PrivacyStar, a company focused on providing consumers with comprehensive privacy on smartphones, today announced an expansion of its corporate headquarters into a new location in Conway.
PrivacyStar will be headquartered at 1111 Main St., above the Log Cabin Democrat and the Downtown Post Office.
The company, grown from one employee, Jeff Stalnaker, in 2009, now has 24 employees and will add 121 new jobs at an hourly average wage of $38 and invest $270,000 in the expansion.
Stalnaker said: "We’re looking for software developers and engineers with mobile application experience — that will be the majority of our jobs, jobs that will evolve over the next two years."
Charles Morgan, executive chairman of First Orion Corp., founder of PrivacyStar, made the announcement, adding that the company will be "aggressively searching for quality technical talent... and our plan is to find them right here in Arkansas."
Gov. Mike Beebe was on hand to congratulate the company’s expansion.
"PrivacyStar is a homegrown Arkansas business about to get a whole lot bigger," Beebe said. "It’s the latest example of how creative insight paired with technological know-how can create good jobs for our communities.
"We are rooting for PrivacyStar’s continued success in Conway in the coming years."
Essential to that success will be the cooperation among the state’s colleges and universities — especially the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock — to teach the courses relevant to technology in the 21st Century, Beebe said.
Morgan, a founder of Acxiom, said back in that company’s early days, he had a difficult time explaining what the company did.
"Well, we have names and addresses... ," he would say.
On Monday, however, he held up a new Samsung Galaxy smart phone and briefly explained that with PrivacyStar applications, a smart phone user can block and report unwanted callers, report violations of Do Not Call Registry and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations.
A Do Not Disturb feature allows consumers to send customized text messages such as "I’m driving" or "In a meeting" to callers.
Among other conveniences, local app users can find a directory of local business addresses — pizza places, pharmacies and phone numbers — at one click.
The company says it now has more than 1 million registered users, and more than 300,000 complaints have been filed with the FTC for unwanted calls.
Morgan said the company hopes to have its first international customer in 30-60 days.
"Arkansas is a great place to build a business," Morgan said.
Presiding over the announcement was Brad Lacy, CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and Conway Development Corp.
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at email@example.com and 505-1234.)