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  • April 23, 2019 8:08 AM | Anonymous

    May 8th at the Oklahoma History Center is our Chairman’s Award for Economic Impact event, and I want to see you there. It is a great ending to our year of luncheons and events.
    We are very pleased to be able to present the Chairman’s award to the Chickasaw Nation and its Governor Bill Anoatubby. Most of us are very familiar with the various business operations owned by the Chickasaw Nation. I find it fascinating how the tribal leadership and business development team work towards meeting their mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people. They are not only interested in a good business they also need it to be sustainable and provide for the overall quality of life.
    Tribal leadership understands that gaming and casinos are a valuable contribution, but one which depends critically on a regulatory environment which could change at any time. Being able to develop long-term returns from the resources gained through this happy circumstance is a difficult mission. Observe how many of the oil-rich Gulf States still depend essentially on a natural resource – oil – for the vast preponderance of their wealth and influence.
    And in Oklahoma, we too are recipients of natural resources which allow the state to flourish. Oil, natural gas, agriculture, mining, all are extractive industries which have brought wealth to us since our state was founded.
    The question is: where do we go from here? The Venture Forum was created in response to the banking crisis, and the concomitant business crisis, of the 1980s. If we could develop more entrepreneurial businesses in our state, that could help us weather whatever occurs in our extractive economy.
    Now 3o years later, we still are dependent on oil and natural gas for the prosperity of our state. Because tax collections are higher this year, there will be more money for our legislature to budget, but if oil and gas prices decline, we go back down the same hill as before.
    In this, my ninth chairman’s report to you all, I am more convinced of the need and role for a Venture Forum to help grow our entrepreneurs and their business. And it is an ongoing process. That is why I am concerned by a small but noticeable dip in our luncheon and after hour’s event attendance. If we are to continue our mission, we need to develop the next generation of those interested in strengthening the entrepreneur ecosystem of Oklahoma.
    I look forward to seeing you – and a guest! – at an upcoming OVF event. Remember that if you have someone you feel should attend one of our events, and you cannot afford to bring them as a guest, tell me and I will make it happen.

  • March 24, 2019 5:16 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    presented by

    It is with great distinction and great humility that the Oklahoma Venture Forum honors Chickasaw Nation with this year’s OVF Chairman’s Award for Economic Impact presented by Insperity.

    The Award for Economic Impact recognizes an individual or an organization for exceptional contributions to the Oklahoma economy. This award honors those who do more than run a business. It celebrates the achievement of industrial progress balanced with compassionate leadership and it honors those who emphasize investments in the human spirit as well as the bottom line.

    The Oklahoma Venture Forum’s Award for Economic Impact has been bestowed to many impactful organizations including The Oklahoma Thunder and Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores.
    This year our esteemed Award Sponsor, the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma, will present the bi-annual award to Governor Bill Anoatubby, who will receive the award on behalf of the Chickasaw Nation. 
    Bill Anoatubby is the current governor of the Chickasaw Nation and has served in this position since 1987. Prior to his governorship, Anoatubby served as lieutenant governor in Overton James’ administration for two terms.
    We are excited to announce that our Keynote speaker will be Piyush Patel, Speaker, Angel Investor and Best-Selling Author of Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work. Mr. Patel has 20 years’ experience as an entrepreneur and is the former CEO of Digital-Tutors.

    This year our esteemed Award Sponsor, the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma, will present the bi-annual award to Governor Bill Anoatubby, who will receive the award on behalf of the Chickasaw Nation. 

    Bill Anoatubby is the current governor of the Chickasaw Nation and has served in this position since 1987. Prior to his governorship, Anoatubby served as lieutenant governor in Overton James’ administration for two terms.

    We are excited to announce that our Keynote speaker will be Piyush Patel, Speaker, Angel Investor and Best-Selling Author of Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work. Mr. Patel has 20 years’ experience as an entrepreneur and is the former CEO of Digital-Tutors.


    Must register to attend. 


  • March 24, 2019 5:14 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    OVF Member Highlight

    Ryan Cargill

    Ryan Cargill is vice president of business development for i2E, a venture capital fund that provides growth capital to earl-stage companies in Oklahoma. Over the past year i2E has raised more than $10 million for early-stage companies in Oklahoma through a combination of deal specific co-investment and a new privately managed venture fund. Ryan’s role is to manage all investor related efforts including fundraising and the creation of new strategic partnerships. Ryan also serves as director of Seed Step Angels, Oklahoma’s largest angel investor group that is comprised of accredited investors (by SEC standards) including individuals, family offices, non-profit endowment managers, and corporate entities. Seed Step Angel members invest their own dollars into deals presented to them as part of an annual membership. In 2018, Seed Step Angel members invested more than $2 million into early-stage Oklahoma companies and advised several others.

