Arkansas investors take majority stake in Franklin mobile app developer

Deal opens up government contracting opportunities

Investors associated with a young Arkansas company founded by an Army veteran have taken a majority stake in growing Franklin mobile app developer, Metova.

The investment group is being led by John Adams, founder and CEO of A4 Solutions, which is based in the Little Rock area and provides various IT support and logistics services from there and from offices in Georgia and Washington, D.C. Adams retired from the Army in 2009 and was an executive vice president at Janus Research Group before launching A4 last year.

The companies are not saying how much of a stake in Metova has changed hands. Metova founder Kevin Ross has kept a “significant equity interest” in the company and is staying on as president, with Adams as CEO.

Officials at Metova and A4, which will remain separate entities, say the investment will let each company piggyback on the other’s expertise. Metova — which has tweaked its name to Metova Mobile — will be able to market its development services to government agencies that already do business with A4. In turn, A4 — itself renamed Metova Federal Services — gets to add another set of products to its lineup.

“We turned down a lot of potential investors over the past few years, but John and his company are a good fit for Metova because they complement and add to our existing business rather than offering more of the same,” Ross said. “This is a chance for us to get in on the ground floor of the adoption of mobile in the government space […] We have the capabilities to hit the ground running and have an immediate impact.”

Metova Mobile will remain based in Cool Springs and plans to continue building its staff, which now numbers about 25. A big driver of that is expected to be the widespread adoption at various levels of the federal government of mobile applications. In a joint statement, the Metova entities pointed to the March launch of the Army Software Marketplace prototype that aims to roll out mobile training apps for soldiers to use on personal smartphones and tablets.

“It’s exciting to think about the room for dramatic job growth this announcement offers,” said Dave McAllister, Metova’s vice president of operations and the person in charge of filling developer talent needs. “This means more high-tech jobs in Nashville as well as in Augusta and Arkansas. We expect to step up our recruiting efforts immediately.”

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