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VOL. 128 | NO. 108 | Tuesday, June 04, 2013

App Savvy

Memphis company finds niche in tech startup field

By Andy Meek

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Memphis’ entrepreneurial ecosystem has picked up a steady stream of buzz and success in recent years, attracting new participants, mentors, startups and accelerators.

Hardware integration specialist Jordan Davis works in the R&D lab at Prime Notion Technologies, a two-year-old mobile application development firm in Memphis that is adding new people and a new office.

(Prime Notion Technologies)

In all that activity, though, it’s sometimes forgotten that there are startups out there that entrepreneurs have built from the ground up pretty much on their own, forgoing outside help to rely purely on their own hustle.

Prime Notion Technologies Inc., a cross-platform mobile application development firm with an office Downtown, is one such company.

The 13-person firm, which custom-builds apps from scratch for clients, just passed its two-year anniversary and is in about as good a place as it could have hoped for at this time. It was founded in early 2011 essentially out of an apartment and coffee shops around town and become a corporation after three months. Soon after, it acquired a Downtown locale and began collecting talent.

The company just hired a new office administrator, and a visit to the company’s Downtown office shows it’s practically run out of space there.

Prime Notion Technologies also is building a presence outside the city. The company has leased space for an office in Austin, Texas, and it’s already got a programmer there.

In March, the company put out word that it’s looking to hire iOS developers, referring to the operating system used in Apple devices. The company has done work for a client list that includes large corporations and small businesses like Renshaw Property Management, for which the company helped craft a mobile app that allows renters to essentially cruise the streets while using their phone to search for a rental in the palm of their hand.

“In our industry, being able to accurately predict the future of mobile and enterprise technology is what’s going to be the key to growth and success,” said the company’s president and chief operating officer Daniel Smith. “So far, we’ve done a really good job with that, I feel like, as far as our team here. And I see it only growing in the future.”

Company CEO Cory Hymel said that the company is sitting in a sweet spot in the industry right now, because as more hardware and devices become Internet-capable, the desire to access them through mobile apps will grow.

Underscoring the urgency behind that demand is a new report from San Jose-based Ubiquiti Networks Inc. released at the end of May. In Ubiquiti’s “State of WiFi Report,” the company identified a growing demand for Wi-Fi access and availability, as the modern-day workforce increasingly relies on mobile devices and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Ubiquiti was founded by Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera.

“The accelerating demand for Wi-Fi everywhere means businesses need to plan for the future,” said Ubiquiti chief marketing officer David Hsieh in a statement about the report.

Prime Notion Technologies wants to be there when companies make those decisions. Moreover, launching in Memphis is a decision the company still looks back on as the right one, with its leaders praising the city as a strong place in which to grow a business.

“We’d given thought to setting up shop somewhere else, but ultimately Memphis did prove to be the best business decision,” Smith said. “We’ve built relationships here for our entire lives, and it’s an aerotropolis, where there’s a lot of business that goes in and out of this city as well as business that’s housed in this city. To me, that’s the most attractive thing to an entrepreneur that’s looking to get into the enterprise space like we are. Memphis has proven to be an absolute hero for us.”

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