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  • December 28, 2022 12:20 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Rebekah Stewart

    Business Development Manager | Technical Division

    Fuse3 Solutions

    Here to connect talent and opportunity within the OKC metro job market. Passionate about quality leadership techniques and values personal growth.

    When I'm not out and about connecting with OKC's own, you can find me playing golf or planning my next summer vacation in the mountains.

    Rebekah is a UCO graduate and current Edmond resident with a background in marketing and community relations. She works as the Business Development Manager for the Technical Recruiting division at Fuse3 Solutions, a local talent firm.

    She's passionate about local development and connecting with people in the metropolitan. Rebekah is newly married, so expect a name change soon! Her favorite things include summer in the mountains, a round of golf, and a chilled glass of wine.



    Register here to attend the January 11th OVF Power Lunch

  • December 28, 2022 12:13 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    January Pitch Presenters

    Steve Adams, Bison Underground

    &

    Ryan Skeffington, Cheers!

    Bison Underground 

    Farming is a vital part of the global economy, but also a major producer of a large amount of carbon dioxide, adding to the mounting levels in our atmosphere. Our technology takes unusable organic material from farms, like stalks and leaves post-harvest, or cover crops grown during the off season, and turns it into an injectable, nutrient-rich material that is placed deep into farming soils. This limits the addition of new carbon to the atmosphere from surface decomposition and sequesters it into soil long-term. Our idea is unique due to the additional benefits of rapid soil and crop health restoration, improved resiliency of farms against extreme weather events, enhanced crop yields, decreased need for synthetic fertilizers and irrigation, and increased agricultural biodiversity and food security for all.


    Cheers!

    Cheers is a mobile app that reduces time spent in line, increases bartender efficiency, and increases revenue for owners and alcohol brands.

    For users we offer a mobile app that allows them to get bar & drink recommendations, order from their phones skipping the lines, and saves them from having to sign wet receipts at the end of the night with digital payments.

    For bar owners we offer a local marketing platform that saves them the cost and headache of posting on social media or hiring a social media manager. By offering sharing tools for their establishment they get user generated marketing content directly linked to their bar and their products. For bartenders we offer time saving solutions. No more waiting on a customer to look at your menu with 100 selections. No more taking cards, swiping cards, checking I.D.’s, and closing tabs. No more printing off receipts, getting them signed, and filing away wet paper.

    For alcohol brands we offer unparalleled access to user insights and on site advertising. We offer partnered alcohol brands the ability to put an ad in front of a customer and have that customer be drinking their product within the next few minutes after clicking on their ad. This data will allow them to more efficiently strategize and roll out ad campaigns from the local level to nationwide.


    Register here to attend the January 11th OVF Power Lunch

  • December 28, 2022 12:06 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)


    Anita Ly

    Generating Success for Entrepreneurs

    by Dennis Spielman

    As the Managing Director of gener8tor in Oklahoma City, Anita Ly is committed to helping entrepreneurs succeed with gener8tor’s national investment accelerator program. Ly started her professional career as a scientist in biotech pharma in California before moving to Oklahoma to attend graduate school at the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, she became involved with the Oklahoma Catalyst programs as they were looking for someone with a STEM background, who was all about women empowerment, and entrepreneurship. This led to her discovery of her passion for working with founders and telling their stories, leading to her decision to pivot her career to focus on helping founders. After finishing her schooling at OU and working in venture capital at Atento Capital in Tulsa, she joined gener8tor to help support and build a community around founders in Oklahoma City. The gener8tor platform includes more than 75 programs spanning startup accelerators, corporate programming, speaker series, conferences, skills accelerators, and fellowships.

    “Most of our startups don’t just go there for funding,” said Anita Ly. “We’re known for the wide breadth network that we can provide to our founders through mentor swarms as well as investors swarms. Our goal is to set them up for success while having a white glove concierge approach.”

    Applications for entrepreneurs are open until mid-January, and Ly has been actively recruiting and talking to founders to let people know that gener8tor is in town. Ly said the most rewarding part of working with gener8tor is seeing the successes of several types of founders.

    “No founder comes into the program at the exact same stage of development or having the same types of issues, and it’s really exciting to help them pinpoint what they need to focus on in order to hit that next milestone,” said Ly. “Then seeing the excitement on their faces when they are able to finally raise that next round.”

