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  • September 25, 2019 3:22 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    • Optimism
    • Ingenuity
    • Overcoming obstacles
    • Not taking NO for an answer
    • That can-do spirit

    These are just a few of the Oklahoma business traits we witnessed from the sharp middle school students who are part of WristWorld, our Pitch Presentation for September along with their adult mentor Michael Hirsch from Loveworks Leadership. 

    Our youngest OVF pitch presenters were possibly some of the most prepared, polished and poised yet. These young entrepreneurs do not believe in the “how it's always been done it” approach to business. The future of the WristWorld start-up and the careers of the youth involved looks very bright. Hopefully, you were as inspired and motivated by their Pitch Presentation as I was. If you missed it, catch the podcast on iTunes and YouTube.

    What happens after a start-up becomes a successful business? Potentially, a successful exit for the founder(s) at some point. That is exactly the story we will hear at our October Power Lunch. After a 30 year journey, Philip Kurtz, CEO of CareATC found his exit and will tell us all about it. CareATC provides customizable healthcare solutions to employers, an area of major focus and opportunity over the last decade. CareATC serves more than 250,000 patients through its partnership with 150 clients in 35 states.

    In my opinion, Kurtz 30-year journey from start to exit will be the perfect follow-up to the LoveWorks / WristWorld story of optimistic youth.

    The October Pitch Presenter is L. B. Dahle, CEO and Founder of ePathScreen, a medical device development company established to acquire and develop technologically promising devices, equipment and instruments in the medical and bio-medical market sector. The medical space is full of attention and opportunity right now. No doubt this will be another interesting and informative Pitch Presentation. 

    I love this time of the year. The weather is cooling off, football season has begun and the Oklahoma Venture Forum 2019-2020 session is off and running successfully. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at our October meeting. Bring a co-worker, a peer or an interested friend as your guest. We all work better when we work together. 

    Kyle Golding 
  • September 25, 2019 3:21 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Daniel Will is the Executive Director of Cowboy Technologies where he directs the strategy and activities of the company. Cowboy Technologies was organized in 2011 as a for-profit, limited-liability company owned by the OSU Research Foundation to be a catalyst for commercializing Oklahoma State University technology through successful startup companies. Through OSU researcher collaboration, Daniel and his team scan for and progress technologies that have a strong, commercially viable product-market fit. Cowboy Technologies provides business advising, sponsored research funding for technologies still at OSU, seed capital investment funding in operational startups, capital raise preparation and positioning, non-dilutive state and federal funding assistance, and access to scalable business facilities and amenities. Previous to joining Cowboy Technologies, Daniel worked for Agilent Technologies, Inc., a Fortune 500 life science and electronic diagnostics technology company, serving in a variety of roles including business development, product planning, marketing, sales, distribution channel manager, and product line manager. Daniel received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Kansas State University and his MBA at the University of Colorado.
    Cowboy Technologies Mission and Strategy 

    Cowboy Technologies was organized in 2011 as a for-profit, limited-liability company owned by the OSU Research Foundation to be a catalyst for commercializing Oklahoma State University's technology through successful startup companies.  Cowboy Technologies collaborates with the OSU Research Foundation’s Technology Development Center and OSU’s researchers to identify technologies that have commercial interest and viability, and progress them to later stages of development that will meet market needs.  It works closely with developers and entrepreneurial leaders to develop business models and go-to-market plans, and provide ongoing business advisory services to the team.  Cowboy Technologies additionally provides sponsored research investment for technology development while still at OSU, and seed capital investment in startups entering into operations with licensed OSU technology.  It also positions startups to raise new capital form aligned investment partners while also helping identify and apply for state and federal government sources of non-dilutive funding.  Finally, Cowboy Technologies helps enable startups with access to first class, scalable business facilities and amenities in Stillwater and the region. 

  • September 25, 2019 3:19 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    ePathScreen, LLC is a medical devices development company that holds patented technology for intelligent, cell recognition software used in cancer screening and diagnosis. Relying on proprietary algorithms, the software offers a true paradigm shift replacing human subjectivity with AI technological objectivity, self-learning, including improved accuracy and speed of delivery.  
    The ePathScreen software won the prestigious University Startup World Cup as the best in category as well as overall world winner, held in Denmark.   The company is currently preparing for clinical trials with third-party validation preparatory to FDA approval, after which the software will be taken to market.

