MONSCIERGE The App that’s Revolutionizing the Hospitality Industry
THE BIO WORLD STAGE Oklahoma makes impact at 2014 biotech industry convention
INVESTED IN SUCCESS Governor’s Cup rewards top collegiate business plans
Summer 2014 i&E
We’re Proud to Help
We invite you to join us in our efforts! Contact us today.
Bill Burgess, Jr. Roundtable Chairman Vortex, Lawton
The Oklahoma Business Roundtable is proud to partner with OKBio to help grow the bioscience community in our great state. The Roundtable serves as the state’s key economic development support organization. We are comprised of over 180 top Oklahoma corporate, education and research partners – all working together to advance business expansion, recruitment and new start-up opportunities. Our state is an emerging bioscience location offering significant research infrastructure, business networking opportunities, a large talent pool and access to investment capital. We salute the work of OKBio and encourage you to meet the many bioscience companies who call Oklahoma home. We welcome your investment in our state!
Oklahoma Business Roundtable 655 Research Parkway, Suite 420 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104 405-235-3787
INSIDE i&E Profiles 6 SIVI 8 4D Sales 10 WeGoLook Cover Story 12 At Your Service, Anywhere Monscierge creates an app that connects hotels with guests at 3,000 locations worldwide.
Gov Cup 16 Lasting Legacy Governor’s Cup celebrates 10-year legacy of growing entrepreneurship across Oklahoma. 2014 BIO Convention 20 Networking, exposure key to Oklahoma presence at BIO convention Oklahomans return to annual life sciences trade show to make connections, renew relationships and tout the state’s bioscience sector. Investment 25 With more than $48 million of investment capital under management, i2E is focused on serving companies in all phases of the business life cycle, from startups looking for their first round of capital to established businesses seeking funding to expand their markets or products. In the past year, i2E has invested over $6.6 million in 22 Oklahoma startup companies.
innovators & Entrepreneurs is produced by i2E, Inc., manager of the Oklahoma Technology Commercialization Center. For more information on any content contained herein, please contact i2E at 800-337-6822. © Copyright 2014 i2E, Inc. All rights reserved.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The i2E management and staff is composed of professionals with extensive experience in technology commercialization, business development, venture investing, finance, organizational.
Howard G. Barnett, Jr., Chairman OSU-Tulsa, OSU-CHS
Scott Meacham President & CEO David Thomison Senior Vice President, Client Services Group Rex Smitherman Senior Vice President, Operations Sarah Seagraves Senior Vice President, Marketing Tom Francis Director of Funds Administration Josh Oâ€™Brien Director of Entrepreneurial Development Judy Beech Director of Finance
Stephen Prescott, Vice Chair OMRF Michael LaBrie, Secretary McAfee & Taft Leslie Batchelor Center for Economic Development Law Robert Brearton American Fidelity Assurance Company Bill W. Burgess Vortex, Inc. Michael Carolina OCAST Rita Combs REYAP Youth Programs Steve Cropper
Carl Edwards Price Edwards Company, Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Presbyterian Health Foundation
Shintaro Kaido Venture Advisor & Director, Tulsa Immersion Program
Suzette Hatfield Crawley Ventures
Richard Rainey Venture Advisor & Director, OSCR Program Kenneth Knoll Venture Advisor & Director, Advisory Services Scott Thomas IT Manager Michael Kindrat-Pratt Venture Advisor & Manager, SeedStep Angels Darcy Wilborn Client Engagement Director Cindy Williams Underwriting Coordinator & Investment Compliance Officer
Roy H. Williams Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Richard Williamson T.D. Williamson Duane Wilson LDW Services, LLC
PA R T N E R S Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) U.S. Economic Development Administration Greater Oklahoma City Chamber City of Oklahoma City
Oklahoma Business Roundtable Philip Eller Eller Detrich, P.C. Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Elaine Hamm Venture Advisor & Director, Proof of Concept Center
Mark Lauinger Venture Advisor & Director, Tulsa Services
Wes Stucky Development Management, Inc.
American Fidelity Foundation Presbyterian Health Foundation Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Brad Krieger The Oklahoma Experimental Program to Arvest Bank Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Philip Kurtz CareATC Oklahoma Department of Commerce Hershel Lamirand III Capital Development Strategies
U.S. Department of Treasury
Merl Lindstrom State Small Business Credit Initiative Phillips 66 Justin McLaughlin Tulsa Regional Chamber Mary MĂŠlon The Journal Record Fred Morgan The State Chamber David Myers Ponca City Development Authority
Jim Stafford Communications Specialist
David Pitts Stillwater National Bank
Katelynn Henderson Events Specialist
Mark Poole First National Bank of Broken Arrow
Shaun Fair Underwriting Specialist
Meg Salyer Accel Financial Staffing
Jennifer Buettner Executive Assistant
Darryl Schmidt BancFirst
Kate Nelson Administrative Assistant
Craig Shimasaki Moleculera Labs
ABOUT i2E Over our 15-year history, i2E’s nationally recognized services have provided business expertise and funding to more than 580 of Oklahoma’s emerging small businesses. With almost $50 million of investment capital under management, we are focused on serving companies in all phases of the business life cycle, from startups looking for their first round of capital all the way to established businesses seeking funding to expand their markets or products. We also are helping lead new business developments into the marketplace more efficiently and more quickly while providing guidance to bring more funding to Oklahoma’s researchers and entrepreneurs. In the past year, we have launched several new initiatives that more quickly identify promising new technologies developed on state research campuses as well as working with new companies at the earliest stages of their development to identify a viable product and market. Finally, the Oklahoma Bioscience Association recently became part of i2E, a development that means we will carry on the organization’s mission of supporting and enhancing the biotechnology industry in Oklahoma. Through our proven business and venture development process, we turn ideas into successful enterprises ... i2E.
