Entrepreneurs get smacked in the face day after day with challenge after challenge. Perhaps no hill is steeper than the climb to acquire investment capital.
Access to early stage capital is a must, and has to be available in your backyard. That's why creating an Oklahoma-based source of investment capital matched to the stages of entrepreneurial development has been such a driving part of i2E's strategy.
We cover the “Valley;” not Silicon Valley, but the so-named Valley of Death, that critical pre-revenue bottoming out point in the life of nearly every startup — where the entrepreneur has to find a way to cover costs as the company fights to gain traction, early customers and ultimately revenue that will fund its sustainability and growth.
This has been a record year for i2E. We've helped fund 11 businesses from start to close. To our knowledge there's never been an early stage capital source that's done 11 deals in Oklahoma start to finish in one year.
We have about $40 million in risk capital under management, with about $20 million of that in dry powder. That's all come together in the last two years.
The OCAST Technology Business Finance Program — which has funded more than 100 companies since 1999 — gave us a great starting point as an established fund for proof-of-concept stage deals.
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DID YOU KNOW?
While California leads in deals and dollars, in 2011, 79 percent of angel group investments were in companies outside of California and 70 percent of total funding was invested outside of California.