About Us

Improving Lives through Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Startup Junkie

Through united efforts, the Startup Junkie team is improving lives through innovation and entrepreneurship. Startup Junkie Consulting marked its beginnings in 2008 and formally organized as an LLC in 2011 by offering consulting services at no-cost to entrepreneurs. In order to expand the reach, impact, and depth of services, Startup Junkie Foundation was born in 2015. As two companies sharing the same purpose, mission, vision, and values, the team is jointly building entrepreneurial ecosystems in Northwest Arkansas through providing no-cost, one-on-one consulting; events, workshops, and programs; and access to capital and talent. Extending outside of the Ozarks region, Startup Junkie Consulting is also boosting emerging entrepreneurial communities spanning from Canada to South America.


The Conductor is a public-private partnership between the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie Consulting, the Conductor drives innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic empowerment in Central Arkansas. Learn more about their services and impact here.

Meet the Team

Jeff Amerine

Founding Principal, Startup Junkie Consulting

Jeff is one of the key leaders nationally involved with the creation of lasting venture ecosystems. Jeff has held senior leadership positions in nine startups and three Fortune 500 companies, and he has made more than 80+ angel investments into new ventures and small businesses either directly or through the funds he manages. Jeff now leads Startup Junkie Consulting and Cadron Capital partners. Jeff served as Associate Vice Provost, Research and Economic Development, and Director of Technology Ventures at the University of Arkansas until leaving to pursue Startup Junkie Consulting full-time. His work at the University canvassed every aspect of the commercialization of life science, biotech, medical devices, healthcare information technology, pharma, and other areas of scientific and technical innovation. Jeff is a recognized expert in lean startup methodology and customer development processes. In addition, Jeff is an adjunct professor and teaches entrepreneurship at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Prior to all of this, Jeff served six years as United States Air Force Officer, working in the Strategic Air Command as a missile launch officer and later in research and development acquisition. Jeff graduated from United States Naval Academy in 1984 and holds a Master of Science in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas. He is a certified Project Management Institute Project Management Professional (PMP).

Haley Allgood - Executive Director

Haley Allgood

Executive Director, Startup Junkie Foundation

As Executive Director of Startup Junkie Foundation, Haley Allgood leads programs focused on entrepreneurial education, inclusive ecosystem development, and workforce training. She has been a key member of the NWA startup community,  providing assistance to startups and small businesses in Northwest Arkansas since 2014. Her expertise lies in contract management, enterprise sales, and operations. Haley holds a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the Sam M. Walton College of Business and a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arkansas. Haley was recognized in the 2017 cohort of “The New Influentials: 20 in Their 20’s” by Arkansas Business and was awarded the 2016 Women Small Business Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Arkansas District Office for her work leading inclusive programs such as the Ozarks Regional InnovateHER competition, the 2.7.0. Accelerator, and ScaleUp Ozarks.

Brett Amerine

Chief Operating Officer, Startup Junkie Consulting

Brett is the Chairman and Co-Founder of the Startup Junkie Foundation, the Chief Operating Officer at Startup Junkie Consulting, managing member of the Tonic Fund, Co-Founder and Partner of IdeaFame, and the Co-Founder and General Partner at Cadron Capital Partners. Prior to this, Brett served nearly 5 years in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Los Angeles, California, as a United States Air Force Officer specializing in project management and contract management. Brett led high-visibility, multi-million and billion-dollar service, construction, and aerospace contracts and project teams. Brett began his career as a Summer Financial Analyst at Walmart’s Headquarters where he focused on the Optical Finance Department leading operational efficiency projects. Brett graduated from the University of Arkansas College of Engineering with a master’s degree in Operations Management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business. Northwest Arkansas Business Journal named Brett as one of the region’s “Fast 15”. Brett is a certified Project Management Institute Project Management Professional (PMP).

