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December Pitch Presentation
Heath Pratt is the founder of Splynt, a Healthtech company focused on revolutionizing the care and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions through A.I. assessment and virtual assessment.
Before devoting his time to Splynt, Heath served as the director of athletic training and sports medicine services for an orthopedic hospital. Under the direction of 10 orthopedic surgeons, Heath oversaw the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of more than 2,000 athletes. Heath was responsible for improving healthcare access and outcomes for athletics by utilizing athletic trainers as physician extenders and outreach providers.
Heath graduated with honors with a Master of Science in Athletic Training from The University of Central Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Science in Health & Exercise Science from The University of Oklahoma.
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Co-Founder and Co-CEO
Prairie Surf Media
Written by: Dennis Spielman
The domino of events for Prairie Surf Media's formation started in 2000 when Gray Frederickson moved back to Oklahoma and started the Oklahoma Film Institute. Rachel Cannon and Matt Payne were among the first of those students. The two pursued film careers outside of Oklahoma, but they eventually found themselves back in the state.
"After a little bit of chat, and discussing perhaps the idea of making a film, or writing something together, [Rachel Cannon and I] decided that maybe it would be more exciting to begin to work to add to the existing infrastructure in Oklahoma so that we could have an even more robust and thriving film community here," said Matt Payne, co-founder and co-CEO of Prairie Surf Media. "And we've been doing it ever since."
On January 1, 2021, Prairie Surf Media took over the venue, formerly known as Cox Convention Center, through a tenant agreement with the City of Oklahoma City. The venue, now known as Prairie Surf Studios, boasts five flexible, state-of-the-art soundstages with all the amenities needed to create new worlds. Payne explained soundstages are soundproof rooms where productions can build their sets, avoid outdoor elements, and shoot in a more cost-efficient way. While the former Convention is ideal for soundstages, the facility has received upgrades to better suit productions over the past several months.
"We pulled 10,000 pounds worth of buzzy lights and old speakers out of the ceiling, replaced it with LED lights," said Payne. "We treated the walls with soundproofing, and we built vestibules on the far end of the building so that we create a barrier, an extra door barrier between the street and the sound-stage."
In addition to building soundstages, Prairie Surf Media worked to build up the state film incentive and the local workforce. With partnerships with OCU, Oklahoma City Community College and several career techs, including Metro Tech and Francis Tuttle, Prairie Surf Media is training people. Students learn how to work and function on an actual film set.
"Since then, about 30 of those individuals have gone on to work on different productions in Oklahoma," said Payne. "It's been a really successful program, and we take a lot of pride in the fact that we're not only bringing an industry here, but we're that industry is creating jobs, and giving paths to kids like Rachel and I, that want to get in the entertainment industry."
Matt Payne will be speaking at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. The event will be open to guests both in-person and virtually via ZOOM. Payne said they've been able to pursue this business by "standing on the shoulders of giants" from Oklahoma filmmakers such as Gray Frederickson, Lance McDaniel, and many others, including government officials.
"We've only been able to do this because of our partnerships with, particularly, Oklahoma City, and getting into this facility, and the state for putting an incentive in place, and state leadership, you know, Senator Roger Thompson, Chuck Hall, Representatives Fetgatter and Hill," said Payne. "There were so many leaders that have played a role in getting us here. [Prairie Surf Media] is a very, very small start-up in a very big building, but, really, the truth is that this is a city, state, and community project that we're all sort of proud of. And we think very much of Oklahoma as a whole, as our partner in this project."
Register now for the event to learn more from Matt Payne and to connect with other Oklahoma entrepreneurs.
Dale Hageman, CEO of Spirit HR, founded the organization out of a true passion for serving businesses through high-quality human resources services. As a business owner, he understands the demands of building and operating a successful organization, and he possesses an unwavering confidence in the positive impact a client centric PEO can make in the success of a business. In every aspect, Spirit HR was built to address the HR, Benefits, Risk and Payroll needs of employers in a way that complements organizations and helps them thrive.
Dale’s entrepreneurial spirit and career-long dedication to helping employers grow and succeed make him uniquely suited to guide Spirit Human Resources. As CEO, Dale directs the business development, risk management, marketing and finance aspects toward the goal of empowering and enabling the success of Spirit HR’s clients.