    Prior to joining i2E, Ryan was a portfolio manager with InvesTrust Wealth Management. While working at InvesTrust, Ryan helped individual and family clients manage their personal assets from traditional stocks and bonds to alternative investments. Before joining InvesTrust, he founded a financial consulting firm, the Greystone Group LLC that specializes in outsourced CFO and advisory services. In 2016 he held a brief role with Boeing’s defense business to help transition financial planning functionality from Seattle to Oklahoma City. He began his career in corporate finance at Chesapeake Energy where he helped support projects including refinancing $3 billion of senior-secured bonds that saved the company ~$110 million in annual interest expense, re-syndicating the company’s $4 billion credit facility, identifying and evaluating reserve properties to pledge as mortgaged collateral, and supporting the company’s commodity hedging related efforts.

    Ryan received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma with a concentration in entrepreneurship and finance. Ryan has passed level II of the Chartered Financial Analyst (“CFA”) practicum through the CFA Institute and plans to sit for level III in June 2019. As an active member of the community, Ryan serves on boards for the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. He is a member of Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class XII and the Emerging Leaders for the United Way of Central Oklahoma. In 2015, Ryan received ionOklahoma Magazine’s 30 under 30 NexGen Award.

    In January he ran his first marathon in Houston with a finishing time of 3:12:36 and looks forward to participating in Oklahoma City’s annual Memorial marathon in April.

  • March 24, 2019 5:12 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    OSU’s Craig Watters Delivers Entrepreneurship in a Backpack

    By Lori Williams

    Craig Watters circles the globe. His journey may take him to Pakistan or India before he stops to form rings in Africa. Along the way, the Director of Oklahoma State University’s new Riata Institute for Global Social Entrepreneurship connects individuals to technologies uniquely suited to their communities and cultures. “I like what I do because it gets to the heart of what I think entrepreneurship should be,” he says. The rings in Africa are an ideal example of that connection.

    “Technology is limited in South Africa,” says Dr. Watters. “I spent nine summers teaching there, and it was challenging. How do you help develop a marketing strategy for a business owner in an outdoor market where there is no internet connection? We had to go to an internet café, and even then it was dial up.”

    So Craig Watters took the problem to Syracuse University, his alma mater, where they worked on a solution. “We created an internet backpack,” he explains. “When individuals wear them and spread out, it forms a ring. A hot spot. So the internet becomes part of their appropriate technology and they are able to build their businesses out.”

    But the backpacks include this caveat: “Individuals have to explain how their business is going to help their community, their tribe, their country,” states Watters. “When we have those conversations, many have changed from just saying they are going to make money to saying they will train people and/or hire women.”

    “That’s significant because my students and I help people in countries where women are not allowed to read or learn.”

    That’s one reason why those places are not always accessible to the students in the Riata Institute for Global Social Entrepreneurship program. But until that changes, there’s a solution for that problem as well.

    “My students at OSU are part of a social entrepreneurship club and class called Enactus,” explains Craig. “The goal is to incubate businesses in other places. So the students are actually working as consultants for entrepreneurs in countries like Pakistan, Peru, Costa Rica and India.”

    Still, there are more solutions to be found. “My class did all this work around waste in India. And we quickly learned the importance of understanding the culture.”

    “Even though the caste system is supposed to be abolished in India, it’s still very much alive. That means if you’re not from the lowest caste, the untouchables, you’re not allowed to touch waste.”

    “So that made us go back to the drawing board and think some more.”

    As Craig Watters continues to circle the globe and connect the dots between social impact and global entrepreneurship, he and his students will have to be creative. To be successful, their technologies need to be culturally specific and appropriate to the situation. “Our solutions must be locally owned so that the community has ownership,” says the Director of the Riata Institute. “We also have to create technologies that are environmentally safe and gender safe.”

    “Most of all, we remember that it’s not just about making money. It’s about social impact and social mission.”

  • March 24, 2019 5:08 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)


    April 2019 Chairman's Perspective
    By Brad Rickelman

    What a pleasure to have our Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell speak to the Oklahoma Venture Forum in March. While we are focused day in and out improving the ecosystem for entrepreneurs in Oklahoma, it is heartening to have our government’s highest positions filled with entrepreneurs. I also appreciate your taking the time to complete our survey for the forum.

    Hopefully I was not conspicuous in my absence. I was awarded a fellowship to travel to Thailand by the US Department of State. We were working on improving entrepreneurship education in their vocational college business incubators (much like I work with in the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech). Perhaps surprisingly, they have much the same issues with their students and programming as we in Oklahoma. The country of Thailand was a beautiful place, with weather basically like Houston in July all year around. So if you enjoy very hot, very humid, weather, Thailand is your place. Luckily I was not caught in a hotel conference room the entire visit, and was able to take advantage of their hospitality.