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Michael Iseman

Chief Relationship Officer, Startup Junkie Foundation

Michael is both a connector and a community organizer. During his tenure at Startup Junkie, he has assisted with more than 500 new ventures.  He has lead initiatives including the NWA Venture MashUp, co-hosting and producing the Startup Junkies Podcast, and teaching the 8th grade entrepreneurship course at The New School. He is quick to pursue any new opportunity aimed at building the talent, capital, and community pillars that are required to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northwest Arkansas. Michael is also an entrepreneur in his own right. He has completed a board game launch with a successful Kickstarter campaign and co-founded BioBotic Systems, a venture-backed medical device company that began as an honors thesis project at the University of Arkansas. Michael graduated from the University of Arkansas with a finance degree in 2014. Outside of the office Michael likes running marathons, conversations around campfires, and any activity that involves playing outside.

Phyl Amerine

Executive Consultant, Startup Junkie Consulting

Phyl has worked as a volunteer and advisor in nonprofit marketing for over 12 years. She has been involved in the creation of eight startups. She holds the honor of having been recognized by Governor Mike Huckabee for her volunteer work. Phyl attended Bowie State University, where she majored in Communications. She began her professional career as a daily newspaper reporter covering the Wyoming state government and the early careers of Dick Cheney and Alan Simpson. In her first startup, she was responsible for developing all market strategies for international licensing and partner selection with significant emphasis in Korea, China, Spain, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Singapore and India. She defined market opportunity and strategy for one of the initial Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in India. In another startup, she formed a strategic relationship with a Korean-based international telecommunications carrier, successfully gained FCC 214 licensing for US operations, and served as General Manager of Marketing. Phyl is also currently active in the local investment community.

Megan Frohardt - Executive Consultant

Megan Frohardt, CPA

Executive Consultant, Startup Junkie Foundation

Megan has always had a passion for sustainable, long-term community development, especially through cross-sector collaboration. This fueled the harmonious combination of her education, involvement, and professional experience to support the pursuit of this passion. Her previous roles include providing supplemental instruction for collegiate data analytics classes, governmental reporting under the financial controller in Bartlesville, Oklahoma for a Fortune 100 company, auditing both publicly traded and privately held companies in NWA, and financial consulting for economic development projects in Mozambique. Megan is a graduate of the Walton College Graduate School of Business where she received both her Master’s of Accountancy and her M.B.A. With her background in accounting, data analytics, and community development projects, she works with startups to build financial proformas, create budgets, determine strategic price setting, and provide general accounting and operation management support.

Ellen Brune, Ph.D.

Senior Entrepreneur in Residence, Startup Junkie Foundation

As the Senior Entrepreneur in Residence, Ellen’s focus is growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem for science based startups and craft food and beverage ventures. Ellen has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and is the Founder of Boston Mountain Biotech (www.mtnbio.com) in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In her role as a mentor to the startup community, Ellen has provided support in the areas of business development and strategy, research validation, commercialization studies, and patent strategy. To support youth development, Ellen is a coach with the Arkansas State Interscholastic Cycling Association and the Little Bella’s program which helps build character and confidence through mountain biking.

Jeff Charlson

Jeff Charlson

Senior Entrepreneur in Residence, Startup Junkie Foundation

Jeff is the lead partner of Bike Rack Brewing Co., which just expanded to a 2nd location, and uses his strong background in business & technology to champion the start-up environment in NW Arkansas. As Senior Entrepreneur in Residence for Startup Junkie, he is tasked with connecting startups to the large corporations in NWA and with providing mentorship, consulting, and technical assistance. Jeff serves as an executive board member of the greater Bentonville Chamber of Commerce. Jeff also has a wealth of corporate experience with a successful 25 year Fortune 500 career. He was the former CTO of Rockfish, a digital marketing and advertising agency. Jeff was a global corporate officer for 8 years at Walmart leading enterprise IT efforts and technology for Sam’s Club. Prior to a 12 year career at Walmart, Jeff spent 9 years at General Electric leading business teams and 6 Sigma efforts within GE and 4 years as a sales leader within the Maytag Company. Jeff graduated with an M.B.A. from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX and has a B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa.

Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem


We are grateful for the Walton Family Foundation, the EDA, the SBA, the City of Fayetteville, and other organizations that support our vision of improving lives through entrepreneurship. The positive impact of an inclusive, vibrant, and supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem on communities is paramount. The ongoing financial support from our partnerships allows us to serve entrepreneurs cost-free!


Collaboration is the key to building a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Our partners range from the Arkansas Research Alliance to Walmart Technology and the University of Arkansas. Our community and services are stronger together to better support entrepreneurs!