WHAT WE DO • Evaluate the potential of new concepts • Assist with evaluation of business plans, marketing plans and raising capital • Provide guidance in management team building, business structure and financial forecasting • Assist with developing an effective investor presentation • Assist in obtaining funding through federal grant programs • Work with research universities to encourage commercialization of technologies developed through research • Provide grant capital assistance & equity investment
Welcome from Scott Meacham One of the key questions that i2E’s venture advisors ask any entrepreneur with whom we are working is this: “What problem are you solving for the market?” Oklahoma City-based Monscierge has a terrific answer. Its innovative software helps hotel operators connect with their guests, providing trusted, local recommendations for restaurants, entertainment, directions, meeting agendas and much more. Hotels communicate with their guests in their native language through a unique software application that adds value to their stay. A surge in demand for Monscierge’s patented software, touchscreen technology and, now, mobile application has translated into more than 3,000 hotels worldwide using the software. I invite you to turn to page 12 in this edition of i&E magazine to learn about how Monscierge is expanding into hotel lobbies and onto smart phones and tablets around the world. It’s a great Oklahoma success story. In this edition of i&E magazine, we also share the stories of several other up-and-coming Oklahoma startups. For instance, Oklahoma City-based WeGoLook and its unique army of nationwide field agents called “Lookers” has expanded into verification services for large banks, auto auctions, heavy equipment, boats, real estate and more. Find out what is driving the market for WeGoLook’s services on page 10. Other companies profiled in this edition include Tulsa’s 4DSales and its tablet application that helps sales professionals in the field close the deal faster (page 8); and Oklahoma Citybased SIVI, which has pioneered online educational services for entrepreneurs through a product called LaunchLeader (page 6). Also in this edition of i&E magazine, we take a look back at the 2014 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup collegiate business plan competition, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary with this year’s event that attracted over 40 teams from colleges and universities from across the state (page 16). Finally, don’t miss the photos and story from the 2014 Biotechnology Industry Organization annual convention in San Diego, where a group of 80 Oklahomans networked with visitors from around the world who stopped by the OKBio exhibition booth on the floor of the giant trade show (page 20). As always, I invite you to take some time to read about the exciting technologies and business development efforts in our state.
– Scott Meacham President & CEO Summer 2014 i&E
Profiles SIVI Corp.
THE VIRTUAL INCUBATOR T
he odds are stacked against aspiring entrepreneurs, says Ashok Kamal, co-founder and CEO of Oklahoma City-based SIVI Corp. They often aren’t prepared for the challenges of trying to get a new business up-and-running. “Inexperienced entrepreneurs are left to fend for themselves during the hardest part – getting started,” Kamal said. “As a result, 75 percent of technology startups fail. We can do much better.” A lack of education and mentoring play a critical role in the high rate of failure among tech-based startups, he said. Business schools prepare students for the corporate world. Business accelerators accept only 2 percent of their applicants, on average. And the Internet is, well, the Internet – a glut of information with very little filter. Kamal and SIVI co-founder Nicholas Seet are both successful serial entrepreneurs who recognized that there is a big market problem for tech-based startups. The pair met while competing at the Rice University Business Plan competition, then teamed on multiple startups where they learned first-hand the many issues that challenge entrepreneurs. Eventually, the duo decided that the marketplace of entrepreneurs in need of support offered a problem waiting for a solution. SIVI – it’s an acronym for Scalable Innovation Virtual Incubator – is a startup founded specifically to reach the market of other tech-based startups with a subscription-based “gamified” e-learning business model. But it goes beyond the profit motive, Kamal said. “SIVI is the solution and it’s more than a company; it’s our calling,” he said. “We believe that everyone is born an entrepreneur but the industrial system beats it out of them in order to create a steady stream of employees.” So, they created a web-based learning alternative for entrepreneurs. SIVI features a product called LaunchLeader, which uses game thinking and strategies – gamification – to engage users.
