i2E funding fuels new companies on the Oklahoma startup runway

Experience of Oklahoma City's Moleculera Labs demonstrates one path to startup funding.
www.i2e.org Published: February 12, 2013
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Dr. Craig Shimasaki likens the pursuit of risk capital to trying to build an airplane while it's taxiing before takeoff. “At some point, you run out of runway,” he said.

Shimasaki and Dr. Madeleine Cunningham of the University of Oklahoma are co-founders of Moleculera Labs, an Oklahoma City firm with a lab test to predict a patient's likelihood of having pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococci (PANDAS), a form of autism spectrum disorder.

“This is the third startup company I have been involved with,” Shimasaki said.

“The pain and agony that entrepreneurs experience in attempting to finance an idea and a company are great.”

Entrepreneurs often are left to fend for themselves as they try to raise capital for their company.

“However,” Shimasaki said, “the state of Oklahoma and i2E have created funds that are available at different stages of company development to provide a potential funding continuum.

“When combined with the commercialization assistance that i2E provides, it makes a huge difference in what can be accomplished, especially in life sciences, where commercialization can take multiple years and multiple millions of dollars.”

i2E first became engaged with Moleculera Labs last year when Shimasaki volunteered the company to participate in the Governor's Cup business plan competition.

“We liked the concept,” said David Thomison, i2E vice president of investments, “but the original business plan, which called for $2 million to build a lab when the bench lab test hadn't yet been proven to scale, was too risky to interest investors.”

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DID YOU KNOW?

As of the third quarter of 2012, health care attracted the largest share of reported angel investment for five consecutive quarters. It is second only to the Internet in the number of deals.

SOURCE: Halo Report

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