Honors & Awards:
2016 Outstanding CPA in Business and Industry
Oklahoma Society of CPAs
The OSCPA Outstanding CPA in Business and Industry Award recognizes individual achievement, professional examples and practices demonstrated throughout his accounting career and helps to foster the CPA designation as the premier professional credential for financial managers.
Michaeline A. Doyle Award
National Association of Professional Employer Organizations
Recognized as the individual who has provided exemplary leadership and service in devoting his time to association or industry activities on a local or national basis, with little or no previous recognition for his efforts. The award aims to recognize the person whose business philosophy is to improve the industry while improving his own PEO. This award is in memory of Michaeline Doyle who exemplified these characteristics in her relationships with our industry and association.
Attend OVF Power Lunch: December
Moore Norman Technology Center
Workforce & Economic Development Coordinator and OVF Chairman
Have you noticed how many films are being made in Oklahoma these days? The state has increased its new film incentive to a $30 million rolling annual cap.
Our main speaker is Matt Payne, CEO of Prairie Surf Media. Based in the old “Cox Convention Center” building, it has been transformed into the largest sound stage in the Midwest with a 1.3 million square foot facility, 5 stages and ceiling heights from 25 to 65 feet high!
Prairie Surf Media (PSM) is an Oklahoma City-based global production company focused on multi-platform content creation. Through its innovative and transformative leadership team, the company is poised to kick start the growth of streaming, television, and motion picture production in Oklahoma. With decades of combined experience in the entertainment industry, PSM is the undisputed category leader in the state. PSM is co-founded by Oklahoma natives, Rachel Cannon and Matt Payne.
Oklahoma native Matt Payne, co-founder and co-CEO of Prairie Surf Media, a locally based production studio focused on multi-platform content creation, is a filmmaker to his core, with an impressive list of credits and achievements across a multitude of creative businesses.
During a 15-year stint in Los Angeles, where he worked in both television and film, Emmy award-winning Payne racked up credits as a writer, a documentary filmmaker, an award-winning travel photographer and writer, public speaker, and adventurer.
Please look through your personal contacts and invite a prospective new founder, funder, or associated service provider to attend our December 8th power lunch as your guest. If you are unsure how to make this happen easily, please reach out to our Executive Director Che’ Loessberg and she will help to get your guest registered easily!
Luke is an Oklahoma native and third-time startup founder whose dream is to enable everyone to reap the advantages of machine learning and AI. He has been writing software for 12 years and most recently worked at Oseberg, Inc, where he led the AI team before departing to found AnnoLab. Luke is a veteran and worked as a medical professional in the Air Force prior to discovering his love of building software.
Luke believes that the future of machine learning and AI will empower people rather than replace them.
AnnoLab automates data extraction from documents and images using our propriety software and machine learning models, creating structured data in the process. Our software can additionally speed up time-consuming document analysis and data entry tasks, often done by highly paid subject matter experts.
Devon LaneyPresident and CEO36 Degrees North
Coming from Birmingham, Alabama as the co-founder of Innovation Depot, one of the largest entrepreneurial support organizations in America, Devon Laney now resides in Tulsa as President and CEO of 36 Degrees North with a plan to grow entrepreneurs in the Tulsa region. Known as Tulsa’s base camp for entrepreneurs, innovators, and startups, 36 Degrees North is an entrepreneurial support organization focused on providing the resources, the community, and the programs needed to support entrepreneurs as they build, grow and scale businesses.
“When I got in Tulsa, we had two locations,” said Devon Laney. “We had about a 12,000 square foot co-working space, and then we had about an 8,000 square foot hybrid of co-working and small office space. I got here, and we put together a five-year plan and began to think about what we were going to be down the road.”
The first piece of that plan involved building and launching a large technology incubator focused on supporting early-stage technology startup companies and companies making a technology product or service that they can scale and grow and raise capital. In September 2021, 36 Degrees North opened its 50,000 square foot high-tech incubator.
