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  • October 24, 2023 12:13 PM | Anonymous

    Barry Day, Executive Director
    Oklahoma Clean Technology Association

    Cleantech is more than clean energy.  An interview with Barry Day.

    by Dennis Spielman

    Barry Day’s journey reflects his adaptability, entrepreneurial spirit, and passion for knowledge. Starting as a fracking engineer in the oil fields during the late nineties, he eventually moved into plastics manufacturing, then transitioned to research in the printed circuit board industry. He earned his MBA with a double major in marketing and entrepreneurship. Subsequently, Barry worked for a biotech startup, a Korean oil and chemical company, and gained extensive experience in technology scouting, investment, and mergers and acquisitions in the clean technology sector. He also contributed to the Cleantech Open and launched the Oklahoma Clean Technology Association, demonstrating his dedication to promoting innovation and sustainability in various industries.

    Day founded The Oklahoma Clean Technology Association to promote awareness and knowledge of what clean technology is and promote entrepreneurship in clean technology. Day thought he would get pushback against clean technology when he moved to Oklahoma because of the politics involved. However, he’s learned Oklahomans, whether they’re liberal or conservative, they’re not against helping the environment - they just don’t want to be forced to by the government. 

    “I believe that in entrepreneurship, the free market will push the right goals,” said Barry Day, Founder and Managing Director of Oklahoma Clean Technology Association. “And with the new technologies, that’s what will save us, not government intervention. We’ve seen this in the economy, where most of our clean energy and technology advancements have come from the private sector, not government mandates. It was really important to me to make sure that people knew this was apolitical and that it’s also something we focus on in the entrepreneurial sector, the free market.”

    Day is working on inspiring people to create new technologies, including big ideas and game changers, instead of incremental improvements. To accomplish this mission, the Oklahoma Clean Technology Association has a twofold, two-pronged approach. The first is to spread awareness of clean technology and the eight pillars of Cleantech. 

    “Oklahomans always associate clean tech with clean energy, but there’s so much more than just energy,” said Day. “It’s actually all kinds of different fields, subjects, and topics, including batteries, energy efficiency, energy storage, air quality, water tech, and agricultural technologies.”

    For the second approach, Day is helping companies in their entrepreneurial journey. As an investor, Day found that clean technology tends to be the least profitable of all the verticals, but he believes it’s also the most important and that we must find ways to make profitable technologies that are good for businesses. The Oklahoma Clean Technology Association hosts quarterly events to help the community network, with speakers sharing information about clean technology and their journey, either as a startup, an expert in the field, or an investor.

    “I found that there are several clean technology experts scattered throughout the state, but there’s no one single community where everyone can get together and discuss clean technology,” said Day.

    One Oklahoma-based game-changing company Day is excited about is Utopia Plastix and its plant-based biodegradable polymer that doesn’t use oil. Another company to watch out for is Sci-Lume Labs, which develops biodegradable nylon for fishing lines and clothing. As Day encourages entrepreneurs to think big and aim for game-changing ideas that can revolutionize the world, he believes the Oklahoma Venture Forum is a great platform for connecting with knowledgeable individuals in the entrepreneurial community and fostering collaboration.

    “There’s a lot of ways to come up with new technologies that are game changers if they think big and if they connect to the right people,” said Day. 

    Barry Day will speak at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, November 8, 2023. The event will be open to members and guests in person at Metro Tech Spring Lake Campus (1900 Springlake Drive in Oklahoma City) and via ZOOM. For his presentation, Day wants to help people develop big, game-changing ideas that will revolutionize the world.

    “We’ve seen a lot of smaller technologies, incremental technologies,” said Day. “I’ve seen a lot of coffee shops and lifestyle companies, small businesses. I want to get people to start thinking huge picture the unicorns, how they can become the next Microsoft or Apple, and particularly how they can change the world with environmentally safe technologies.”

  • October 24, 2023 12:08 PM | Anonymous

    Shannon Carr, Communications Director
    i2E, Inc.

    Shannon Carr is an accomplished marketing and communications leader with over 15 years of experience producing effective strategies and impactful campaigns. With a diverse background spanning the nonprofit, healthcare, advertising, and manufacturing industries, Shannon brings a wealth of expertise to her role as Communications Director at i2E, a nonprofit organization helping startups and entrepreneurs build, launch and grow great ideas into high growth ventures.

