let people go who don’t live up to those values, they aren’t really values,” says George. “We landed on high performance and thoughtfulness.”
Thoughtfulness, George describes, is the skill of noticing an opportunity to value another person and acting on that impulse. “High performance,” on the other hand, “is so much more than just pushing yourself to work harder,” he says. “It’s about getting into the mindset that allows you to work at your best and constantly striving to improve yourself. If our employees are the same people six months from now as they are today, we’ll fail as a company.”
To encourage this growth, Apptegy promotes health and well-being in and outside of work. The company pays employees an annual travel stipend, provides a mental health stipend and offers unlimited time off. “These perks are not just nice-to-haves,” says Ashley Coleman, Apptegy’s chief of staff. “Working at Apptegy isn’t easy and to keep up with such a talented team, you have to push yourself. These benefits let our people take time to recharge their batteries, so they can be ready for new challenges when they come back to work.”
It’s not lost on Apptegy’s leadership that thoughtfulness and high performance are often at odds with one another. “Our values bump against each other all the time, but we like that tension,” says George. “Often, people turn decisions into this or that, when most of the time, with a little creativity, you can do both.”
As one of the few high-growth technology companies in the state, Apptegy is making an impact on the local community. “Apptegy is precisely the type of success story we need more of in Little Rock,” says Gabe Holmstrom, executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership. “Forward-thinking technology companies increasingly make up the workforce of today, and Apptegy is proving that entrepreneurs can find and attract talent in Little Rock.”
“A lot of people ask me why I started a technology company in Little Rock,” says George. “This is where I’ve lived almost my whole life. The kinds of jobs we hire can be hard to find in Arkansas. It’s been incredibly rewarding to bring these kinds of opportunities to my hometown.”
Apptegy plans to continue its accelerated growth in 2020. For hiring information, visit Apptegy.com/careers.
425 W Capital Avenue, Suite 800, Little Rock, AR 72201 • 501.613.0370 • apptegy.com