Hollman Media is taking giant steps toward its goal of establishing the Kearney company as the "premier app developer in Nebraska."
A little more than a year ago, the company consisted of owner Travis Hollman and two other people. Today, the media firm employs a total of 10 people, a mix of full- and part-time workers.
"The app side of the business has really taken off," Hollman says. "We now have three people dedicated to app development."
Hollman Media designs, develops and supports custom websites, mobile websites, mobile phone apps and web apps. The firm specializes in several specialty services, including PickMyTickets.com, an online ticketing system used by the University of Nebraska at Kearney athletic department and other area organizations, an online mobile Rewards Club, and the WeatherThreat.com online school closings network.
The company was featured last spring in a New York Times article about an app it developed, My StuffFinder, which helps people locate misplaced items by using mapping, camera and GPS features. Hollman says the app's popularity soared after the New York Times review was published, from about 300 downloads a week to nearly 1,000 a day.
A graduate of UNK, Hollman has begun an internship program that taps into the students in his alma mater's technology programs as part of InternNE, a state-funded initiative through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development that gives some for-profit businesses financial assistance for internships.
Hollman also serves as an adjunct instructor at UNK, teaching a class in technology and society. "The subject generates all kinds of issues and ideas we can bring up in class," he says. "We get into some pretty nice debates."
Hollman Media has moved into a 35-year-old school building that affords the company about 7,000 square feet of space in which to grow. But in order to grow the business in the area of bidding on government projects, Hollman realized he needed someone with experience and good advice. That is where Chuck Beck stepped in.
Beck is a government contracting consultant working out of the Nebraska Business Development Center's Kearney office. Beck assisted Hollman Media with its federal registration and has been working with the company to identify other contracting opportunities with government agencies.
In addition to government contracting, Beck has been coordinating efforts with Marisol Rodriguez, NBDC's technology commercialization specialist, to explore opportunities within the Small Business Innovation Research, Small Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Program for Hollman Media.
"Chuck has been genuinely excited to work with us," Hollman says. ""He's very willing to make things happen and make resources available."
In September 2013, Hollman Media was awarded a grant with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a cattle heat stress application through the Agricultural Research Service.
" Without NBDC helping us, we never would have been able to get that project," Hollman says. "It's going to be a pretty big deal for us, the USDA and for Kearney."