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Frisco startup moving to Denton before big summer launch

"Imagine Facebook, TripAdvisor and Expedia [in one], focused on the outdoor world," Craig Pettigrew says of his company, Upventur. 

The digital platform startup will launch this summer, and its headquarters soon will be in Denton. 

The company signed a lease this week for the final 4,000 square feet at the Railyard, a tech-focused development that also houses Stoke, a city-sponsored co-working space. A handful of the company's 12 employees will start working at Stoke this week, leaving their current offices in Frisco.

The company started in 2012 as a mobile application to plan and manage outdoor trips, and officials have been working on how to expand it, Pettigrew said. The final product will launch in July at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show in Salt Lake City. 

The goal is to create a community of people who love the outdoors to plan, book and review outdoor adventures. 

"You can basically come to our platform, learn about all those types of activities, connect with people who do those activities, and book those trips as well," Pettigrew said. 

Upventur's board members work at companies such as Spirit Airlines and National Geographic magazine, and others have founded extreme sports competitions like Gravity Games.

Glen Farris, a commercial realtor with Verus Advisors, was connected with Upventur leaders earlier this year as they looked for spaces. Once he showed them the space at the Railyard, Pettigrew knew this was it. 

Pettigrew said he wants to bring a "Google-esque" office vibe to Denton, complete with a rock climbing wall. 

"Our big goal is all about the culture that we build within our company; we want to make it the coolest place to work in Denton," he said. "Whether you're into the outdoors or not, we want people to knock down doors to come work for us." 

He anticipates hiring up to 30 employees by the end of the year. With this in mind, he said he was attracted to Denton because of the potential talent pool from the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University. 

Stoke director Heather Gregory said she is excited to have some of the team in the co-working space throughout the rest of spring and summer. The Upventur team has four dedicated spots reserved at Stoke, and they anticipate sometimes having more people work at the space. 

They've expressed interest in getting involved with mentoring and becoming a bigger part of community through programming, Gregory said, adding that kind of connection will help propel Stoke and tech in the city forward.

"It's huge for us to have — for Stoke and for Denton — to have a company move here because of amenities and the community," she said. "They have a big goal, so having that kind of startup energy I think will just be really exciting, and for us physically, it helps anchor down the dedicated space here as well."

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889.