    One area the Thai are focusing on is increasing tourist and tourism based entrepreneurship businesses. Many younger Thai feel this is a great way to start a service business, and there is great demand from tourists to view more of their beautiful country.

    Tourism is a major industry in Oklahoma as well and one we often underestimate. Even in Thailand, people asked me about the buffalo or the Native American tribes. So our state brand is very strong. But we all know that Oklahoma is not just wind and buffalo. It has a strong business climate. We all need to see ourselves as ambassadors of Oklahoma and Oklahoma business.

    In April, our speaker will be Dr. Craig Watters from the Oklahoma State University Global Social Entrepreneurship Institute. He will speak about some of their programming throughout the world. This will be a good opportunity to hear about some of the very practical and useful programming through our state research universities.

    I look forward to seeing you – and a guest! – at an upcoming OVF event. Remember that if you have someone you feel should attend one of our events, and you cannot afford to bring them as a guest, tell me and I will make it happen.

  • March 24, 2019 5:04 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Date: April 4th
    Location: Project 3810
    Sponsor:Cameron Ventures
    Speaker: Vicki Langford
    3810 North
    Tulsa Avenue

    Vicki Langford is VP and co-founder of Resonance, Inc a consumer electronics company founded in 1986. Resonance's flagship brand is DD Audio and its main market is mobile electronics. In 2017, she co-founded Project 3810 and is the CEO and Director. Vicki is a certified life coach and an active volunteer with SCORE Oklahoma City Chapter.

  • March 24, 2019 2:05 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Speaker Interview / March 2019


    See what you missed last month at the OVF Speaker Series Lunch.

    Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma Matt Pinnell.


  • February 28, 2019 3:16 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Here are some great events you won't want to miss.

    Host organization: Startup Grind OKC

    Event title: Lessons Learned on Startups and Angel Investing with Kraettli Epperson

    Event type: Informative chat, Q&A, networking, and food

    Event date: Tuesday, March 12th @ 6pm

    Link to registration:


    Host organization: Statewide partnership for entrepreneurial advancement. Event hosted at 36 Degrees North, Tulsa

    Event title: 2019 Oklahoma Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Forum

    Event type: Networking and resource collaboration for enhancing Oklahoma’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurial catalysts, resource providers, and capital partners are invited.

    Event date: March 8th 9a-2p

    Link to registration:

    OVF member registration code: No cost to attend. Lunch Provided


    Host organization: Moore Norman Technology Center & Women’s Business Center

    Event title: DIY Video Marketing

    Event type: Lunch and Learn

    Event date: March 13, 2019

    Link to registration:


    Host Organization: Moore Norman Technology

    Event title: Lunch & learn: an Overview of Franklin Covey's The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team

    Event type: Leadership Lunch & Learn

    Event date & time: 11:30a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 20, $19, Lunch included.

    Link to registration: Attend


    Host organization: Oklahoma Venture Forum

    Event title: OVF After Hours: Guest Speaker Vicki Langford, Business Coach

    Event type: Networking & Informative

    Event date: Tuesday, April 4th, 5:30pm-7:30pm

    Link to registration:


    Host organization: Startup Grind OKC

    Event title: Fireside chat with Brad McMullan (Emmy Award Winner and CEO @

    Event type: Informative chat, Q&A, networking, and food

    Event date: Tuesday, April 9th @ 6pm

    Link to registration:


    Host organization: Startup Grind OKC

    Event title: Fireside chat with Robin Roberson (CEO & Co-Founder of WeGoLook)

    Event type: Informative chat, Q&A, networking, and food

    Event date: Tuesday, May 14th @ 6pm

    Link to registration:


    If you have questions about events?

    Please use the link included in each event.

    Do you have questions about OVF membership?

    Please reach out to me, I am always happy to help.

    Have an event, class, or workshop to Share?

    If you would like to share events, classes or workshops with OVF members please click the Add Me button below and let us know you have something to share. (Please do not share events, classes or workshops with us until you have received the response email with our preferred submission format)

  • February 27, 2019 7:36 PM | Anonymous

    James J. Linhardt is a corporate and securities attorney with Kunzman & Bollinger, Inc. James has experience drafting registration statements, private placement memoranda, and related documents for publicly registered and private placement offerings including non-traded REITs, mortgage programs, oil and gas drilling and acquisition programs, private equity, and other alternative investment offerings for a maximum of over $3 billion.

