Finding startup gazelles means surviving the startup failures

On average, more than half of all startups fail before five years. But in Oklahoma, i2E has taken initiatives to reduce that risk.
Published: April 9, 2013

Nearly all of the net new jobs in our economy over the last 20-plus years have come from new companies. Those new companies came from the 50 percent of startups that survived five years or more.

In this group of surviving startups are the “gazelles” — companies that, according to MIT economist Dr. David Birch, make up only about 4 percent of the companies created, yet produce 70 percent of the nation's new jobs.

We need to remember these statistics when, despite all our efforts and initiatives, some of Oklahoma's new ventures do not survive past the four-year mark. A state needs enough risk capital to invest in the failures to find its gazelles.

In the well-executed, sound model of entrepreneurship that we are building in Oklahoma, more investment will lead to greater overall success.

Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at


Eleven Oklahoma companies receiving $4.5 million in i2E Seed Funding have had a direct and indirect economic impact of $37.3 and $11.8 million, respectively.

SOURCE: Oklahoma Department of Commerce Survey

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