“From our VentureSpur mentors to the developers at tech meetups to supporting organizations like i2E, we became convinced that OKC is a budding startup community with all the ingredients for a booming entrepreneurial economy.” – A shok K amal
LaunchLeader motivates entrepreneurs along what he called the “5 A’s of Entrepreneurial Development” with competition, achievements and rewards, Kamal said. “We measure entrepreneurs at each stage and develop their competencies through activity-based challenges, educational lessons and other resources,” he said. The LaunchLeader program will transform a novice entrepreneur from being overwhelmed by the challenges to being “aware, confident and credible,” Kamal said. SIVI is based on a “freemium” product, which means that would-be entrepreneurs can learn the fundamentals of starting a business on a free, ad-supported website. For a $100 annual subscription, users gain advanced resources such as mentor matching. “Our paid version will be priced such that anyone serious about starting a company can easily afford it,” Kamal said. “It’s an acid test to separate ‘wantrepreneurs’ from entrepreneurs. If you can’t invest a few hundred dollars in your own professional development, it’s not the right time to start a business.” The SIVI co-founders have roots in New York and Silicon Valley, yet are starting the business in Oklahoma City. They found their way to Oklahoma via the Rice Business Plan Competition, where they met Kraettli Epperson, the managing director of VentureSpur Accelerator. While completing the VentureSpur program, the SIVI co-founders lived in an RV parked near the accelerator’s Oklahoma City office to conserve cash. Since graduating from the accelerator program, they have received investment of $340,000 and launched SIVI as an Oklahoma-based company. “Over the course of the program, we were introduced to the OKC startup ecosystem and fell in love,” Kamal said. “From our VentureSpur mentors to the developers at tech meetups to supporting organizations like i2E, we became convinced that OKC is a budding startup community with all the ingredients for a booming entrepreneurial economy. “We’re thrilled about the opportunity to contribute to a growing market and startup movement.”
Ashok Kamal and Nicholas Seet, Co-founders Year Founded: 2013 Location: Oklahoma City, OK Employees: 2 Product or technology: A game-like virtual incubator for entrepreneurs that merges academic science with engaging design and social technology. Market: “Innovation entrepreneurs” such as the 5 million people working in technology startups throughout the U.S., as well as 400,000 college students enrolled in entrepreneurship classes. Future plans: SIVI not only prepares entrepreneurs for launch, but also evaluates entrepreneurs for investors. SIVI will help solve the problem of inefficiency in the crowdfunding arena by becoming recognized as the gold standard for qualifying entrepreneurs who demonstrate startup knowledge, aptitude and ability. Funding: SIVI was launched out of the VentureSpur accelerator in Oklahoma City and Dallas. It has since received a $340,000 investment round that included i2E, angel investors from the SeedStep Angels group, Inasmuch Foundation, Trailblazer Capital and VentureSpur. Successes: The SIVI concept was validated during the 3-month VentureSpur accelerator program, during which the first version of its LaunchLeader product was developed. Early adopters include the Rice Alliance at Rice University, the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth at the University of Oklahoma. www.SIVI.com
Summer 2014 i&E
REINVENTING THE SALES CALL
he art of sales can be complicated by a host of issues. The product may be so large and heavy that it can’t be taken into the field for a demonstration. Documentation might fill several notebooks. Customers are located in remote locations. So, how can a sales professional show off the product, deliver a professional demonstration of its capabilities and close the sale? Tulsa-based 4DSales has the answer. It is reinventing the sales call with an interactive software application designed specifically for the iPad or Windows 8 tablets. With the capability to showcase a product through live action videos, photos and PDFs of specifications, sales pros can deliver dazzling sales pitches at the customer’s location, no matter how remote, said Brian Carpenter, co-founder and CEO of 4DSales. “Sales reps can’t drag thousands of different spec sheets and pamphlets with them or a 2,000-pound product if they want to show it or demonstrate it while they are out in the field,” Carpenter said. “With our technology, you can show off your product anywhere, anytime, anyplace without having to be attached or tethered together to something else.”
The revolutionary 4DSales product already is in use by sales reps from multiple companies, who report the versatility and ease of use in demonstrating products is helping them close sales. Video testimonials from VI Marketing and Branding, Turf Team, TD Williamson and others are posted on the 4DSales website. “The idea was, ‘what tools can we put into the hands of sales people to help them shorten their sales cycle and close business more quickly, while taking advantage of mobile technology and in a manner in which they can represent themselves and their brand in a much more professional way?’ ” Carpenter said. Carpenter and his co-founders, Mike Ishmael and Doug Tatum, all developed strong sales and marketing skills at the IBM Corp. in the 80s and 90s. “All three of us began our careers on the revenue side, meaning we were generating revenue for the company,” he said. “Without sales, you don’t have a need for any other discipline within a company.” 4DSales generates revenue by charging licensing and usage fees to customers based on the number of tablets on which the software is installed. Revenues from 4DSales totaled $290,000 in 2013 and are expected to climb to $770,000 this year.