    Aside from the Investment Accelerator program, gener8tor offers other product lines that Ly will discuss. They’re not just focused on Oklahoma City but on supporting all of Oklahoma and companies that can give back to the local community. Ly would like to have all Oklahoma Venture Forum members come to learn about gener8tor’s different offerings.

    “We are constantly looking for not just investors but mentors,” said Ly. “That could be anyone who works directly with founders, has been a founder, or has a unique set of experiences that might play a good hand with our potential cohort. Everyone can be a mentor, and we really want people to feel like they have something of value to give, and at the same time, there is so much they can learn from mentoring other founders as well.”

    Anita Ly will speak to Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch members on Wednesday, January 11, 2023. The event will be held at The Venue at Crew in Downtown Oklahoma City from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm and will be open to members and guests both in-person and virtually via ZOOM. Ly believes the forum is an excellent place for those that want to be involved in the venture capital world.

    “Those that have always been curious about getting involved, this is a great way to have those monthly power lunches and meet really incredible people to learn about what’s going on in the ecosystem and having a network where they can get together with other like-minded individuals,” said Ly.

    Register here to attend the January 11th OVF Power Lunch

  • November 22, 2022 6:33 PM | Anonymous

    OVF Chairwoman
    2022-2023
    Jennifer McGrail
    Executive Director
    Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology

    We have reached one of the busiest times of the year! The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us. From wrapping up Thanksgiving festivities, to literally wrapping holiday gifts, we have almost made it to the end of 2022. OVF members have one last chance this year to hear from a great lineup of speakers.

    Please make plans to join us in December to hear from Allison Conti and Michael Labrie as they discuss the importance of intellectual property patents. Our pitch presenter will be Mark Stoddard with EzyTip, Inc. While this is your last chance to enjoy OVF for 2022, do not worry. We will be back in full force in 2023 with more excellent programming and networking opportunities for everyone. The pitches, learning, networking and energy have been amazing over the last few months, and we look forward to having you help us keep the energy high at the December OVF Power Lunch. We encourage you to invite a guest that might like to experience all that OVF has to offer! 

    Kindest Regards,
    Jennifer McGrail
    OVF Chair, 2022-2023
    Register here to attend the December 14th OVF Power Lunch
  • November 22, 2022 6:28 PM | Anonymous

    Ashton Bennett
    Employee Benefits Consultant, Evans National

    My name is Ashton Bennett, and I am an Employee Benefits Consultant for Evans National. I work solely with companies to provide the most optimal benefits package to recruit and retain top tier talent. I assist with navigating through the process to make it seamless for both the employer and their employees.

    I was born and raised in Edmond and have always strongly supported locally owned businesses. By setting up a company's benefits package, I can help Oklahoma businesses grow. These are interesting times where employees are leaving companies for better benefits and less pay. Benefits have never been as important as they are today, so I want to make sure that Oklahoma companies are competitive in this area.

    Register here to attend the December 14th OVF Power Lunch

  • November 22, 2022 6:23 PM | Anonymous

    Mark Stoddard
    Founder & CEO, EzyTip, Inc.

    EzyTip, Inc. a Delaware Corp, is a Veteran-owned, Tulsa, OK based, pre-seed, startup Fintech B2B2C subscription payment processing business to the $2B combined U.S. Market tipped worker industries of Music, Entertainment, Restaurant, Hospitality, Nightclub/Bar, and Gambling.

    The company fixes the problems of the broken cash tip jar and nightly cash tip-out, MAKING IT EASY for all tipped workers to earn and keep more tips, significantly improving their lives.

    These problems are fixed by using three BaaS providers to process tips and deposit them same day into our customers bank accounts from more than 10 digital payment methods through our main product of customer tip webpages (Not an APP), and by providing a digital tip out product, a robust one-stop-shop music promotion service, and by educating our customers to proactively seek more tips using our printed QR code products that significantly increase tipping opportunity and ability for a differentiated, maximum value set of services and low fees NOT found with the competition.

    Register here to attend the December 14th OVF Power Lunch

  • November 22, 2022 6:14 PM | Anonymous

    Allison Conti and Michael LaBrie

    Protecting Your Intellectual Property

    Written by Dennis Spielman

    Founder and CEO of Watkins-Conti Products, Inc., Allison Watkins-Conti is a recognized leader, inventor, and speaker. Raised in an entrepreneurial environment, she witnessed the formation and creation of sustainable businesses and has experience in many facets of business management. In 2015, Conti conceived the solution for an issue that affects an estimated one in three women. She designed, patented, engineered, and manufactured, Yōni.Fit, a nonsurgical, intravaginal device for women suffering from stress urinary incontinence. The device is entering the FDA approval process. Her company was awarded Most Promising New Venture of the Year through the Oklahoma Venture Forum.