While co-working spaces are an essential piece of the ecosystem, Laney said it’s not the only thing one should have in an ecosystem. While co-working is excellent for individuals, co-working spaces aren’t conducive to people trying to grow a business.
“An incubator is built for growing businesses, to support growing businesses,” said Laney. “It’s not just about one individual membership, and I’m going to charge you every time you have a new member. It’s about, this company applied, we accepted them into the program, and this company is going to pay for an office, and the office is $1,000 a month, as an example. And I don’t care how many people you put in that office. I don’t care if you put two people or seven people. It’s the same price. It’s $1,000, and that $1,000 covers utilities, internet, janitorial, security, conference rooms, phone booths, Zoom rooms, all our programming, all our workshops, all our mentors, all the different things. And the company then, as an entrepreneur, the company doesn’t have to worry about, ‘Well, if I hire two more people, my monthly bill’s going to be higher.’ They don’t have to worry about that. They can focus on growing their business and know that it’s all-inclusive, all the spaces are furnished, and it’s built to support them as they’re growing their businesses.”
On the subject of economic development, Laney said that historically everybody thinks of economic development as two things: recruitment and retention. Laney cited the example of Oklahoma trying to get Tesla to come to the state. The second way most communities have done economic development is through retention. Groups work to retain the businesses that are already in Oklahoma and keep them from going somewhere else.
“I think there’s a third,” said Laney. “I’m a big believer in the third, which is let’s grow new businesses. Let’s make sure we’re supporting the growth of new industries and new businesses here. We don’t just have to recruit them here; let’s grow them here. But it requires the same kind of investment in terms of infrastructure, resources, workforce, capital, tax incentives, all those same things.”
Laney clarified that we should continue the other two ways and add the third piece to support the growth of new businesses.
Devon Laney will be speaking at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. The event will be open to guests both in-person and virtually via ZOOM. Laney is excited for the opportunity to be able to share a success story from a community perspective.
“36 Degrees North is a non-profit, 501C3, and it would not exist without the public and the private partnership together,” said Laney. “In 2017, when 36 Degrees North launched, you had philanthropic community, public, private, chamber. They all came together to create this thing, and it’s a success story. It’s a win, and that’s what has enabled us to even evolve and to think about what we’re going to be in five years from now. If they hadn’t been successful at doing that, we wouldn’t be in a position to think about how to evolve it and be better and bigger going forward. So I love the opportunity to share about a success from a public-private partnership.”
Register now for the event to learn more from Devon Laney and to connect with other Oklahoma entrepreneurs.
OVF Member Highlight
Oklahoma National Stockyards
Kelli Payne is a proud fifth generation farmer and rancher from Mustang, Oklahoma. She attended high school at Amber-Pocasset and went to college at Oklahoma State University. Choosing a random path through college, she took advantage of a number of internships in the agriculture industry and served on the OSU Dairy Judging Team. Additionally, she served on a number of student organizations and committees which allowed her to take advantage of learning opportunities throughout the United States. An avid reader, she jokes she is a lifelong learner as it took her over fourteen years to get her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. She was named a top ten Senior in Animal Science her final year of college.
She has had the opportunity to serve as an assistant to former Congressman Wes Watkins prior to his retirement and to serve as an Executive Director for a number of Main Street organizations in Oklahoma. This experience has instilled a passion for both tourism and economic development. Combining her dedication for promoting the agricultural industry and her current position as President for the Oklahoma National Stockyards, she strives to share her personal story along with the wonderful heritage of agriculture’s role in Oklahoma City’s history. Payne is the first female to hold the position of President, and only the sixth person in the history of the Stockyards.
Kelli is very active in her community serving as President of the Stockyards City Main Street Association, District Director for the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, member of Oklahoma Cattlewomen’s Association, Cattlemen’s Leadership Academy Class XXVI, Fundraising Coordinator for West OKC Rotary Club, Ag In The Classroom Advisory Council Member, Stockyards Urban Design Committee Member, and was awarded the Hometown Heroes Award from the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2019. Kelli served on the steering committee to fund the David Jones Dairy Judging Team Endowed Scholarship at OSU and she and her partner Dave funded the first ever Veterans in Agriculture Scholarship for a master’s Student at OSU. Kelli was a recipient of the Oklahoma State University Ferguson College of Agriculture Early Career Achievement Award in 2020.