    L.B. Dahle, CEO and Founder
    After earning an undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University in pre-med and international business, L.B. completed graduate studies in management, marketing and finance at OSU, Boise State, and international studies at Columbia University.  He founded a company while in graduate school before transitioning to insurance.  He was rapidly promoted and became area vice president and eventually president of an international division for PFSI, a $4 Billion insurance group (ultimately acquired by CONSECO), and thereafter Division President (domestic) for States General.   He is a former Member, International Insurance Council.
    After semi-retirement, he consulted with businesses under 100 Million in revenues in 16 different industries, ultimately founding his own consulting firm (LBDahle Enterprises) which he continues to operate.  His consulting practice evolved into L.B. serving as interim or permanent CEO for different clients' companies.  Since 2017 he has been affiliated with ePathScreen.  He has a passion for health and fitness, having lost two family members and several close friends to cancer.  L.B. is married with five children.  He loves time with family, reading, research, analytics, travel, and sports of all kinds.

  • September 25, 2019 3:18 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    After a 30 year journey, Philip Kurtz found his exit. 

    “When I got to CareATC,” says Kurtz of the company he recently exited, “it was like everything I’d done in my life had prepared me for this particular job. I believed if I could blend a lot of the tools I’d learned over the last 30 years, I could have a major impact.” 

    Those skill sets enabled Kurtz to grow a successful population health management company. At the October 9 OVF Power Lunch, he will outline key stops that need to be added to your itinerary long before you reach your exit. The easy to remember checklist includes momentum, market, and management. 

    “Your company must have momentum,” says Kurtz, who describes CareATC as a growth company. “I spent a lot of time on due diligence before I arrived at CareATC and the company wasn’t doing too poorly. But they didn’t have a lot of disciplines in place.”  

    So Kurtz set about implementing a budget and producing financial statements. By doing so, he was following an important ‘rule of the road.’ “One of the lessons I’ve learned is stick to what you know. When you stray from what you know, you may think that you can know it, but if you don’t have the time to learn it, you make a lot of mistakes.” In Kurtz’s case, staying with the familiar meant utilizing accounting practices as well as skills in data analytics applied to the health care field. (Two prior companies, Benefit Informatics and CIS Technologies, laid the groundwork for his most recent venture.)  

    Kurtz’s efforts put CareATC in the fast lane; today the population health management company cares for more than 250,000 patients through its partnership with 150 clients in 35 states. “The time to exit your company is when it’s in a growth mode,” says Kurtz. 

    Timing is also critical in another key area. “Investors want to see a big market,” says Kurtz. “If you are outperforming your peers, it drives strong valuation for your exit.” 

    So how big is CareATC’s market? It’s not all about the aforementioned statistics. CareATC tailors health care to the specific needs of employees. When CareATC partners with a company, it reduces the overall costs of healthcare while providing on-site clinics that offer opportunities for disease prevention and/or intervention. How many employers would like to save money while promoting a healthier workforce?   

    But before the momentum can be increased and the market can be addressed, management needs to be in place. This is another area where Philip Kurtz likes to stick with what he knows. “I’ve made really good friends with my management team,” he says. In fact, some of them have accompanied Kurtz on his 30 year journey. 

    “Everyone’s heard that with real estate, it’s all about location, location, location,” says the serial entrepreneur. “Well, when investors are looking at your business, it’s all about management, management, management.”  

    “If investors see chemistry in your management team, it’s infectious. That’s how important it is.” 

    “I’ve been in several companies,” says Kurtz. “A graceful exit from one company helps you establish credibility with the financial community.” 

    “What that means is it’s a little easier to get capital when you go back and knock on an investor’s door. Plus, other people are interested in coming on board.”  

    The exit from CareATC is bittersweet for Kurtz, who admits, “It’s hard to leave because I still have so much passion for the company.” 

    “But I want to spend time with my family. And I am pleased that the exit was successful and our investors received a very good financial return. The time to leave a company is when you would rather stay.”  