    “We've done clinical trials at Stanford and NYU and Thomas Jefferson University, and I’ve filed intellectual property utility patents,” said Allison Conti. “Right now, I have five utility patents issued in the United States, and those have been filed in 17 countries. Then I have got three trademarks and two design patents as well.”

    Speaking on the business side of intellectual property, Conti compared having these protections to owning real estate. They increase the value of your business and set up a picket fence around your idea so that nobody else can steal it.

    Mike LaBrie is a shareholder with McAfee & Taft in Oklahoma City.  He has been practicing intellectual property law since 1994 and was a mechanical engineer for Schlumberger before attending law school. LaBrie is active in patent prosecution, patent portfolio management, trademarks, copyrights, and software and is the leader of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group and Biotech Industry Group.

    “The key to monetizing the idea or the invention is to protect it,” said Mike LaBrie. “Otherwise, if there's no intellectual property protection and you roll the product out, then anyone can copy it and basically take it and commercialize it themselves. And so, the intellectual property, it creates obstacles for competitors, and it provides long-term protection so that you can commercialize it, go through the FDA process, license it, sell the product, those sorts of things.”

    “If you have to raise money, people want to ensure that whatever their funding is protected,” Conti added. “Jenny Martel is the head of Global Brand Protection for Colgate Palmolive, and she sits on my board, and she's just constantly talking about trademarking and how important it is because even if you roll a product out in the United States, and it's, for example, not trademarked in China, they can go and counterfeit your goods and pretend they're you.”

    LaBrie agreed with Conti and added he had seen increased problems lately, especially in China and some other countries, and trouble can arise in several different situations.

    “One is where you have customs issues,” said LaBrie. “If you have a product manufactured in China, for example, but you don't have a trademark registered in China, then you can have difficulty exporting it out to the United States, in addition to people just registering your trademark in China and manufacturing and selling goods under that name.”

    One of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make is rolling the product out or disclosing the product without first filing a patent application, said LaBrie.

    “In the United States, you have one year from the first public disclosure to file a patent application,” said LaBrie. “Other countries require what's called absolute novelty, meaning you have to file a patent application before the first public disclosure or commercial sale.  So, if you disclose it too early, you may miss the one-year bar in the United States, but you may also be prohibited from filing foreign patent applications in other countries.”

    “I think that founders really make a mistake of trying to do everything themselves and not hiring the best lawyers,” said Conti. “For me, it's non-negotiable. I'm going to hire the best lawyers for every contract.”

    Even if entrepreneurs do not have the funds to protect their intellectual property fully, LaBrie said they should have a strategy. They should know what they are going to do, when they will do it, and when they will file for the patent and trademark applications.

    Conti and LaBrie will speak to Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch members on Wednesday, December 14, 2022. The event will be held at The Venue at Crew in Downtown Oklahoma City from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm and will be open to members and guests both in-person and virtually via ZOOM. Both Conti and LaBrie recommend attending the monthly event.

    “I've met a lot of different companies that I do business with now through the Oklahoma Venture Forum, so it's a great networking opportunity,” said Conti. “And even if we didn't do business, I've learned a lot from people in the conversations and met a lot of new, interesting businesses and different vendors that can help. For example, an insurance company that I work with now that it's hard to get clinical trials insured, that I was connected through the Oklahoma Venture Forum. I highly recommend attending all of the luncheons for those reasons.”

    “I think something that stands out at OVF is the diversity of backgrounds. You have entrepreneurs, you have service providers, you have funders, you have a lot of different resources that can be valuable regardless of what your company does,” said LaBrie. “I think the diversity of backgrounds will help make people successful and great contacts.”

    Register here to attend the December 14th OVF Power Lunch

  • October 25, 2022 12:21 PM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    OVF Chairwoman
    2022-2023
    Jennifer McGrail
    Executive Director
    Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology

    November is traditionally the month we set aside special time to give thanks. OVF is certainly thankful for our members and sponsors. Without each of you, we could not continue to foster innovation and economic growth.