EMPOWER YOUR REPS
co-founder and CEO Year started: 2012
Location: Tulsa, OK Employees: 5
IMPROVE YOUR BRAND C LO S E M O R E B U S I N E S S
Product or technology: The product is a tablet application for the iPad and Windows 8 that is designed to help sales people sell and shorten the sales cycle. Market: 4DSales has targeted professional sales people and business owners in a wide range of industries. Future plans: Current product development is focused on delivering a robust but easy to use set of functions to provide centralized management and control of content and users. Future development from a user facing perspective will enhance the experience, as well as the range of content types a salesperson is able to share with prospects and customers. Funding: The company has grown through investment of the co-founders and cash flow
“Although there are a small number of solutions that compete with some parts of 4DSales in an iPad environment, there is absolutely nothing even remotely like it for Windows 8,” Carpenter said. “It is completely unique in the Microsoft world. Not only is it unique in that nothing else provides the same capabilities, but the user experience is completely unique compared to any other type of Windows 8 application found to date.” Working with i2E has been very beneficial through their contacts with other business leaders in Oklahoma and as a probable source of funding. We also appreciate their guidance and business counsel in areas that we simply had not taken the time to focus resources towards...the process that i2E invokes creates credibility and legitimacy in the investor marketplace. Armed with a 4DSales enabled tablet loaded with video demonstrations and product spec sheets, a sales force can deploy into the field and not worry about needing Internet access or being tied to a home office computer. “Everything you need is on the tablet,” Carpenter said.
generated by the business. They recently received
$250,000 from the StartOK Accelerator Fund managed by i2E. Successes: Development of the 4DSales iPad product and customer acceptance was a major milestone; more recently, the company has added Windows 8 tablets to its product lineup. www.4DSales.com
The Power of Visual Selling
Summer 2014 i&E
Profiles We Go Look
Not with WeGoLook on the Job.
“Consumer beware,” says Robin Smith, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Oklahoma City’s WeGoLook®, the online verification company founded in 2009. Scams, misrepresentations and fraud plague the online sales and auction industries. It’s a minefield out there for buyers. The uncertainty of buying a distant, unseen item online has spurred phenomenal growth of WeGoLook and its nationwide army of “Lookers” (Agents), who for $59 will view assets, autos, real estate, people, and more for buyers before any money is exchanged. “There is so much fraud going on now with fake listings,” Smith said. “If you are going to spend $100,000 on a piece of heavy equipment, for example, it’s worth $59 for buyers to see if the seller will even meet. Many times, buyers will send us onsite just to see if the asset is there prior to making a purchasing decision and sending a deposit.” Co-founded by Smith, her husband, Mat, and Mark Caywood, WeGoLook has expanded its original mission from online auctions of consumer items to verification of real estate, autos, RVs, heavy equipment, marine, people and, even custom task completion.
Robin Smith, Co-founder Year started: 2010 Location: Oklahoma City
Now, corporate clients are playing a growing role in the WeGoLook business model. Financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase, insurance companies, medical transport companies, equipment and auto sales businesses loom so large that they have their own WeGoLook account specialists assigned to them. “There are many companies out there with verification needs,” Robin said. “We had no idea at the beginning. We started building a base of these large corporate clients and that led us to even more corporate affiliates.” Along the way, the number of Lookers, or nationwide Agents who verify properties and file online reports for potential buyers, has expanded to more than 10,000. Among them are approximately 700 PRO Team Lookers who have been vetted to perform tasks such as verifying auto and heavy equipment fleets, document retrieval and courier services, custom tasking and property verification for corporate clients. Lookers submit completed reports to customers via email and also post them on the WeGoLook online platform, where clients can later view and download WeGoLook Reports. Extended reports beyond the basic $59 can include additional photos, a short video clip of an asset, rush service, customized tasking, delivery of an item to a shipper, arrangement of transport, observation of a working demonstration and even courier services. WeGoLook currently employs 13 people at its corporate offices, with five more located in other states. Recently, WeGoLook launched a mobile app that enables Lookers to take photos while on a site visit plus Geotag them to provide exact location, along with time and date stamp. The company also received an important industry certification known as SSAE 16 SOC 1, which ensures it meets, data security specifications established by corporate clients. “Those are big milestones,” Smith said. “We’ve really found our footing with our process and with our Lookers.” Robin tells a story that shows the value that an Edmond, Oklahoma, family found in WeGoLook’s services as they were about to send $25,000 to the online seller of a truck. The unsuspecting buyers went to their bank to wire the money. Alarmed that they were about to send such a large amount of money to someone they had not met to pay for a truck they had not seen in person, the banker put them in touch with WeGoLook. Robin started a dialogue with the unsuspecting couple, who believed that the seller worked offshore on a drilling rig and was offering a payment protection plan provided by eBay Motors. “I said, ‘no, no, no,’ ” Robin recalled. “This is the exact scam that is so common. I promise you, this guy will never meet up.” Although he had sent photos of the truck to the prospective buyers, when WeGoLook proposed to the seller that the Looker go out and inspect the truck, “he couldn’t make that happen,” Robin said. “Then the buyers realized we were telling them the truth after multiple attempts.” And their $25,000 was saved by a $59 investment in WeGoLook.