    Dedicated to keeping up with industry trends and the dynamic marketing landscape, Shannon creates innovative, mission-aligned strategies that drive tangible results for both i2E and its subsidiary Plains Ventures. She has a passion for building meaningful connections, leading successful teams, and turning complex ideas into compelling stories that resonate with diverse audiences.

    Shannon graduated from Southern Nazarene University with a degree in Marketing. She is an active member of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the American Marketing Association, where she served as president for two years. Recently, Shannon was named one of 405 Business magazine’s The Metro’s Most Influential.

    Register to attend November 8th Power Lunch

  • October 24, 2023 11:59 AM | Anonymous

    Kate Sullivan, Intellectual Property Attorney/Founder
    Black Dog Law

    Introducing Kate Sullivan, a highly accomplished professional in the fields of Intellectual Property and Business Law. Graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Science and Business from Oklahoma State University, Kate continued her educational journey, earning a Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa College of Law, along with an Oklahoma Legal License and Patent Practitioner Registration from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

    In 2018, Kate founded Black Dog Law, a dynamic legal firm specializing in Intellectual Property and Business Law. Her mission is to ensure that individuals from all backgrounds have access to legal expertise and strategic guidance. The unique name, Black Dog Law, pays homage to Kate's deep-rooted love for animal rescue and the dogs that have touched her life.

    Kate is not just a legal practitioner; she is a passionate advocate for helping businesses thrive and ideas flourish. By bridging the gap between legal counsel and business strategy, Kate empowers entrepreneurs, innovators, and dreamers to transform their creative visions into successful ventures. With an unwavering commitment to both the legal profession and making a positive impact, Kate is your trusted partner in achieving your business goals and protecting your intellectual property. Reach out to Kate today to embark on a journey toward realizing your dreams and safeguarding your innovations. 

  • September 28, 2023 10:35 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    "Accessing Funding with SSBCI" 

    by Dennis Spielman 

    Dollars from the State Small Business Credit Initiative are allowing a whole new cohort of institutional investors, angel investors, and high-net-worth individuals in Oklahoma to dip their toe in venture capital. Over 40 million dollars have been allocated to groups like 46Venture Capital, OLSF Ventures, and TEDC Creative Capital, to invest in businesses.  

    Tracy Poole’s journey into entrepreneurship began as a transactional lawyer, spending 30 years working with law firms and corporations. His early investments in disruptive technologies within the energy sector while at Williams Energy Marketing and Trading ignited his passion for startups. After leaving Williams, he continued his entrepreneurial endeavors, eventually forming 46 Venture Capital. 

    Before his time with OLSF Ventures, Sean Templemore-Finlayson worked for Jefferies Group LLC in the Energy Group, focusing on public mergers and acquisitions. While at Jefferies, Sean worked on $3 billion in successful deals. After his time with Jefferies, Sean co-founded a London-based financial intermediary focused on direct investment in startup companies. After building the firm’s revenue, product offerings, and client base, Sean moved on to OLSF Ventures. 

    Rose Washington-Jones’s career path started in banking and finance at Mississippi State University and Trustmark National Bank. Her journey took her into higher education at Jackson State University and later to Los Angeles, where she worked at the University of Southern California in community and government relations. After the events of 9/11, she moved to Tulsa and has since led TEDC, focusing on fostering economic development through supporting startups and growing businesses. 
    “What the SSBCI funds did for every state, including Oklahoma, is they incentivized the funds that are there to actually take a deep hard look and try hard to find the great deals that are local,” said Sean Templemore-Finlayson, Vice President of OLSF Ventures. “There’s definitely a lot of qualification screening stuff we have to do, but in terms of the actual dollars that they can use and how they use them and what it means for the business, it’s an unbelievable opportunity.” 

    “SSBCI has been a really good catalyst to get things done and make sure that teams in Oklahoma are getting funded for those things that we feel are strategic for the state,” said Tracey Poole, Managing Partner for 46Venture Capital. 

    While there are two branches of funds within the program, one for venture investments and one for lending, TEDC Creative Capital operates as a lender, distinguishing itself from venture capitalists by not seeking ownership in the companies it supports. 

    “However, someone who has received venture backing from SSBCI can also qualify for loan funds,” said Rose Washington-Jones, CEO and Executive Director of TEDC Creative Capital. “Many times, companies can’t get all the funding from a bank or venture firm, and we’re here to fill that gap. 

