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Meltdown miss called stroke of good luck

BY JIM STAFFORD Modified: October 11, 2008 at 12:37 am •  Published: October 11, 2008
In the past two months, Scott Rollins raised $3.5 million in private seed capital for Selexys Pharmaceuticals, the Oklahoma City-based life science company for which he is chief executive officer.

Selexys closed on $2.5 million of the financing and expects to close on an additional $1 million at the end of the month.

Before the crash
The deals were made just ahead of the stock market meltdown that rivals the more famous crash of 1929.

"We’ve very fortunate,” Rollins said. "If I was going out today, starting today to raise that money, I think it would be a different world from what it would be even two months ago.”

Selexys won financing from the Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund and the Oklahoma Life Sciences Fund. But Rollins also raised money from Oklahoma energy executives, who have seen large declines in their stock values.

"Would they be willing to give me the several hundreds of thousands of dollars that they gave me two months ago?” Rollins asked.

"I don’t know. Even though the Oklahoma economy is doing very well compared to the rest of the nation, this meltdown has hit the energy companies hard.”

Rollins was among a group of about 200 technology-based professionals who participated in a networking event Thursday night at the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park.

What others said
Business impact in the aftermath
Comments on the stock market meltdown from participants at an i2E sponsored networking event Thursday night for technology-based entrepreneurs and economic development professionals:

Bill Aven, Aven Enterprises: It’s going to make our financing challenges harder, but from a long-range point of view, it’s one heck of an opportunity.”

David Thomison, i2E: Many of our entrepreneurial companies rely on individual wealthy angel investors for start-up capital. The indirect end result of (the meltdown) will potentially over the next 12 months have an impact on our clients’ ability to raise private capital. As a result of that, what we are trying to do is probably advise our clients to be very prudent with any cash liquidity they have. You have to play the cards you are dealt.

Tom Francis, i2E: Startup companies have trouble getting any kind of bank financing anyway. But sometimes they get to the point where they get some account receivables and so on and get a certain (credit) line. I think that’s evaporated. It just got tighter.

Larry Kennedy, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation: We’ve got two companies not quite ready to go out and raise money. But it’s certainly going to make it tougher all the way around, I’m sure. They will probably have to look for different sources.

Business Writer Jim Stafford

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