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  • April 04, 2024 11:09 AM | Anonymous


    Sam DuRegger, Founder/CEO
    Barista Bot

    Barista Bot aims to radically simplify how we interact with the services we use every day, starting with our morning coffee. Utilizing natural language processing, Barista Bot assists users in ordering their favorite coffee drink by quickly learning their preferences through a series of simple text conversations. Potential applications go beyond your coffee preferences and could change how we tackle mundane tasks like registering cars or applying for civil services. Simplicity could be just a text away.

    Logan Evans, Founder/CEO
    Sugar Security

    Sugar Security makes cybersecurity easy and affordable for small tech-enabled organizations. This includes vulnerability scanning, breach & attack simulations, risk assessments, compliance audits, and more. 

    Sugar offers a self-serve SaaS dashboard with a free tier, scaling up to a $25K/yr Enterprise package with advanced features and a service package for bespoke cybersecurity needs.

    Natarianto Indrawan, Founder

    Clean Ammonia Production for Green Fertilizer Industry. An innovative technology to produce ammonia at atmospheric condition, resulting in numerous benefits as compared to conventional method (HB process) that has been used since early 1900s.

    Robert Washington, Founder/CEO
    Shelter Share

    Robert Washington is the esteemed Founder and CEO of Shelter Share, a visionary leader with a rich background in Hospitality and Supply Chain Management. With a profound commitment to aiding those in need, Robert leverages his expertise to create innovative solutions for the shelter crisis. His unique blend of skills allows him to approach the challenge of sheltering individuals with both compassion and strategic precision, driving Shelter Share's mission to make a lasting impact on communities nationwide. Through his tireless dedication, Robert has become a beacon of hope for countless individuals seeking shelter and support.

    Danielle Melton, Founder/CEO

    MOTHERboard® stands at the forefront of a paradigm shift in workplace culture, specifically tailored to address the unique challenges faced by working mothers. As the founder of MOTHERboard®, I've dedicated our platform to combating burnout through a comprehensive suite of tools, training, and resources designed to empower mothers in their professional and personal lives. Our innovative program not only supports working mothers in achieving a harmonious balance between their career ambitions and family responsibilities but also provides companies with a powerful tool for employee retention and talent acquisition. By participating in our Early Adopter Program, companies have the opportunity to join a visionary movement towards creating a more supportive, empowering workplace that recognizes and values the dual roles many women play.

    Our mission transcends offering a service; it's about spearheading a movement that redefines the modern workplace into an environment where mothers can excel without compromise. Through MOTHERboard®, we aim to establish a new standard for corporate culture—one where the well-being of working mothers is not just an afterthought but a fundamental aspect of business success. By fostering a supportive ecosystem, we not only enhance the well-being of individual employees but also contribute to the overall health and productivity of organizations. Join us as we transform workplaces into spaces where working mothers thrive, paving the way for a future where work and family life coexist in harmony.

  • April 01, 2024 3:10 PM | Anonymous

    Caleb Owens
    CEO/Founder, Premier Insurance Housing

    With 13 years of experience in the corporate housing industry, Caleb, the CEO and Founder of Premier Insurance Housing LLC, possesses the skills and knowledge required to navigate the complexities of the property and casualty sector. I excel in delivering exceptional customer service, achieving company objectives, and establishing strong industry partnerships. Caleb has also managed high-value projects for the United States Armed Forces in various locations, showcasing my ability to meet strict deadlines.

    Register to Attend April Power Pitch Lunch

  • April 01, 2024 10:56 AM | Anonymous

    Oklahoma is a “Coffee State”
    An interview with Jennifer McGrail

    Written by Dennis Spielman

    Jennifer McGrail immersed herself in the world of family-owned businesses from childhood, marking the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey. Despite initially shying away from the idea of entrepreneurship due to its demanding nature, McGrail’s passion for making a difference led her back to the realm of small businesses. Over the years, she navigated through various sectors, including corporate and nonprofit, before finding her niche in small business development. Through her roles at Francis Tuttle and the OKC Metro Collaborative, McGrail honed her expertise in fostering innovation and supporting entrepreneurs. Now, as the Executive Director at OCAST, she spearheads initiatives to empower innovators across all 77 counties of Oklahoma, recognizing the crucial role of capital access in their success. McGrail’s journey exemplifies resilience, adaptability, and a steadfast commitment to driving positive change in communities through entrepreneurship.