Employees: 13 at OKC headquarters, 5 out of state and 10,000-plus verification agents nationwide. Product or technology: Verification for buyers of autos, real estate, auction items or even people through a network of more than 10,000 "lookers," or nationwide agents who will inspect, photograph and submit a report to WeGoLook for clients to view or download. Market: Online auctions, automobile and heavy equipment sales, banks and financial services. The company has also expanded into shipping and task completion. Successes: Recently, WeGoLook launched a mobile app that enables its Lookers to take photos while on a site visit and plus Geotag them to provide exact location, along with time and date stamp. The company also received an important industry certification known as SSAE 16 SOC 1, which ensures it meets, data security specifications established by corporate clients. Additionally, they have created a PRO Team network of 700 Lookers who are vetted through a more stringent qualification process to complete a greater range of assignments. www.wegolook.com
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED MONSCIERGE connects hotels, guests around the world
hile on a business trip this Spring to Europe, Marcus Robinson had a craving for Thai food while staying in a Paris hotel. He didn’t speak French or know the city well, so he turned to a mobile smartphone application offered by the hotel to seek local recommendations. “I very much appreciate good Thai food, and the hotel’s recommendations directed me to one of the best Thai places in Paris,” Robinson said. “It was a great experience.” Turns out, Robinson was eating his own food, so to speak. The mobile application, which provided local recommendations by the hotel staff translated into English, was developed and marketed by Oklahoma City-based Monscierge. Robinson is the founder and CEO of Monsierge. So, the trip to Europe provided some hands-on field experience with his product.
“I don’t speak French, and it was very useful,” he said. “I used it for a number of other things on that trip, and it worked really well.” Founded in 2009, Monscierge is a hospitality industry technology company that enhances the hotel experience for guests by providing what Robinson calls “trusted local recommendations” and facilitating communication between staff and guests. The technology is so advanced that Monscierge has received a patent on the method it uses to acquire local recommendations from hotels to provide them on mobile devices. The Monscierge technology is already in use by almost 3,000 hotels around the world and is rapidly expanding, especially in international markets. An Oklahoma City native, Robinson began his career at age 17 with a company called AMCAT, which developed contact management
software for telephone call centers across the U.S. and internationally. At 21 he planned to quit and backpack across Europe, but AMCAT officials changed his plans when they asked him to open a branch office in Europe. “So, I moved over there and started up in England,” Robinson said. “I stayed there seven years and developed that office until we had about 16 employees. But, I decided I wanted to raise my family in Oklahoma City.” Robinson returned to Oklahoma, started up an Edmond-based construction company – which is still in business – before looking for other opportunities during the economic downturn in the late 2000s. After seeing a demonstration of touchscreen technology, he began pursuing the concept of providing local recommendations on large screens placed in hotel lobbies. “I started doing the research and it became apparent that there is a need for this,” Robinson said. “So we went out and did a proof of concept with lobby screens in Arizona back in 2009-2010. We received great feedback and decided it would be a good company to continue working toward. That’s the evolution of how it began.” The emergence of the smart phone changed the game for Monscierge. Smart phone users wanted access to the same information on their phones that is available on the touchscreens in the hotel lobbies.
“We had to adapt and create the iOS (iPhone) version and the Android versions, which was really kind of a shift,” Robinson said. “It was a difference in technology that allowed the mobile platform, really for the better, because the hotel was able to connect and stay connected with the guest.” Today, Monscierge markets an app for smart phones and tablets called Monscierge Connect, but its software is most widely deployed as a white label application branded by individual hotel chains.
Connect Lobby puts amenities and services on display in high traffic areas for guests to explore while on-site.
Connect Mobile offers information to guests directly from the hotel about on-property amenities and events, recommendations for local food and entertainment, and more.
Their mobile solution empowers hotels to engage guests on-site and off and leverage mobile technology to provide the highest level of service at every step of the guest journey.
Summer 2014 i&E
Hotel operators using the Monscierge app under their own brand include Intercontinental Hotels, which operates the Holiday Inn brand, Novotel, Diamond Resorts International, Nylo Hotels and Four Seasons. A recent deal with Accor Hotels adds even more international hotels to the roster, so that by the end of the summer the Monscierge software will break through the 3,000 hotel milestone in 90 countries and be translated into 15 languages. Monsierge’s software – still used on lobby touchscreens as well as mobile devices – provides users with a host of features. Not only can hotel guests scope out local restaurants and entertainment venues based on the staff’s recommendations, they also can access local weather, information about the hotel amenities and meeting rooms, flight information, maps and driving directions, send social media “post cards” and even contact valet parking from their rooms to have their car waiting on them before venturing to the lobby.
Rapid adoption by the hotel industry, especially those with an international presence, has resulted in growth in the number of employees working in development and marketing at Monscierge’s Oklahoma City headquarters. The company now employs 35 people in its offices located in the heart of Bricktown. “Probably a third of them are the development/product team,” Robinson said. “We are unique in that we use a design-led style so they are not just developers. We also use a lot of designers in our process.” Currently, a small team leads the company’s sales and marketing efforts. That group will expand in the wake of a recent $2.05 million investment it received, including $1 million from i2E’s GrowOK Fund. “We had to get the technology right before we started our sales,” Robinson said. “So, we’ve invested a lot of time and effort making sure it would work around the world and be reliable. Taking the time
to get that right, and the debut of the mobile piece that is coming on is causing our growth to accelerate quickly.” Already, Monscierge has more than
65,000 local recommendations on its network. On the horizon are what Robinson calls “intelligent recommendations” that are based on user preferences. “We are working with organizations like Intel and Cornell University to understand exactly what it is that guests are looking for so that we can then, based on their preferences, provide better local recommendations,” Robinson said.
