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September 2018

Oklahoma's oldest venture forum and professional networking organization. Fostering local business venture growth since 1987.

Speaker Series Lunch - September 

Written by Lori Williams

Like energy that ionizes the air at Plasma Bionics...

 Kedar Pai and Chris Timmons know how to hone a great idea and electrify an industry. But it took eight years and more than one pivot to get to where they are today: Leading a high-tech manufacturing company that utilizes portable cold plasma technology to sterilize veterinary instruments.  

Timmons, who has a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology, is also surprised by the entrepreneurial journey he is on. “I originally wanted to do an internship with the CDC because I’m very interested in food borne illnesses and public health in general.”  

So how did a mechanical engineer and a plant pathologist happen to collaborate? “This technology was originally designed to control the flow over aircraft wings to prevent planes from falling out of midair,” explains Kedar. “But then the plasma turned out to be a disinfecting agent. So Chris and I both pivoted from our original research to get to where we are today.”  

“This technology has great potential to impact the public health industry in the near future,” says Timmons. “But what resonates with me right now at Plasma Bionics is that it is simple to use and it’s green. It uses electricity, and you can’t get much greener than that.”  

To understand how ionized air sterilizes medical instruments, consider the analogy offered by Kedar Pai: “Think of it like an avalanche,” he says. “When we shock, or ionize, the air, we’re actually pushing the first big rock which generates the motion of other smaller rocks and bigger rocks that fall onto the cell on the surface of the instrument and break it apart.”  

So energy is introduced into a limited volume of air, creating an avalanche of atoms. “It’s a mechanical process that ruptures the cells,” explains Timmons. “Air flow circulates inside the sterilization chamber, which allows it to get into harder to reach instrument crevices.”  

The system consists of a console, cassette, and plasma sheets as well as air plasma indicator tape and biological indicators. “The tape measures that active species were present while the indicators confirm that bacteria were actually killed,” says Timmons. “With the number of spores that we’re using on the indicators, there’s a one in one million chance that the spore would survive.” 

Sterilization occurs within a 45 minute to one hour projected time frame. The lightweight technology can be utilized in a traditional clinic setting as well as in a vehicle, making it an ideal choice for veterinarians who make house, or barn or pasture, calls. “A local veterinarian tested our product for us,” says Kedar, “and she offered to become a spokesperson for our company. That’s very encouraging.” 

“She’s even offered to hang out with us at trade shows,” added Chris Timmons.  

“The trial customers we’ve had, and their positive attitude towards our device, is very reassuring,” says Pai. “A promising technology can be created, but customer support makes a company promising.”  

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Shoaib Shaikh


XploSafe is a provider of critical safety solutions for homeland security and chemical safety.

Our products protect personnel that deal with unstable and hazardous compounds. First responders, industrial safety personnel, researchers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and threat assessment officials represent users of some of our solutions. Established in 2009 as a student faculty startup the company has bootstrapped its growth through the commercialization of several proprietary technologies represented by 13 commercial products. It has established research and development and commercial scale manufacturing in Stillwater, Oklahoma. XploSafe has a very skilled and highly motivated team that is addressing some of the most critical chemical safety challenges. It is actively engaged in research; and product development work for mission critical challenges funded by the defense health program (DoD), the U.S. Environmental protection agency and the National Institutes of Health to list a few customers. XploSafe’s product are distributed globally by large suppliers including Merck-Millipore Sigma, ADS Tactical Inc. and Grainger. XploSafe was selected as a finalist for the 2011 most promising new business in the State of Oklahoma by the Oklahoma Venture forum.  

Shoaib Shaikh is a serial inventor and a technology commercialization strategist that has propelled the establishment, development and sustainable growth of two advanced technology, high growth manufacturing companies. Technologies and products developed under his leadership are used globally to address fundamental chemical safety, homeland security and healthcare packaging challenges. He spearheaded the development and commercial scale application of multiple mission critical solutions that are applied for the detection, stabilization and neutralization of unstable and hazardous compounds. He contributed to the development of advanced solutions for the packaging, shipping and storage of blood and blood-based biologics. He has played a central role in establishing commercial scale manufacturing of reagents, sensors and thermal control management systems. Shoaib is an Oklahoma State University graduate with Bachelors in Business Administration – Finance in 2006 and an MBA in 2009. 

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Member Highlight

Ralph McCoy, Apptricity

Written by Lori Williams

Utilizing Agnostic Software to Streamline Supply Chain Operations 

“We try to position ourselves so that there’s not a single industry our products wouldn’t support,” says Ralph McCoy. Along with being the featured speaker at the March 14 Oklahoma Venture Forum luncheon, McCoy is also the Executive Vice-President of Apptricity, a company specializing in enterprise-class software that streamlines supply chain and spend management operations. “The U.S. Government has our technology worldwide, as does Nestlé and AT&T,” says McCoy. “Those are hundreds of thousands of users and millions and millions of items.” Other companies on board with Apptricity technology include Bed Bath & Beyond, Verizon, and TD Bank.  