    The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) is crucial in driving technology-based economic development to diversify the state’s economy. Beyond its founding purpose, OCAST serves as a catalyst for innovation by identifying and supporting Oklahoma’s innovators in bringing their ideas to market. This involves providing resources for research and development, creating workforce opportunities through internships, and fostering collaborations across various sectors.

    “What that means for most people is we’re the entity that helps find and identify Oklahoma innovators and help them take those innovations, identify the problem that they are going to solve and get them in a customer’s hands to solve the problem,” said Jennifer McGrail.

    With a focus on equitable access, OCAST ensures that rural innovators receive the same support as those in urban centers like Oklahoma City and Tulsa. In recent years, OCAST has expanded its initiatives, including introducing the State Small Business Credit Initiative program to stimulate private investment in Oklahoma businesses. Through venture capital investment programs and a newly established business lending program, OCAST continues to empower entrepreneurs, fueling economic growth and opportunity across the state.

    McGrail’s involvement with the Oklahoma Venture Forum reflects her commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across the state. Having worked extensively in Lawton, McGrail recognized the challenges high-growth businesses face in accessing vital resources like angel groups and seed capital. She found that connecting with the Oklahoma Venture Forum provided a crucial pathway into the venture capital ecosystem, enabling entrepreneurs to access funding and support. McGrail values the Forum not only for its role in facilitating connections with venture capital but also for its role as a platform for learning and collaboration. Through her experiences sitting at tables with representatives from various backgrounds, including venture capital and entrepreneurship, McGrail gained valuable insights into different perspectives and funding mechanisms. Her active involvement underscores the Forum’s significance as a hub for knowledge exchange and resource access, ultimately empowering entrepreneurs to thrive in Oklahoma’s dynamic business landscape.

    “Oklahoma is a coffee state, and Oklahoma Venture Forum is truly one of those rooms where you can come into, you can talk to different people, and I can almost guarantee you that you are literally one coffee meeting away from accessing the exact door that you’re trying to access on your entrepreneurial journey,” said McGrail. “You’re one conversation away from having access to almost anything you could want or need in whatever goal you’re trying to achieve.”

    Join McGrail at the next Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, as several companies make their pitch presentations. The event will be open to members and guests in person at the Metro Tech Spring Lake Campus (1900 Springlake Drive in Oklahoma City) and via ZOOM.

    “One thing I think most folks don’t realize is when they see Oklahoma Venture Forum, they think it’s just going to be a room of funders,” said McGrail. “And I would tell them that Oklahoma Venture Forum is that and so much more, and it truly is a place to come build a community that gets you access to the innovation we have here in Oklahoma and beyond the state’s borders.”

    Register to Attend April Power Pitch Lunch

  • March 11, 2024 1:42 PM | Anonymous

    Pitch Perfect for OVF
    An interview with Alex Lobodiak

    By Dennis Spielman

    Alex Lobodiak's venture into entrepreneurship began during his college years at OU, where he participated in an entrepreneurial program and successfully launched a student business focused on recyclable stadium blankets. This early experience ignited his interest in startups, leading him to intern with various startups during college. Lobodiak then delved into analytical work at Agio and later became an internal consultant for AppMex, refining his problem-solving skills. His dedication to tackling challenges led him to GeoSafe, where he contributed to its growth, specializing in sales and business development for the software company. Concurrently, Lobodiak founded True North Ventures, a consulting firm working with startups, and co-founded CoreScribe, a company leveraging AI to transcribe conversations and create custom outputs, particularly in the healthcare sector. Lobodiak's impact across industries garnered him an invitation to be part of the Oklahoma Venture Forum board.