    Did you know that November is also when the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who launch startups, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare occurs? From November 14 through November 20, Oklahomans will take part in events dedicate to the celebration and empowerment of entrepreneurs. We will join 10 million people across the globe to collaborate and engage with organizations and individuals to bring awareness to entrepreneurship and its possibilities. If you are interested in seeing what events are happening in Oklahoma and across the globe, visit https://www.genglobal.org/gew/events.

    While our next OVF Power Lunch falls right before Global Entrepreneurship Week, we invite you to join us for our November Power Lunch as we gain insight into possible legislation impacting entrepreneurship. Please remember to join us at our new meeting location at the Crew Workspace. Parking is free right across from the building. OVF Power Lunches are a great opportunity to invite new colleagues, friends, and potential founders!

    We look forward to seeing you at the October OVF Power Lunch. We encourage you to invite a guest that might like to experience all that OVF has to offer!

    Kindest Regards,

    Jennifer McGrail

    OVF Chair, 2022-2023

    Register here to attend the October 12th Power Lunch

  • October 24, 2022 11:36 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)
    Keeping Politically Aware for your Business Legislative Panel hosted by Tyler Powell and Tom Robins 

    by Dennis Spielman

    Tom Robins is the president and founder of the Oklahoma Innovative Technology Alliance (OITA).  Robins described OITA as the home and voice for Oklahoma Innovation and Technology where their number one priority is creating a workforce talent pipeline for their members as they grow. Previously, Robins spent time in D.C. after graduating from college and went to Utah State, got his master’s in political management from the George Washington University, worked for the Senate judiciary and other projects in Washington D.C. on political campaigns. In Oklahoma, he was the Deputy Secretary of Energy for the previous governor, helping advise and handle energy policy and all of its forms for the governor.

    Tyler Powell owns the firm CSS Partner, assisting in government affairs and political strategy, helping client’s kind of all sizes, including OITA. Before starting CSS Partner in 2017, Powell was the Deputy Secretary of Environment where he met Robins. As the Deputy Secretary, Tyler oversaw implementation of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, the Water for 2060 Act, and the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range Wide Conservation Plan.

    “Policy and politics impact in the innovation technology industry, but it might not be something that people think about,” said Tom Robins.

    For the Oklahoma Venture Forum, Powell and Robins will host a panel discussion along with Representative Nicole Miller and Senator Julia Kirt. Members will get an update on what happened in the elections, which will be the night before the Power Lunch Event. Topics will include the implications of the elections, both for D.C. and locally, and how that'll impact over the next couple of years, innovation, and technology.

    “I think obviously it's going to be super topical given kind of it's the day after the election,” said Tyler Powell. “What will the next two and four years look like? What are those issues that, if I've got a business I need to be thinking about, or in the case of stuff that we're going to be promoting, how is that going to go through and change based off the current dynamics of what the legislature looks like?”

    Kirt, Miller, Powell, and Robins will speak to Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch members on Wednesday, November 9, 2022. The event will be open to members and guests both in-person and virtually via ZOOM.

    “OVF brings together investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders, innovation and technology leaders, and engaging and educating, engaging elected officials or policy makers is an important opportunity for that community,” said Robins. “We can learn from one another.”

    Register here to attend the November 9th OVF Power Lunch
  • October 24, 2022 11:13 AM | Ché Loessberg (Administrator)

    Mike Orr
    President, Digital Oil and Gas Solutions

    Over the last 30 years, Mike’s area of influence has involved roles that have shaped a unique perspective of critical thinking and common sense to solving problems and developing people for both the workplace and life. Recognized as a change agent that sees opportunity in every situation based on a simple approach that technology is the easy part.

    Mike’s current role involves leading Digital Oil and Gas Solutions for TEAM International. Prior to joining TEAM, Mike had global responsibility for strategy, planning, and infrastructure for Murphy Oil Corporation. Mike also has patented several technologies.  His recent areas of focus includes creation of an IoT framework, Data Management as a Service platform, and a turnkey service model designed to meet operators where they are at.  He has been part of multiple industry firsts, leveraging strategic partnerships that center around rapid system installation of applications, hyper converged infrastructure, and SDWAN footprints, including a 6-month global deployment of full suite SAP across 6 countries, Network as a Service model, and several cloud-based technologies. 

    His experience also includes portfolio management roles at Phillips 66 as well as leading the technology transformation projects to separate ConocoPhillips into two global leaders.  His experience covers Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream.   

    Additional experience’s includes roles at Williams, Deloitte, McDonalds, Saint Francis Health System, and the oil patch. 

    Register here to attend the November 9th OVF Power Lunch

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