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March 2019

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

March 13th, Guest Speaker
Matt Pinnell, Small Business Owner and Lieutenant Governor, Talks Entrepreneurship


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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Member Profile

James J. Linhardt with

Kunzman & Bollinger, Inc.
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.

Chairman's Perspective 

Brad Rickelman

Meridian Technology Center

"Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer’d." Cymbeline, Act 4, Scene 3

For much of Oklahoma’s history, our economic development has been driven by a turn of nature – the existence of large bodies of oil and natural gas located beneath our soil. And the soil itself, providing food, grain, forage for cattle. Hard work was and is required to wrest value from the land, but fortune has helped us.
But everyone acknowledges that if we can diversify our state’s economy, we will be less susceptible to the vagaries of the price of oil – and entrepreneurship – growing our own businesses here in Oklahoma – is a great way to diversify.
Thus I am very excited that our March main speaker is the newly elected Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell. Matt runs a small business with his wife, Lisa, an entrepreneur and inventor, and we are delighted to have both top officials in Oklahoma - Governor Stitt and Lt. Governor Pinnell - as business owners.
Without making any claims about the effectiveness of running an elected office/administration as a business, it is clear that being an entrepreneur makes one more knowledgeable about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. That is why I really wanted to have our Lt. Governor speak to the Oklahoma Venture Forum.
One of our main goals of the organization is to increase the visibility and, hopefully, the success of our Oklahoma entrepreneurs. And that is made much easier when our government are themselves entrepreneurs. Please be ready to discuss with our Lt. Governor what can be done to improve the business startup environment across the state. The Lt. Governor also oversees our tourism and programs to make Oklahoma a great destination for our visitors.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this meeting as I have been invited to participate in a Southeast Asia Fellowship through our US Department of State to teach entrepreneurship in Thailand vocational schools. I look forward to filling you in on my experience and appreciate the support and growth that OVF has provided me.
We will also be using the remaining time for a short survey of OVF, our meetings, and what we can do to improve the organization. Please take the time to complete this survey.
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.

OVF 2018-2019 Events Calendar

Speaker Series Lunches

March 13, 2019
April 10, 2019
May 8th, 2019

OVF After Hours

April 4th - Project 3810

Award for Economic Impact

May 8th, 2019
Oklahoma History Center

Upcoming Small Business Events

Host Organization: Metro Tech Downtown Business Campus          
Event title: Microsoft for Executives: Excel 2016, Level 2
Event type: Intermediate Microsoft Excel course for professionals who feel they are under utilizing this great software package
Event date: February 27th, 9 AM – 4 PM                   
Link to registration: http://www.cvent.com/d/b6q72q
Host Organization: Oklahoma Venture Forum       
Event title: Speaker Series Luncheon
Event type: Featuring Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell. Topic small business in Oklahoma. 
Event date: March 13th, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM                  
Link to registration: Attend
Host Organization: Metro Tech Downtown Business Campus          
Event title: Microsoft for Executives: Excel 2016, Level 3
Event type: Advanced Microsoft Excel course for users wanting to break through to real mastery
Event date: March 13th, 9 AM – 4 PM                   
Link to registration: http://www.cvent.com/d/56q72d
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: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 20, $19, Lunch included.
Link to registration: Attend
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