    "I got involved with the Venture Forum back when I was studying entrepreneurship," said Alex Lobodiak. "I really enjoyed the people and the quality of not just the network there but the presentations. I think I was that guy who probably asked too many questions and helped a little bit here and there. And they, they probably took that as an invitation to ask me onto the board."

    The pitch presentations during the Power Lunch event provide a statewide stage for emerging business leaders to hone their ideas and receive relevant feedback. According to Lobodiak, crafting an impactful business pitch involves several key elements to capture the audience's attention and secure support. To start, emphasizing traction and tangible progress can be a compelling way to draw people in. Clarity in articulating specific needs, whether it be fundraising, introductions, or resources, is crucial. Being transparent about fundraising goals and the purpose of the funds adds credibility. Additionally, clearly defining the target market and highlighting what sets the venture apart from competitors are key aspects. Moreover, Lobodiak emphasizes the importance of showcasing the team's capabilities and explaining why they are well-suited to drive the success of the product or project.

    "It's always important to differentiate yourself from your competition and clarify why you have the team that will be a good team to carry this product forward," said Lobodiak.

    Several businesses will make their pitch at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. The event will be open to members and guests in person at 36 Degrees North (36 E. Cameron St. in Tulsa) and via ZOOM. Pitch presenters include Titan Intake, EDUrain, Paldara Pharmaceutical, Core-Scribe, Waysteless, and gamr.

    "We've got a lot of other talented presenters that will be there, and I'm excited to see them succeed in Oklahoma's ecosystem," said Lobodiak. "This event will be a great way to connect them with folks in the community that want to help elevate their business."

    Register here for the OVF Power Pitch Lunch

  • February 01, 2024 6:35 PM | Anonymous

    Sharing the Love for OVF
    An interview with Cara Evans

    by Dennis Spielman

    As a board member of the Oklahoma Venture Forum, Cara Evans uses her background in entrepreneurship to enhance the community. After completing her studies in Stillwater, she entered the commercial construction field, actively engaging with various subcontractors and gaining experience in freelance work.

    In 2008, Cara embarked on her entrepreneurial journey by starting her own company and becoming the first tenant in an Enid-based incubator. Her involvement with an angel fund and graduate work in entrepreneurship further solidified her passion for creating opportunities and bringing ideas to life. While working in the career tech system, Cara continued to pursue her self-employed endeavors, primarily in professional services.

    Over the past 11 years, Cara Evans played a significant role in supporting entrepreneurs in an incubator and entrepreneurial support position. She has accumulated diverse experiences working with numerous clients and contributing to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. According to Evans, the Oklahoma Venture Forum is a pivotal hub in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

    She believes OVF fosters a dynamic community of service providers, founders, VCs, funders, angels, banks, and educational institutions. This diverse demographic slice creates a unique networking experience that attendees can leverage through targeted introductions from the OVF board or in-person power lunches.

    The emphasis on building relationships is complemented by intentional programming that exposes attendees to new company pitches, regulatory and technological advancements, and subject matter experts. Additionally, the OVF's podcast provides a valuable resource to those interested in a deeper dive into relevant topics within the entrepreneurial sphere.

    Evans said that, when compared to other networking events, "there's something different from actually sitting down at a table and sharing a meal and having dedicated time to converse and solidify those types of relationships that OVF offers.”

    With the next Power Lunch falling on Valentine's Day, the Share the Love event aims to celebrate the collaborative spirit within the entrepreneurial community, particularly focusing on inclusivity and breaking down barriers for newcomers. Drawing inspiration from a recent startup census that gathered data across the state, the Share the Love event highlights the ecosystem's interconnected nature, emphasizing how the forum has facilitated meaningful connections.

