Last week, i2E co-hosted a luncheon at the Colcord Hotel that featured Brad Feld, a nationally recognized entrepreneur, early-stage investor and author. Feld spoke to several dozen Oklahomans who are active in our state's innovation economy. I liked him and his message.
Feld was in Oklahoma City as the keynote speaker at the seventh annual InnoTech Oklahoma, a conference for our region's top business and technology professionals.
With a focus on early-stage software, Feld has invested in or served on the boards of such notable companies as Feedburner (acquired by Google), Abuzz (acquired by The New York Times), Cyanea and DataPower (acquired by IBM) and Zynga.
Feld talked about the ingredients for thriving startup communities: leadership by entrepreneurs, a long-term view of success, and an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Whenever there's a meeting such as this, we are reminded how important it is to create opportunities to learn from experts, investors and serial entrepreneurs from around the country and how important critical mass is to entrepreneurs. Listening to Feld and others such as him underscores the challenge and enormity of building an innovation economy.
However, we're also reminded of how Oklahoma's entrepreneurial ecosystem is starting to coalesce.
No doubt we need more venture capital here and more seed money. We could use more mentoring, more science and math graduates and increased technology transfer from Oklahoma's excellent universities and research entities.
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i2E has nearly $40 million of risk capital under management, with about $17 million available for future investments in Oklahoma high-growth companies.