  • September 19, 2019 4:00 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    September 26th at OVF After Hours held at BBB of Central OK

    56:30 PM - 7:30 PM

    Register to Attend

    Dave King has been involved in high-tech entrepreneurialism since entering MIT in 1993. While still an undergraduate, he worked on one of the first voice-over-IP consumer telephony products, years before Skype. After graduating, he joined Active Control Experts, a startup that used a patented process to embed piezoelectric circuits in sports equipment, leading to the K2 Smart Ski, one of the bestselling skis in the United States for over 3 years. He then joined SynQor, Inc as the 13th employee. Over his 12 years at SynQor he helped to grow the company from the small startup it was in 1999 to a 200+ person international company with almost $100M in revenue by 2011. Mr. King designed and developed SynQor’s manufacturing shop floor tracking software platform, which was the first completely paperless component-level tracking system of its kind, receiving numerous accolades from customers like Cisco Systems, Intel, EMC, Compaq and deemed “best in class” by Nortel Networks. After three years managing the Software Development and Information Technology Team at SynQor, Mr. King shifted positions to focus on architecting large-scale, extensible, database driven systems. Seeing a need in the market for more generalizable and cross-disciplinary data application platforms, he resigned from SynQor in 2011 to found Exaptive, Inc.

    This event sponsored by 

  • September 16, 2019 2:06 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)


    The Oklahoma Venture Forum’s

    Venture of the Year Award and Most Promising New Business Awards are two of the most prestigious recognition a company can receive. They represent the triumph of the entrepreneurial dream and spirit.

    The Oklahoma Venture Forum, as a means of publicly recognizing the achievements of successful Oklahoma businesses, has produced the awards biennially since 1989.

    The Oklahoma Venture Forum is looking to you for nominations. We hope that you will share this invitation and application. 

    Download Applications

  • August 19, 2019 11:49 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)


    OVF Chairman's Perspective August 2019
    Kyle Golding
    The Golding Group

    Hello and welcome to the 2019-2020 Session of the Oklahoma Venture Forum. I am honored and humbled to be your Chairman for the next year. I am looking forward to working alongside all of you as we champion businesses ventures and economic development in the great state of Oklahoma. This has been the mission of OVF since its founding in 1987.

    Over the last 30+ years, OVF has become the preeminent Oklahoma organization promoting the formation of venture capital and development of entrepreneurship via monthly meetings and annual awards events. This year, we will continue that proud tradition but also be making changes to improve, expand and diversify OVF as a members-driven organization.

    All business, non-profits and professional groups need to grow in order to be successful. My focus as your Chairman for 2019-2020 will be creating growth opportunities for OVF in terms of membership, collaborations and impact on the economy of Oklahoma. This includes maximizing the value of OVF membership via the highest quality Pitch Presenters, Power Lunch Speakers, Awards and After Hour events plus exclusive members-only benefits.

    OVF will no longer be Oklahoma's "best-kept secret". Our board, members and guest will represent the best of Oklahoma business leadership for today and the future. Together, we will make our state a better place to do business.

    All of this begins in September with a Pitch Presentation from Wristworld (the youngest entrepreneurs to ever pitch at OVF) and Power Lunch Speaker Michael Hirsch, Director of Loveworks Leadership.

    Wristworld makes wearable augmented reality puzzle RPG developed by and for middle school students. They have recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $23,000 to complete a “store-ready” product.

    Seven years ago, entrepreneur Michael Hirsch launched Loveworks with the focus to start an afterschool program for middle school students. Under his leadership, Loveworks has impacted the lives of over 10,000 students. Wristworld is the first product to be developed by the students in the Loveworks program.

    Let's start the 2019-2020 Session off in a great way. Please join us on September 11th for networking and the best lunch in town plus presentations from our special guest the young entrepreneurs of Wristworld and Michael Hirsch with Loveworks.

    Don't forget, our September After Hours networking event on 9/26 at the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma office in downtown OKC. You are all invited for food, drinks and a surprise guest speaker.

    I look forward to seeing everyone in person soon as we all continue working together to make the Oklahoma Venture Forum the best membership organization for business leaders and the best hour you will spend each month developing yourself as a professional.

    Thank you for this opportunity.

  • August 19, 2019 11:38 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    OVF September Pitch Presenters


    What better way to design a toy-line than let kids be the creators?  That’s the idea behind Wristworld, the first product of a new company called Real Tech. Real Tech is a spinoff of Loveworks Leadership, an organization teaching leadership and entrepreneurialism to middle school students.  Real Tech gives middle school students hands-on experience with coding, design and marketing while collaborating with industry professionals to create real products, sold in the real marketplace.