Robinson began working with i2E almost four years ago, and has built a strong relationship that has benefited the company as it has grown. “I’ve received a lot of great advice and input from people like Kenneth Knoll,” he said. Knoll is i2E Venture Advisor and Director of Advisory Services. “He’s been a great asset,” Robinson said. “He worked very diligently to put together a deal to facilitate our growth. I have to commend him.” Monscierge’s potential has lured
Monscierge took the time to really listen and understand exactly what types of information guests are seeking.
Connect Staff gives hotel staff the ability to improve guest satisfaction by managing and responding to requests in real-time.
venture capitalists and suitors from both coasts to Oklahoma City to explore investment possibilities with Robinson. “Usually, it’s the other way around; and you have to go sell them on the idea,” he said. “The fact that we’ve got some big players from both the East Coast and the West Coast flying into Oklahoma City is kind of an exciting thing to happen.” Meanwhile, Robinson travels the world putting together deals with international hotel chains like Accor to place the Monscierge technology in all of their properties. That’s afforded him the opportunity to field test his software along the way. “It’s pretty cool to travel to a foreign country and see the use of technology that you started,” he said. “It was just an idea a few years ago that’s now deployed in all these hotels around the world.” Robinson can literally see the fruition of his work as an entrepreneur on the screen of a smart phone in London or Paris as he’s searching for the perfect Thai restaurant. “I think that’s the most exciting part of it.”
i2E closes first GrowOK Fund investment with $1 million placement in Oklahoma City-based Monscierge The i2E-managed GrowOK Fund recently closed its first investment since the fund was established in 2011, placing $1 million in Oklahoma City-based Monscierge. The i2E investment was part of a $2.05 million investment round joined by Oklahoma angel investors and Texas-based Affinity Angel Investment Fund I. Founded in 2009, Monscierge is a hospitality industry technology company that enhances the overall hotel experience for guests by providing trusted local recommendations and facilitating communications between the hotel and the guest through a patented software application via touchscreen displays and mobile devices. Monscierge’s innovative technology is already in use by hotels around the world and will soon be in more than 3,000 hotels worldwide in 90 countries. “We’re going to use this new funding to build out our sales and marketing team,” said Marcus Robinson, Monscierge’s founder and CEO. “We took a lot of time to make sure our technology was scalable and reliable before we really started our sales and marketing efforts.” Monscierge uses touchscreen kiosks and mobile applications to provide trusted recommendations on local restaurants and activities to hotel guests in their native language around the world. Recommendations are provided by local hotel staff in the cities in which the hotels are located. Additionally, the software allows guests to easily communicate with hotel staff requests they may have or issues relating to their stay at the particular hotel. The GrowOK Fund is one of three Accelerate Oklahoma! investment vehicles created by i2E through a partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the U.S. Treasury State Small Business Credit Initiative. The GrowOK Fund specifically targets established companies that already are generating revenue in the marketplace, providing them capital to expand with new products or services. Waco, Texas-based Affinity Angel Investment Fund I, which supports entrepreneurship at Baylor University and the Baylor Angel Network, is joining i2E for the first time as a co-investor in this investment round.
Summer 2014 i&E
A LASTING LEGACY Governorâ€™s Cup Celebrates 10-year Milestone of Building a Deeper Pool of Entrepreneurs Across Oklahoma
2 0 1 4 GOVER N OR ’ S CU P WI NNE RS SMALL BUSINESS DIVISION First place, $10,000: X-Pert Shot Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Second place, $8,000: LockWall East Central University Third place, $4,000: NEO 2014 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College HIGH GROWTH GRADUATE DIVISION First place, $20,000: AeroHead University of Tulsa Second place, $10,000: Driven Analytics University of Oklahoma Third place, $5,000: AeroFusion Oklahoma State University HIGH GROWTH UNDERGRADUATE DIVISION First place, $20,000: Owlpal Healthcare University of Tulsa Second place, $10,000: Valoshade University of Tulsa Third place, $5,000: RoadWatch University of Oklahoma OKLAHOMA BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE PAULSEN AWARD WINNERS, $5,000 each Samantha Slater, Rogers State University Mackenzie Ward, University of Tulsa Mitchell Walser, University of Oklahoma PITCH WINNERS, $1,000 each Small Business Division: Chase Sheffield, LockWall, East Central University High Growth Graduate Division: Philip McCoy, AeroHead University of Tulsa High Growth Undergraduate Division: Zach VanMeter, Inspire Ink University of Oklahoma INTERVIEW WINNERS, $1,000 each AT&T IT Category: Driven Analytics, University of Oklahoma Greater OKC Chamber Healthcare Category: Get People Moving, University of Central Oklahoma