    The event will feature a diverse panel representing various OVF member types, from founders to sole proprietors, corporates to incubators, showcasing the accessibility and versatility of the community. Attendees can anticipate discussions on the benefits of OVF membership, personal experiences in the ecosystem, and insights on how different members contribute to the thriving entrepreneurial landscape.

    "We want to drive home that the community is accessible and full of people that want to support your venture and your dreams and just why being involved matters," said Evans. "There are so many ways to get plugged into OVF. No matter what level, it's accessible.”

    While methods like cold calls and emails may yield results, Evans said OVF provides a unique platform where a community of like-minded individuals is ready to facilitate connections. This tight-knit community doesn't guarantee immediate outcomes, but it allows for the planting of seeds that may flourish over time. In a realm where faces become familiar and events transform into opportunities to discover individuals who can address specific needs, the OVF stands as a bridge, connecting people and fostering relationships.

    "It's nice to be like, 'Oh, hey, I've never had this particular need before, but now I know who handles that,'' said Evans. "Relationships make the world go round. That's really what it is. A lot of times in entrepreneurship, you're investing in the person.”

    Cara Evans will speak alongside other panel discussion participants at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, February 14, 2024. The event will be open to members and guests in person at the Metro Tech Spring Lake Campus (1900 Springlake Drive in Oklahoma City) and via ZOOM.

    Established in 1987, Evans said the Oklahoma Venture Forum stands as one of the longest-standing organized groups in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, offering reliability, consistency, and a valuable network that transcends time, fostering enduring relationships and providing a consistent platform for engagement every second Wednesday.

    Register for the February 14, 2024 OVF Power Lunch

  • February 01, 2024 6:28 PM | Anonymous

    Kristin Garcia
    Executive Director
    The Verge OKC

    Kristin Garcia serves as the Executive Director at The Verge OKC, a 501(3)(c), that connects our rising entrepreneurial community to the people and resources they need to progress their vision and transform great ideas into impactful businesses. Kristin has served as an entrepreneurship and tech ecosystem builder in the Oklahoma City area since moving to Oklahoma in 2017 to serve as the Code Lab Manager supporting startup program development and community tech development programs. Previously, Kristin worked at a tech startup, Purepost, focused on solving Veteran hiring problems where her brother and father serve as co-founders with their team on the West Coast. She currently serves as the Global Entrepreneurship Week State Coordinator for Oklahoma, a member of the organizing team for 1 Million Cups Oklahoma City, an Adjunct for the OU Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Department and formerly for an Intro to MIS course, and former Board Member of Techlahoma.

    Kristin calls San Antonio, TX home and is a proud Army Brat who has traveled the world. She currently lives in Norman, OK with her husband Chris and their 3 dogs.

    Register for the February 14, 2024 OVF Power Lunch
  • December 28, 2023 11:05 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Tulsa’s Tech Hub Advantage
    An interview with
    Tori Burris

    Manager of Strategic Initiatives
    Tulsa Innovation Labs

    by Dennis Spielman 

    Before Tori Burris became the manager of strategic initiatives at Tulsa Innovation Labs, she was a vital member of the early team at Holbert and Tulsa, the city’s vocational software engineering school. Burris played a pivotal role for three and a half years, contributing to the growth from a startup with the first five people to a thriving institution with over a hundred alums, 250 students, and a staff of over 30. During her tenure, she lived the entrepreneurial

    journey, oversaw the career services department, and collaborated with startups seeking to hire junior technical talent.

    Tulsa Innovation Labs is pivotal in catalyzing the leadership of Tulsa’s future innovation sectors. Burris said the organization focuses on four key sectors—virtual health, energy technology, advanced mobility, and cyber and analytics. Through an extensive study, Tulsa Innovation Labs identifies areas where the city’s assets align with future industry needs. Working at a systems level, the organization takes a strategic approach to economic development, intentionally coordinating efforts to ensure the city’s growth and stability. Rather than delving into day-to-day operations, Tulsa Innovation Labs operates at a higher level, aiming to position the city strategically through thoughtful initiatives in technology-based economic development.