    This funding aims to support high-growth businesses in specific sectors such as life sciences, energy tech, and aerospace. Poole emphasized that venture capital suits businesses with significant growth potential and a focus on disruptive technologies. Washington-Jones added that SSBCI funding isn’t limited to large healthcare or aerospace industries. Rather, it caters to a variety of businesses based on their alignment with the priority sectors or supply chain relationships with them. 

    Tracey Poole, Sean Templemore-Finlayson, and Rose Washington-Jones will be part of a panel discussion at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. Attendees can expect to gain invaluable insights into the impact of SSBCI funds on fostering innovation, promoting economic development, and nurturing innovative technologies in Oklahoma. With the state’s venture capital ecosystem evolving remarkably, this panel discussion promises to be an essential event for entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone interested in the future of the state’s economy. The event will be open to members and guests in person at 36 Degrees North (36 E. Cameron Street in Tulsa) and via ZOOM. 

    “Now is one of the best times to be raising capital in Oklahoma period,” said Templemore-Finlayson. “And by coming to the panel, you get to see who got SSBCI dollars, and so who’s able to write some of those checks.” 

    While entrepreneurs may not need funding right now, Washington-Jones said understanding all the resources available when trying to launch or grow a company will be worth their time. They may need these services in a month or two or next year. 

    “If you don’t go, you won’t know,” said Poole. “People need to get involved in this ecosystem to understand the upside and the upside’ 

     Attend the OVF Power Lunch

  • September 28, 2023 10:34 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Hello! Autumn is here and as the season is changing, we will soon be experiencing more of the changes happening this session of OVF as we host our first Tulsa Power Lunch. We are excited to expand our footprint across the state and reach even more ecosystem counterparts! 

    October’s luncheon will be Part 1 of a 2-part series highlighting State Small Business Incentive Funding. The luncheon also falls during Minority Enterprise Development Week which celebrates the achievements and contributions of minority owned businesses and entrepreneurs and how they strengthen the economy through best practice education, consumer relations, technological innovation and capital investment. Be a part of “Cultivating Community” by joining in on the festivities October 9-13 or through patronage of a minority owned business. If you aren’t able to join us in Tulsa, I encourage you to grab some lunch and head to The Verge for a live streaming and live networking. Zoom is also available if you wish to join in remotely. 

    If you haven’t renewed your membership yet, please consider doing so. We also have several sponsorship opportunities available that allow you to not only support a fantastic organization and put your business in front of our incredible membership. Thank you to everyone who joined us last month as we had our first power lunch at Metro Tech Springlake – we will be back there for the November Power Lunch.  

    See you soon 

     Attend the OVF Power Lunch

  • September 28, 2023 10:14 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Mansi Patel

    Analyst, Cortado Ventures

    I am driven by my passion to establish a platform in developing countries where budding entrepreneurs can gain access to resources to make their visions a reality. The platform will connect the creative minds with resources such as finding a co-founder who has the technical skills needed to launch the product, raising capital, lawyers, accountants, and mentors.

    Entrepreneurship is deeply embedded in my root, I come from a family of hoteliers. I have been managing the books of various hotels for 15 years now. Over the time I have gained experience in all Microsoft products and use them frequently to run industry projections as well as projections for individual hotels. I frequently use excel to store data on payroll, accounts receivables, and accounts payable.

    Attend the OVF Power Lunch

  • September 28, 2023 10:12 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Shawn Wright

    Partner, Project 3810

    A partner at Project 3810, a business incubator, for the last six years, as well as the Director of Technology and Administration at DD Audio, and electronics brand, for the last seven; Shawn spent nearly twenty years prior in the government contracting business, with more than sixteen years combined at Tinker AFB between the Air Logistics Center and the Defense Information Systems Agency, with a few years at Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center with the Federal Aviation Administration's Enterprise Services Center.

    Attend the OVF Power Lunch

  • August 31, 2023 12:05 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Member Highlight

    Bobby Stewart

    Business Performance Advisor helping CEOs & Business Owners with Human Capital, HR, Benefits and Compliance.

    I am a trusted partner to the business leaders in my community. I advise entrepreneurs and business owners with HR mastery, courage, and stability. I answer the needs of these entrepreneurs by matching them with Insperity's powerful, game-changing products and services. I deliver the solutions to help them meet the challenges of the day and rise above to succeed at the highest level.