    James also has extensive experience assisting issuers and broker-dealers in preparing and revising offering related sales materials and communications for compliance with FINRA rules and regularly communicates with senior FINRA personnel regarding advertising regulation interpretations. He has experience forming, acquiring, and selling broker-dealers and state and SEC registered investment advisors and also engaging in continuing membership applications on behalf of existing broker-dealers effecting material changes in their business. James also regularly assists clients navigating the regulatory landscape with the SEC and FINRA, including analyses of the SEC’s Bad Actor Rules and preparing written supervisory procedures and ongoing continuing education materials.
    In addition, James assists clients with general corporate matters such as preparing ongoing consents, board meeting minutes and shareholder voting documents and more complex corporate matters such as developing and implementing cybersecurity policies and procedures, remediating material weaknesses, and preparing and implementing corporate governance committee and audit committee charters.

    Prior to joining Kunzman & Bollinger, Inc., James was a senior associate in the New York offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (“PwC”). While working in PwC’s global transfer pricing practice, James assessed and revised the transfer pricing policies for a global pharmaceutical company with over $40 billion in revenue and entities in over 100 countries, prepared analyses on proposed IRS adjustments in preparation for IRS Appeals Conferences, prepared memoranda and technical analysis for IRS Advance Pricing Agreements, and performed M&A due diligence. James’ experience involved addressing transfer pricing issues related to various transaction types, including IP migration, IP licensing, and factoring for clients in the financial services, technology, pharmaceutical, and consumer goods industries.

    James is licensed to practice law in Oklahoma and New York (non-practicing) and is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, and American Bar Association.

    James graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2013 where he was a member of the Dean’s List in all semesters, a research editor for the American Indian Law Review, a member of Phi Delta Phi honor society, co-founder and president of Law Students for Africa, and recipient of the Savage Scholarship. James graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2010 with a degree in economics, where he was a recipient of the OSU Leadership Recognition Program Award, President’s Leadership and Service Recognition Award, Spears School of Business Scholar Leader award, and was named the Business Student Council Member of the Year.

  • February 27, 2019 3:49 PM | Anonymous

    Written by Lori Williams

    “Oklahoma now has a Lieutenant Governor who is also a small business owner,” says Matt Pinnell. “So, naturally, I’m going to be going around the state seeking out opportunities to speak to entrepreneurs.”
    Before he was Lieutenant Governor, Matt Pinnell and his wife Lisa launched Binxy Baby, a company that sells baby hammocks that fit into shopping carts. Today the business is thriving and there are plans to launch two new products later this year. But the Lieutenant Governor still remembers what it was like at the beginning. “The attention to detail when you’re building a business is so important,” he says. In an interview ahead of his presentation at the March OVF luncheon, the Lieutenant Governor shares what those details look like. “I want to help entrepreneurs connect with the resources they need,” he says.
    “We have the best career tech infrastructure in the country,” says the Lt. Governor. “Many classes are available to help start-ups bolster their businesses.”
    The Lieutenant Governor also wants entrepreneurs to tap into the accelerators in the state. “The Thunder Launchpad and OK Innovate are raising money for investment funds. i2E also does a good job in that area. But we need more accelerators.”
    “We have one of the best states in the country for philanthropic activity. So we need to get those people much more engaged in investing in business ventures.”
    Engagement is key, especially when it involves connecting with the right people and resources. “When Lisa and I decided to launch our business,” recalls the Lieutenant Governor, “it was a slow build process.”
    For example, it took time to work through the patent protocol for Lisa’s invention. But that investment, which secured a lockproof patent, means that the Pinnells are able to deal effectively with the legal issues that come with the territory. “It’s very frustrating,” says the Lt. Governor, “to see so many knockoff products on places like Amazon. I want small business owners to realize how important it is to find an attorney who specializes in patent infringement issues.”
    “We went to experts in different fields very early in the process of building our business,” he recalls. “We identified a professional vendor in New York who specializes in manufacturing facilities in China. She helped us through that process.”
    “It probably took us an extra year to get our product off the ground, but it paid off for us.”
    Finding customers and making it easy for them to pay for products is another detail that must be carefully considered. “Shopify has made it easy for us to build the e-commerce side of our business,” says the Lt. Governor. “Another thing that has helped us is social media.”
    “It is critical for entrepreneurs to quickly find someone who is technology proficient. When social media is done well, it’s a lot easier to grow a business.”
    Growing a business, it seems, is a lot like growing Oklahoma. That’s why the newly elected Lt. Governor is seeking occasions to speak to individuals who want to invest in entrepreneurship. “I never turn down an interview,” he says, “and I’m always looking for opportunities to speak to people who care about these issues. Reach out to my office* and let’s talk. Because entrepreneurship is the future of Oklahoma.”
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