Angel investing is embedded deep in Oklahoma DNA

Angel investing provides returns, intellectual stimulation and giving back to the state — a winning formula for investors.
BY TOM WALKER twalker@i2e.org Published: February 14, 2012
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From the time the first Sooners struck oil, there have been financially successful Oklahomans who showed a strong appetite for investing in high risk, high return deals.

In that way, angel investors have been a presence in our state since the first oil well gushed.

In another way, angel investing is a more recent phenomenon as individual angel investors — wealthy individuals who provide capital to startup companies in anticipation of significant returns — are increasingly organizing into angel groups.

There are more than 300 organized angel groups in North America.

Given Oklahoma's pro-risk DNA, it wasn't surprising when SeedStep Angels started up three years ago, that the idea of organizing and bringing coordination and best practices to Oklahoma's early-stage capital sector was met with enthusiasm.

Combining energy and capital allows angels to leverage their individual investments, diversify their portfolios and most importantly increase their rate of return.

Even though we were shoulder deep in one of the worst economic periods in history, that Oklahoma risk-tolerant DNA kicked in and more than two dozen accredited investors signed on.

Then, as the recession deepened, the SeedStep Angel group's ranks receded to single digits. The question became, do we press on, or do we wait for times to get better?

We pressed on.

That's because we're Oklahomans and because a sustainable source of early stage equity capital is absolutely vital to startup companies that create the higher paying jobs that power an innovation economy.

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Editor's Note

This is the first in a four-part series exploring angel investing and the opportunities it affords the Oklahoma economy.

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