“I am continually delighted when students tell me that this competition has changed their lives and has opened up new opportunities for them. All students who participate take away more than they could ever have imagined.” – Claire Cornell, team advisor and Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship at Collins College of Business, University of Tulsa
i2E Student Generated Category: AeroFusion, Oklahoma State University OG&E Positive Energy Category: WellBot, Oklahoma City University Oklahoma Business Roundtable Manufacturing, Material Sciences and Transportation Category: AeroHead, University of Tulsa Summer 2014 i&E
“The biggest take-away is that the Governor’s Cup has opened my eyes to the world of entrepreneurship and innovation, and I see opportunity everywhere. I now have a notebook of ideas for things I want to invent, and I owe this entirely to the GovCup. I had no idea this world existed 6 months ago, and now I absolutely cannot get enough of it.” – Philip McCoy, team leader for High Growth Graduate Division winner, AeroHead from the University of Tulsa
he Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup statewide collegiate business plan competition began in 2005 and achieved a remarkable milestone in 2014, celebrating a 10-year legacy in which more than 1,350 college students from 31 campuses have taken the challenge to develop a product or technology, research the market, write a business plan and pitch it before a panel of investors. The rewards to competitors over the years were substantial. Students competing in the past decade have been awarded $1.4 million in cash, $65,000 in scholarships and $201,000 in fellowships. “Over the history of the Governor’s Cup, we have seen Oklahoma students grasp what it takes to start a business,” said Scott Meacham, i2E CEO. “We’re proud that through the competition we are building a deeper pool of entrepreneurial leaders prepared to take their place at the helm of growing companies across the state.” The rewards to the Oklahoma economy and startups across the state are even more valuable. For Dr. Lowell Busenitz, the University of Oklahoma entrepreneurship professor who has advised dozens of student teams through the years, the GovCup serves as a “reality check” for students. “When students have to present a business plan in front of judges who are prospective investors, that is the reality
Tri-State Vying for an additional $118,000, Oklahoma teams brought home more than $50,000 in cash prizes from the annual Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. Owlpal Healthcare from the University of Tulsa won first place in the Undergraduate Division and the $30,000 top prize. Driven Analytics from the University of Oklahoma won second place in the Graduate Division, earning $20,000. In addition, Owlpal's MacKenzie Ward also won $2,000 as winner of the Undergraduate Division pitch competition. Conducted at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, the Tri-State competition featured the top two teams from Governor's Cup competitions held earlier this spring in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nevada. The Tri-State competition is underwritten with support from the Las Vegas-based Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
check,” Busenitz said. “It isn’t what the professor says is a good business plan or a bad business plan. This is an external market of what’s expected. If you want to launch a concept, here’s what is expected.” The 2014 Governor’s Cup put an exclamation point on a decade of competition. Almost 40 teams and 135 students from 26 campuses across Oklahoma took the challenge. They were competing for more than $150,000 in cash and scholarships and the opportunity to compete for an additional $118,000 at the Tri-State competition in Las Vegas. Concepts proposing an innovative putter for golfers, an alarm for parents of children suffering from asthma and a mammoth shooting sports range all were recognized as top business plans. For the second consecutive year, a team from Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City was named first place winner in the Small Business Division, while University of Tulsa teams also swept first place in both High Growth Division categories for a second consecutive year. The winners were recognized at a gala awards dinner at Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Events Center. Oklahoma State Treasurer Ken Miller presented trophies to the winners and addressed the audience of nearly 500 community leaders, academia and entrepreneurs.
Left: Team X-Pert Shot from OSU-OKC claimed $10,000 as Small Business Division First Place Winner with a business plan that proposed a large shooting sports complex and training center. X-Pert Shot team leader was Shane Barlow, and team members were Jennifer Bradley, Amada Sandoval, Mayra Tello and Mario Young. Faculty advisor was Amber Hefner. Middle: Top winner in the High Growth Graduate Division was AeroHead from the University of Tulsa, writing a business plan around an innovative putter and bladed cartridge which is inserted into the head of the club to create overspin on a golfball for increased accuracy when putting. AeroHead team leader was Phillip McCoy, and team members were Se Yeon Kim, Bryan Kinzer, Kristina Merkle, Gann Swan and Yang Zhao. The advisor was Steven Tipton. Bottom: In the High Growth Undergraduate Divsion, Owlpal Healthcare from TU claimed first place with a technology for diagnosing and monitoring asthma in childern at night. Owlpal Healthcare team leader was Jordy Albert, and team member was MacKenzie Ward, Claire Cornell was advisor.
