Skip to content
Winrock International

Startup Recruiting Fund at Winrock International invests in AI electromagnetic spectrum technology company

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. ─ The Startup Recruiting Fund at Winrock International ─ the first not-for-profit, evergreen fund aimed at recruiting high-growth startups to Arkansas ─ has announced an investment in Xtremis, an AI electromagnetic spectrum technology company that was spun-out of Vanderbilt University in 2021 through the Civil Military Innovation Institute, Defense Innovation Incubator. Proceeds from the investment will go towards the development of Xtremis’ new Radio Frequency engineering campus and product center in Washington County, Arkansas. This site, which has been named the Devil’s Den Proving Ground, will be a unique national resource for the development of advanced electromagnetic spectrum technologies.

Winrock’s Enterprise Ecosystem team assisted Xtremis as the company assessed the feasibility of scaling its operations in Arkansas. The company weighed numerous factors, including geography and land resources, the potential to develop research partnerships, the availability of local talent and the potential to recruit additional talent to the region.

The Startup Recruiting Fund at Winrock, supported by the Walton Family Foundation, is the state’s first fund to address the lack of capital for recruiting high-growth startups to Arkansas. The fund makes equity investments in private companies. Investment size varies and is seeded by a grant from WFF. It aims to attract high-growth startups to the state by providing professional support and investment.

“We are tremendously excited about Xtremis’ decision to come to Arkansas,” said David Sanders, director of the Enterprise Ecosystem at Winrock. “The company embodies the forward-thinking and high-impact enterprise we aim to attract to our state. Xtremis not only brings dynamic leadership and cutting-edge technology to Arkansas but also addresses critical challenges in civilian and military contexts. Our work with Xtremis, which has stretched over two years, and this investment underscores our commitment to recruiting innovative companies to the state and fostering an environment where companies will want to come to Arkansas.”

Xtremis is the second firm recruited to Arkansas through Winrock’s Startup Recruiting Fund. In January of 2023, the fund invested in Simporter after recruiting the AI retail technology platform company to Bentonville, Arkansas, from its previous location in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The increasing dependence of military and civilian technology on wireless communications has expanded demand for Radio Frequency spectrum access. Growth in demand for spectrum is driving rapid adoption of Xtremis’ products, which enable reliable, uninterrupted wireless communications even in congested radio frequency environments. Xtremis is planning to expand its workforce in Northwest Arkansas to 19 employees over the next 12 months, including the creation of funded research positions at the University of Arkansas’ Bell College of Engineering. Xtremis’ five-year plan projects approximately 200 company hires and 1,250 indirect, high-tech jobs that will be created in the Northwest Arkansas corridor.

“We are grateful to the team at Winrock for their support throughout the process and for their investment through the Startup Recruiting Fund,” said Xtremis CEO Adam Jay Harrison. “There are very few places in the country with the talent, geography, and local resources to host a project like the Devil’s Den Proving Ground ─ a first-of-its-kind Radio Frequency research and testing facility, pioneering innovation and excellence in the realm of Radio Frequency spectrum engineering. The state-of-the-art infrastructure we are building at the Proving Ground will provide a platform for spectrum innovation that will help ensure America’s competitiveness in this critical technology area. And we are proud to be doing this work in Arkansas.”

Xtremis was established in 2021 by a group of researchers from Vanderbilt University who won two challenge competitions sponsored by the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the leading defense research organization in the country. In addition to utilizing technologies developed through the DARPA challenges, Xtremis has developed a portfolio of additional intellectual property. Xtremis leverages advanced AI, data science and automation technologies to improve spectrum utilization and is building a massively distributed information system through three services that virtualize the spectrum, enabling dynamic, scalable access by Radio Frequency and wireless assets, on-demand, at machine speed. Xtremis works closely with critical U.S. and international agencies to deploy an integrated civil-military spectrum deconfliction and monitoring platform.

About Winrock International

Winrock International is a recognized leader in U.S. and international development with a focus on social, agricultural and environmental issues. Inspired by its namesake, Winthrop Rockefeller, Winrock combines scientific and technical expertise with entrepreneurial innovation to deliver market-based solutions that improve lives around the world. Winrock’s mission is to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources across the globe.

About Winrock’s Enterprise Ecosystem Team

The mission of Winrock’s Enterprise Ecosystem Team is to bolster Arkansas’ economy through startup company acceleration and incubation through high-impact programs, coaching, mentorship, and early-stage capital investments.

The Startup Recruiting Fund at Winrock International is the state’s first not-for-profit, evergreen fund to attract high-growth startups to Arkansas. It focuses on startups that meet specific criteria for support and investment. The fund targets startups with scaling potential, meaning they are in the process of scaling or are prepared for rapid growth. It seeks startups that are high-wage job creators, those likely to generate high-paying jobs and contribute to Arkansas’s economic development. The fund also looks for industry problem solvers and companies addressing significant industry challenges with innovative technologies. Additionally, it aims to attract startups that enhance and strengthen the state’s startup ecosystem. Finally, the fund targets startups with dynamic leadership, emphasizing companies led by visionary individuals who can drive further innovation and growth.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation, led by three generations of the descendants of founders Sam and Helen Walton, focuses on creating opportunities for people and communities. Their work includes improving K-12 education, conserving rivers and oceans, and investing in Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. Learn more at