    Register here to attend September 13 Power Lunch

  • August 30, 2023 5:20 PM | Anonymous

    Charles Thuo, Founder & CEO
    Apexloads, Inc.

    Born and raised in Kenya. Came to the USA in 2010 on a student visa. Graduated from OSU-OKC with an A.A.S in General Engineering technology. Enlisted in the US Army Reserves as a 91J (Quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer) 2013, which is also how I got my citizenship.

    Went back to college at the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a B.S in Aerospace Engineering and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant from the Army ROTC program. After graduation I worked with Cessna in Wichita, KS as a Structural Analysis Engineer on their latitude executive jets.

    Soon after, I attended Army Engineering school in Fort Leonard wood, MO and graduated as a 12A (Combat Engineer) and served in the Oklahoma National Guard as Platoon Leader with one tour of deployment in Kabul, Afghanistan. After the deployment I became an XO (Executive Officer) and now I’m serving as a Recon/Battle captain officer.

    After Cessna I moved back to Oklahoma to work with Boeing Defense as a Sustainment and later Design Engineer supporting NATO on the AWACS program.

    In late 2018, I got into logistics as a side hustle and transitioned to full time in April 2020. I could make the money I was getting for two weeks of work as an Engineer in three days in logistics.

    While in logistics, I identified the 10-15 year logistics technology gap between Africa and the USA and decided to develop Apexloads to close that gap.  At Apexloads, I’m on a mission to not only revolutionize but also shape logistics operations on the entire continent of Africa. Our strategy is simply adopting industry proven solutions from the USA and implementing them in Africa.

    Register To Attend Lunch
  • August 30, 2023 5:06 PM | Anonymous

    Empowering Entrepreneurs to Solve Defense Problems

    By Dennis Spielman

    Drew Hendricks, a Regional Engagement Principal at the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), has embarked on a dynamic career journey that spans military service, academia, entrepreneurship, and technology. His unique blend of experiences has equipped him with a holistic perspective on the complex landscape of defense innovation and entrepreneurship growth.

    Hendricks' path began when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after high school. Over his 14-year military career, he undertook diverse roles, from combat correspondent to marketing director for the recruiting command. Transitioning from active duty, Hendricks pursued higher education in advertising at the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to collaborate with various business ventures, and he later earned an MBA from the University of Southern California.

    At NSIN, a program operating with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Hendricks fosters connections between academia, venture companies, and the Department of Defense (DoD). One of NSIN's flagship programs is the Venture portfolio, which develops and executes programs and services to facilitate access to emerging technology as it engages the talents of fast-moving innovators and non-traditional problem-solvers. The Venture Portfolio works directly with dual-use early-stage ventures emerging from both the academic and venture communities with solutions addressing Department of Defense problems.

    "NSIN's whole goal is to increase the speed of innovation and technological development within current and existing industries for national security," said Hendricks. "Right now, locked up in someone's brain somewhere, maybe even in Oklahoma, is a solution we need. But what happens is the DoD doesn't go around asking, 'What do you have? Show us what you got.'"

    Hendricks emphasized businesses should rely on more than just DoD contracts for sustainability. Hendricks said companies thrive by catering to broader markets, which can ultimately enhance their stability and innovation. NSIN aims to work with small companies early on and encourage them to maintain versatility rather than being exclusively dependent on defense contracts. This approach aligns with the organization's preference for engaging with companies poised for success in multiple sectors.

    "Oklahoma has a unique blend of capabilities that can address complex problems," Hendricks said. "We want the DoD to know we're here and ready to contribute. I want to help you, but I want to help you if you do something to solve a problem."

    NSIN Challenges hosts competitive prize competitions on a specific topic or technology vertical. The open challenges allow early to mid-stage companies, even if they do not have SAM numbers, to pitch solutions to potential U.S. Department of Defense mission partners and industry subject matter experts for evaluation. 

    "When I tell people it's not that you need to be a solve everything on that list telling you if you have that capability, you should apply," said Hendricks. "What ends up happening is you apply to the mass challenge, and then your venture gets accepted based on some of its stuff, you work with that DoD mission partner and other mission partners to figure out whether or not you have a product market fit. And then you pitch to that group."

    Drew Hendricks will speak more about the National Security Innovation Network to Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch members on Wednesday, September 13, 2023. The event will be held at Metro Tech Spring Lake Campus in Oklahoma City from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and will be open to members and guests both in-person and virtually via ZOOM. 

    Register to Attend Power Lunch

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