    “Outside of those verticals, people might know Tulsa Innovation Labs for our grants and policy team or some of our big grant wins,” said Tori Burris. “Tulsa Innovation Labs led the Build Back Better Regional Challenge win that we had about a year ago, and that was a great opportunity for us to establish ourselves with the EDA, the Economic Development Administration, and to give Tulsa some intentionally coordinated investment in how we grow the advanced mobility in cyber industries.”

    Earlier in October, President Biden announced Tulsa was one of 31 tech hubs nationwide. According to the White House press release, Tulsa Hub for Equitable & Trustworthy Autonomy (THETA), led by Tulsa Innovation Labs, aims to become a global leader in developing and commercializing autonomous systems for use cases ranging from agriculture and pipeline inspections to regional transportation.

    “With the Tech Hubs distinction, the Greater Tulsa Region is set to capture $4 billion of the $1.36 trillion global autonomous systems market,” said Burris.

    Burris emphasized that becoming a Tech Hub not only signifies the city’s current trajectory but also presents a unique opportunity for startups and investors to play a pivotal role in shaping Tulsa’s future as a global player in autonomy and cybersecurity industries, with the potential to create significant economic impact and generate up to 200,000 new jobs over the next decade.

    Entrepreneurs and investors eager to leverage Tulsa’s emergence as a Tech Hub have a unique opportunity to participate in the city’s growing tech ecosystem. Burris encourages startups to explore the possibilities within the advanced mobility and cybersecurity sectors. The upcoming Phase Two application submission on February 29 will outline the diverse and robust suite of projects to foster new businesses and commercialization in Tulsa’s tech landscape.

    “This is a validation that if you’re in Tulsa if you’re in Oklahoma, it’s really about the region,” said Burris. “If you’re in the region doing this work and helping build our tech ecosystem, then this is a validation that we are on the right track.”

    Tori Burris will speak at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, January 10, 2024. The event will be open to members and guests in person at 36 Degrees North (36 E. Cameron St. in Tulsa) and via ZOOM. Burris will share valuable insights into the future of Tulsa’s tech sector and the opportunities ahead.

    “Investors will have better visibility on deal flow, both startups and IP being developed in the area, than your VC peers outside of the region,” said Burris. “This is an opportunity to gain more insight into what is developing so venture capitalists regionally can take advantage of this opportunity.”


  • December 28, 2023 11:00 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Cara Evans
    Francis Tuttle Technology Center 


    2023 is coming to a close and 2024 is upon us!

    In January we will be back in Tulsa for the live power lunch where we will be learning about Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL). They were recently recognized as a regional 

    technology and innovation hub (Tech Hub) by the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). The Tulsa Hub for Equitable & Trustworthy Autonomy (THETA) aims to become a global leader in developing and commercializing autonomous systems in order to strengthen national and economic security while connecting small manufacturers across the region with opportunities in the autonomous systems supply chain. Use cases ranging from agriculture and pipeline inspections to regional transportation occur across the entire Greater Tulsa Region. Leveraging strong university-based research institutes in unmanned systems and cyber technologies, the Skyway Range flight corridor testing facility and existing capital investments, THETA will develop and innovate autonomous systems applications while increasing their security and integrity. THETA serves Cherokee, Creek, Mayes, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Payne, Rogers, Tulsa, Wagoner, and Washington counties. Tulsa’s presence as an urban hub in a rural region ensures that small, rural, and under served communities both influence the development of Autonomous Systems and significantly benefit from Tech Hubs EDA investment. So…that’s super exciting and I can’t wait to learn more.

    Awards nominations are now live. Categories include Venture of the Year and Most Promising New Venture. OVF will also recognize Economic Impact, Entrepreneurial Champion, and an Oklahoma incubator tenant. If you would like to sponsor any of these awards, please reach out to Che or myself.