When Ralph McCoy co-founded Apptricity nearly 20 years ago, the Internet of things (Iot) was a brand new idea. “Back then, mobile technology was still very immature. But we all believed that was where the future was, so we built accordingly. Our tag line was ‘Access from anywhere.’”  

“Because I’ve sat on both sides of the desk, selling and buying software, I had run into issues of technology obsolescence. The technology was not able to adapt to business in the way that business changes.” 

So McCoy and his team created the agnostic software that is at the heart of their company. “We knew that having to make significant investments and rewrite the system every seven years was not an option,” he says, “so we created a product that evolves along with the software and hardware platforms.” A statement from the Apptricity website says it best: Whatever your backend, operating system or hardware, Apptricity applications will adapt to your environment, so you don’t have to adapt to ours. 

Adaptable could be another of Apptricity’s taglines: This is a company that, in McCoy’s words, “cut its teeth at Wal-Mart, which was not a bad place to be.” Where did the company go from there? Today Apptricity does $3.5 billion in transactions per month and tracks 25 million global assets. Nineteen years ago, McCoy and his team utilized palm pilots. Today? “The stuff we’re working on right now is really cutting edge,” says the Apptricity EVP. “It’s revolutionizing the mobile environment as it relates to the service industry. I’m talking about mobile technology integrated in with a Verizon or an AT&T, which has thousands of vehicles and workforce spread out across the country. We tend to navigate towards very complex organizations that have challenges with tracking and locating assets.” 

“Any vertical market you can think of has adaptability with Iot and machine to machine. It’s definitely become much more acceptable in our lifetime, from a technology standpoint. Consider how well we’ve adapted to Alexa and Siri and some of the other intrusions we might not have thought of in the past. Now these are commonplace devices in our homes. Sometimes social acceptance leads to change in corporations.” 

“It’s been an exciting time,” says the entrepreneur who currently works out of Apptricity headquarters in Irving, Texas. He has a residence in Oklahoma, though, and plans to return to his home state at some point. “Having the flexible architecture and the flexible product base allows us to adapt to all the different industries.” 

What OVF members are saying about OVF...

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Chairman's Perspective 

Brad Rickelman

Meridian Technology Center

Welcome to the 2018-2019 season of the Oklahoma Venture Forum! We have a great year of lunches, after-hours events, and other events planned and are appreciative you are a member. If you are a renewing member – welcome back. If you are a new member – thank you. The Oklahoma Venture Forum is an organization focused on improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Oklahoma. 

We recently held our first kick-off event and new member drive at the brand new Mercedes-Benz dealership in Edmond. A great crowd, good food, and the chance to catch up after the summer break – and of course look at some fantastic cars. Watch for additional after-hours events through the year. Please look over our sponsorship opportunities – a great way to put your company in front of our membership, and support entrepreneurship in Oklahoma. 

Our keynote speaker in September is Kedar Pai from Plasma Bionics. Plasma Bionics LLC is a veterinary device manufacturing company specializing in plasma-based sterilization. Their patented cold plasma generation technology allows rapid sterilization of veterinary instruments at low temperature, with no water or harmful chemicals, and with little power input. As a result, their devices are equally at home on the bench in a veterinary clinic as they are in the vehicle of a mobile veterinarian. 

Plasma Bionics was the 2018 recipient of the OVF Most Promising New Venture award, awarded at our May award luncheon. You will have the opportunity to hear from Kedar about the company and their path to commercialization. BTW, Plasma Bionics is a client of Meridian Technology Center business incubator in Stillwater.  

If you know someone you feel might be interested in becoming a member of the Oklahoma Venture Forum, invite her to a luncheon or after-hours event. The easiest way to sell our organization is to have someone attend and observe who we are and what we do. Che can provide you a new member packet to assist you in selling our organization. 

Finally, If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for upcoming speakers or events, please see Che, I, or any of the OVF Board members (our nametags note board membership) – and don’t forget to go to our OVF website www.ovf.org for member list, upcoming events, and other member benefits. Thank you again for participating in the OVF and have a great year. 

OVF 2018-2019 Events Calendar

Speaker Series Lunches

September 12th
October 10th
November 14, 2018
December 12, 2018
January 9, 2019
February 13, 2019
March 13, 2019
April 10, 2019
May 8th, 2019

OVF After Hours

October 25th - Halcyon Works
January 23rd - Vault 405
April 4th - TBA

Award for Economic Impact

May 8th, 2019
Oklahoma History Center

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Office: +1 (405) 604-4775
Email: Che@OVF.org

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Oklahoma City , OK, 73101

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