Venture capitalists can boost Oklahoma success stories

Oklahoma must continue to diversify its economy to succeed in the decades to come. Business leaders must champion growth in areas that will create long-term stability, solve problems, and revolutionize industries.

We need the kinds of startups that will create jobs and expand our economic base to help fuel this economic growth. An underutilized method for incubating new businesses in the region is venture capital.

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Away from the “silicon bubble,” a growing wave of Oklahoma venture capital firms are accelerating the investment community by using a kind of Oklahoma standard for evaluating startups: prioritizing valuations and flows good-sized cash, and invest in companies that provide intrinsic value and change. Oklahoma City-based Cortado Ventures and Tulsa, along with i2E Inc., as well as Tulsa-based Atento Capital and OLSF Ventures, are among a growing list of key union partners investing in the state’s startups.

A key differentiator of regional venture capital is the commitment to fund companies based in or with strong ties to Oklahoma and the Midcontinent. There are great innovative ideas here in Oklahoma and across the Midcontinent that deserve this investment.

The technology and business development is also a bit different here in Oklahoma. We will succeed by building on our strengths and the industries that have supported our economy for generations, while looking to the future with innovative and transformative solutions. There is immense potential in scalable and early-stage technology companies in energy, logistics, life sciences and the future of work, industries with deep roots in the Midcontinent.

Oklahoma-backed companies like Boddle Learning, which was recognized by Google and rapper Pharrell Williams for its transformational 3D gaming tool to encourage math learning in K-6 students , have proven that good ideas and good technology are not exclusive to the ribs. By uncovering and incubating businesses in overlooked and undercapitalized sectors, Oklahoma and the midcontinent region is positioning itself for incredible success. That’s why we’ve redoubled our efforts and will announce a new investment vehicle that will invest up to $80 million in these businesses, because we know that entrepreneurship and technology in our state is on par with the rest. of the world. Venture capital is the catalyst that will transform lives here in Oklahoma.

It is heartening to see the state government’s support and encouragement of capital investment as a way to diversify the Oklahoma and Midcontinent economy. Bills like SB 915 and the Oklahoma Investment Act will create a more robust venture capital ecosystem and build a more diverse economy that will ultimately benefit everyone inside and out. out of state.

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This dynamic is promising. We recognize that we are facing a critical moment and that innovation must be at the forefront for every business to remain competitive in the future. Venture capital can tap into Oklahoma’s ingenuity and talent and will open up new avenues of funding for Oklahoma and Midcontinent businesses, creating a stronger, brighter future for all Oklahoma residents. ‘Oklahoma.

Nathaniel Harding is managing partner of Cortado Ventures in Oklahoma City.

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