    Have a safe and happy holiday season and don’t forget that you are welcome to attend the OKC watch party held at The Verge if you can’t make it to Tulsa and are zoomed out. We appreciate you and your commitment to OVF! See you on Jan 10th!


  • December 28, 2023 10:56 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Natarianto Indrawan

    Dr. Natarianto Indrawan is currently serving as the Founder of FlexiH, applying his industrial, research, entrepreneurial, and manufacturing experience to help guide the company. Dr. Indrawan began his career as a technical support of a power station at a Southeast Asian oil refinery. He is a former researcher of the hydrogen production and gasification technology at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Department of Energy (DoE).

    Dr. Indrawan is a graduate of Wharton School Executive Program. He received his PhD from Oklahoma State University (OSU) with his main project focused on Biopower Generation via Gasification of Biomass and Municipal Solid Waste. He was involved in the development of a unique gasifier that can process multi types of feedstocks, including biomass and municipal solid waste, into syngas and hydrogen fuel. The gasifier is currently used by the local authority to treat biomass waste into electricity. Approaching his final year of his PhD, he proposed an innovative technology to produce hydrogen with low energy input and his proposal was funded by Sun Grant Program, US Department of Agriculture. FlexiH is currently working with an international collaborator, Green Science Corporation, to construct a clean hydrogen and ammonia manufacturing facility, with Oklahoma as its headquarters.


  • December 28, 2023 10:49 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Sharron Glover
    Economic and Workforce Development

    Metro Tech

    Bio for Sharron D. Jackson-Glover
    Sharron has returned to Metro Technology Center to continue what she loves; working with business owners to run and scale their business. She is CEO of The Glover Group LLC, a consulting business focused on providing assessment,development, implementation, and facilitation of Applied Leadership (AL) programs. The company works with businesses of all sizes and at every level in the organization. The Glover Group has worked with Tribal, Government, and Private sector clients. Their AL programs have proven results in increasing employee engagement at all levels of the
    She also served as President and Board Chair of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Metro OKC from 2011 to 2015. During her leadership, the BCC grew from 80 members to 235. She was a Business Coordinator for Metro Technology Centers’ Business Development Center-North, for the Business and Industry Services Division for over 12 years. Her career at Metro Tech started as a Consultant and Trainer, before accepting the position of Training Coordinator then Director. Her responsibilities have included working with companies on all training and employee development needs
    and also providing business coaching for startup and existing small businesses. Sharron was the host and creator of “The Bis Coach” radio show on AM 1140 and 92.1 FM with Perry Broadcasting Company. The show aired weekly and is podcasted on iTunes and covers the stories of business start-ups and service providers to small business in the black community. She is a strong supporter of community outreach programs and the continued growth of the economy in NE
    Oklahoma City.
    Sharron has a very diverse background in human resources, financial and budgeting management, fund raising, leadership and coaching management, along with sales and marketing. In the past Sharron owned Complete Business Solutions,
    LLC. In 2002 the company was named Minority New Business of the Year during Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) by the Oklahoma Minority Supplier Development Council. The company provided business coaching, business plan writing, strategic planning and marketing /branding services. She has developed a training program entitled “Discovering Your Entrepreneurial Spirit” which she uses to start the business concept conversation in churches in NE Oklahoma City.
    She is a Certified Trainer and Facilitator, Executive Coach, and Certified Program Planner. She has trained as a PREP Trainer for Public Strategies, Inc. the classes are focused on building stronger marriages which impact the economy and strengthen the community. Sharron was the recipient of the 2011 Oklahoma Minority Small Business Champion of the
    Year Award from the SBA, Oklahoma District and one of Perry Publishing & Broadcasting 2011 “Woman of the Year”.
    The Single-Family Support Network gave Sharron the “Eagle Award 2014” for overcoming obstacles and being an example for others. The Urban League of OKC honored her as one of the 2014 “Equal Opportunity Award for 2014”. Sharron is a graduating member of Leadership OKC Class 32.


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