Attend OVF Power Lunch: November
Devon Laney, CEO for 36 Degrees North, Tulsa’s basecamp for entrepreneurs will share all the latest about Tulsa Entrepreneurship!
Spoiler alert: The City of Tulsa and 36 Degrees North recently unveiled their new technology incubator on the 5th floor of City Hall.
It’s 50,000 square feet of space filled with chairs, desks and meeting areas for new companies and technology startups. At capacity, they expect this new space to house about 30 businesses. It’s not just space, this program provides flexibility, resources, and the accountability entrepreneurs need to grow startup companies. Laney believes this is a first of its kind partnership with a municipality.
36 Degrees north has generated more than $375 million dollars in economic impact in the past four years and have created more than 1,500 new jobs.
Please plan to join us for lunch and learn more about what’s going on in Tulsa! Think about your best contacts who are Funders, Founders and associated service providers who can benefit from this presentation and invite them to join you for lunch as your guest – reach out to Che’ if you have questions about how to make the guest part happen – she will make it easy to get them registered!
This is the healthcare solution that will make you the hero – lower employer costs while simultaneously improving the benefits. And you don’t even need to wait for open enrollment to add the power of ZERO to your client’s benefits program.
ZERO works with self-funded employers (the customer) to help match health plan members up with the highest-quality, most affordable providers (the feature set) giving members access to care for $0, helping employers make smarter buying decisions and lower costs 45% (the value prop). ZERO makes money by charging employers a simple, and transparent, transaction fee each time they process a payment to a healthcare provider (the business model).
Acorn Growth Companies
Written by: Dennis Spielman
Rick Nagel is the Managing Partner of Acorn Growth Companies. This small middle-market private equity firm focuses exclusively on ladder stage and growth investments in the aerospace, defense, and intelligence sectors. The company has been around since 2000, starting as the first privately certified incubator in the state of Oklahoma. After 30 deals and on their fifth fund, the firm seeks opportunities to add value as an operating team.
“We look at 250 deals a year,” said Rick Nagel. “We do about two or three. So, we’re very picky. We invest mostly in North America and Europe.”
To boil down the selection process, Nagel explained that they focus on their strengths. Some deals are fast nos, and they get to a no quicker than they get to a yes. One of the critical filters is that they have to add value to the company.
“For us, and not every firm is like this, but for us, we want one plus one to equal seven,” said Nagel. “We’ve been driving historical performance since our internal rate of return really kind of, since the beginning on all of our platform exits, is track more than 30%.”
To maintain their high-performance level, they do this by not overpaying for anything and adding value after the close. This philosophy helps mitigate risk and drive more organic growth opportunities.
“We’ve got a lot to say grace over, so we don’t have that problem,” said Nagel. “It doesn’t mean we always get it right, but we have a pretty good batting average so far.”
Nagel advised those looking for funding to have their head screwed on straight on value and terms when making themselves look suitable for potential investors. People also need to be realistic going in on a deal. There’s a lot of great technology that never gets the funding behind it because the entrepreneurs are just too proud of it. Rick made the analogy of having a big percentage of a small pie or having a small percentage of a massive pie, which leads to having more pie on your plate.
“As much as we looked at bringing on value-added partners, I think it’s important that entrepreneurs looking for capital equally go out and find value-added partners,” said Nagel. “It’s amazing to me what they’ll do and give up to people to get a deal done. They have no value at all in helping them drive to their end results. So, you want investors that are not just passive. Typically, the younger the company is, you want more hands-on deck. I always encourage people to do value-added capital.”
Rick Nagel will be speaking at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. The event will be open to guests both in-person and virtually via ZOOM. Nagel said OVF is great for entrepreneurs and potential investors.
“My advice to anybody that might be reading this that’s not currently engaged would be to get engaged,” said Nagel. “If you’re an early-stage investor, whether you do a deal or not, you’ll see things that will make you smarter in that process by listening to these presentations.”
Register now for the event to learn more from Rick Nagel and to connect with other Oklahoma entrepreneurs.
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