    40% of the sale from each Wristworld product goes back into the program, supporting additional leadership and entrepreneurialism opportunities for more students.  You’ve never seen a product quite like this…because there’s never been a company quite like this. 

  • August 19, 2019 11:28 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Written by Lori Williams

    Loveworks Leadership Guides Middle School Students to Launch Companies 

    Although Michael Hirsch is a seven-time Ironman triathlete, he nearly lost a recent uphill battle. The athlete, who is also the Director of Loveworks Leadership, couldn’t swim, bike, or run his way to New York City. But ten young entrepreneurs in his leadership program needed to get to the International Toy Fair. Not to buy the latest gadget, but to market a product known as Wristworld.  

    These may be the youngest entrepreneurs you’ve ever met. (Yes, they will speak at the September 11 luncheon!) Ranging in age from nine to fifteen years old, these students developed the technology for an augmented reality (AR) wristband and wanted to demonstrate its capabilities at the largest toy fair in the world. But fair officials denied admission to anyone under 18.  

    “For months, the kids petitioned the officials,” recalls Michael Hirsch. “Finally, within a week of the fair opening, a loophole was discovered.” 

    “The kids became the youngest innovators to present at the Toy Fair. Not only that, but representatives from companies like Hasbro and Mattel were very impressed with our students as well as the practical way they utilized AR technology.” 

    Did Hirsch, who started Loveworks Leadership in 2011, expect to see two spinoff companies take shape even as his students realize their potential? “To be completely honest, no!” says Hirsch. “My wife and I say all the time, ‘We can’t believe we’re in the technology business!’” 

    Real Tech is the name of the business; its first product is Wristworld. Real Tech offers middle school students hands-on experience in coding, design and marketing with the goal of creating technology innovations for the marketplace.  

    But before Real Tech, there was Real Kitchen. Of it, Michael has this comment, “My wife and I laugh when we say, ‘We’re in the salsa business.’” But he knows it’s true when he walks into local Crest and Homeland stores and picks up a container of Real Kitchen fresh salsa. Real salsa made by real middle school students in the Loveworks Leadership program.  

    Although Hirsch and his team didn’t set out to launch two spinoff companies in the space of eight years, it is no surprise that Loveworks Leadership principles ignite such entrepreneurial potential in young people. That’s because experiential learning opportunities are at the heart of the Loveworks organization. 

    Through these experiences, middle school students in the Norman area where the organization is headquartered can discover potential, shape stories, affirm ideas and pursue action. They can also learn how to face those uphill battles.  

    “Even when the students heard they couldn’t attend the toy fair, they didn’t give up,” says Hirsch. “There was an obstacle in their way. Overcoming that obstacle will help prepare them for what they face as they move forward.”  

    Moving forward is definitely on the Loveworks schedule. Students in the Norman area who are in the 6th through 8th grade can apply online for the after school leadership program. This fall will also see the launch of Wristworld just in time for the holiday season. (Check the website for sale information.) “None of this would be possible without the selfless business professionals who help us,” says Michael Hirsch. “My wife and I scratch our heads all the time and ask, ‘How do they find the time to give to our organization?’” 

    “Without the volunteer mentors, these students’ stories would not be written.” 

  • August 19, 2019 11:25 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)


    Member Highlight: Sarah Dickson, Edmond Economic Development Authority

    Sarah Dickson, APR, is the communications director for the Edmond Economic Development Authority (EEDA). The EEDA exists to offer resources that stimulate the growth of Edmond’s economy by creating and maintaining an optimum environment for both new and existing businesses, offering services that facilitate the growth and expansion of those businesses and generating opportunities to increase the sales tax base of the city of Edmond. Sarah has been with the EEDA for 10 years, serving in multiple communications roles. She is responsible for producing workforce, economic and statistical reports; compiling demographic reports; and managing all communications, including website and social media updates, news releases, annual publication, advertisements and e-newsletters. Sarah is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (OU/EDI), during which she was a Derieth Sutton Legacy Scholarship recipient. She is also a graduate of Leadership Edmond Class XXV and has completed the Francis Tuttle Technology Center Leadership Development Academy. Sarah is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America and recently earned the professional distinction of Accredited in Public Relations, demonstrating broad knowledge, experience and professional judgement in the field. Sarah is also active in the Greater Oklahoma City Partnership, a 10-county regional economic development marketing organization, and is a long-time Edmond Mobile Meals volunteer. Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma. 

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