“I can’t stress how important this competition was for my overall knowledge of business. I have learned so much from this, I feel countless steps ahead of other businesses that are in the start-up phase.” – Shane Barlow, team leader for Small Business Division winner X-Pert Shot from Oklahoma State University-OKC
Summer 2014 i&E
Oklahomans Work to Build Global Relations at Bio International
The 2014 Biotechnology Industry Organization convention is a whirlwind of success for Darren Head, President and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Cytovance Biologics, Inc. Potential customers are filling up his calendar. Founded in 2003 by former executives of Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, Cytovance delivers a broad menu of specialized contract biological manufacturing services that help companies such as Oklahoma City’s Selexys Pharmaceuticals manufacture drugs for clinical trials. The company has grown at a phenomenal pace since Darren Head became its chief executive just over six years ago. It has grown from 30 employees to 135, many of them highly paid Ph.D. scientists. Revenue is almost 20 times the $1.5 million generated in 2008. New, larger bioreactors have been installed in the company’s 44,000 square foot manufacturing facility at the University Research Park. Manufacturing capabilities have expanded, as well. “We’re profitable, moving quickly to commercialization,” Head said. “We hope to have our first commercial product coming down the pipeline. We developed it for another company. It’s pretty exciting.”
Making 400 new friends at the OKBIO Reception!
Another busy Oklahoma entrepreneur at the BIO meeting has been Craig Shimasaki, Ph.D., a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Moleculera Labs. The company provides neurological testing of children who suffer from tics, obsessive compulsive symptoms and out of control behaviors. On Wednesday, Shimasaki held his second book signing of the show at the BIO bookstore just off the main exhibition floor at the San Diego Convention Center. Buyers lined up to obtain the author’s signature for Shimasaki’s most recent book, Biotechnology Entrepreneurship: Starting, Managing and Leading Biotech Companies. The book was written in cooperation with a number of other notable biotech industry leaders, including BIO President and CEO, Jim Greenwood. “I wrote 10 chapters, but then I recruited about 20 other authors in all different areas,” Shimasaki said. Shimasaki participated in the BIO Entrepreneurship Bootcamp last weekend before the opening of the show, which generated a high level of interest in the new book. “A lot of people bought the book before the first book signing because they told them about it at the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp,” he said. “The book is being used a lot of different areas for people who are working in the biotech industry, people who are supporting the biotech industry and in the teach programs for future entrepreneurs.
The flow of visitors past the Oklahoma booth brought many of them directly into the sight of Karen Waddell. Each was greeted with a hearty introduction and enthusiastic sales pitch for Oklahoma. The President and CEO of Oklahoma City-based The Lynn Institute, Waddell is a first-time delegate to the convention with the OKBio delegation. She enthusiastically jumped into the role of salesman, promoting Oklahoma before a world audience of 15,000 people or more. The Lynn Institute was established by Integris Health in 1997 as a free-standing not-for-profit research organization with William Orr, Ph.D., as founding President. Orr, now President emeritus, has done groundbreaking work in the areas of sleep disorders and gastrointestinal diseases. Today the institute operates as two distinct entities, the Lynn Institute for Healthcare Research, Inc. and the Lynn Health Science Institute, Inc. The research institute has filed provisional patents on a compound developed by Orr and Merideth Estep, Ph.D., that simultaneously treats insomnia and an acid reflux condition known as “GERD,” or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Lynn also has a for-profit arm that specializes in clinical research trials for scientists seeking to validate new drugs in development.
Welcome reception on the USS Midway
Summer 2014 i&E
What People Are Saying About BIO
Serendipity brought the world’s largest biotech trade show, the 2014 Biotechnology International Organization convention to San Diego just as Sensulin, Co-founded by Oklahoma entrepreneur Mike Moradi, opened its lab here. Moradi plans to make the most of the opportunity.
“One of the things I love about BIO is that you can meet with people from everywhere – Germany, France, Japan. Where there are opportunities to talk to investors and potential partners at the BIO show, now we can invite them out to our lab.”
CEO Tommy Harlan has built strong ties between Emergent and the OKBio group at the annual Biotechnology Industry Organization convention. The Emergent team was among the most heavily booked this year for partnering meetings at the OKBio pavilion, which Harlan called a “Godsend.”
“I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to all the Oklahoma stakeholders,” Harlan said. “The corollary is running all over this train station from one pavilion to the next and not having enough time to present and not having enough privacy to present. I think the booth gives Oklahoma a lot of bioscience presence internationally, too. It’s a win-win.”
BIO covered over 160,000 square feet with 55 State and International Pavilions
Charles Mooney, vice president with the Oklahoma Blood Institute was among Oklahomans at the booth on opening day of exhibition.
“We are doing a lot more research at the Blood Institute and are looking for opportunities to partner with people,” Mooney said. “I’ve got 10 meetings today and 10 more on Thursday.”
BIO added new events including the BIO Street Party
Featured dynamic keynote from Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group
The President and CEO of Oklahoma City-based The Lynn Institute, Karen Waddell is a first-time delegate to the convention with the OKBio delegation.
BIO drew 15,667 industry leaders from 50 states and 70 countries
“Getting to know the people from Oklahoma is as important to me as getting some of the national contacts that we will get here,” she said. “I’m just pleased to know some of them a little better, and I can pick up the phone and call them any time I want.” Summer 2014 i&E
All Up In Your Science Business The Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center (POCC), an i2E program, is designed to educate scientists, students, and entrepreneurs about the business of science, with the goal of creating new and better entrepreneurs and businesses in the state of Oklahoma. The POCC approach is hypothesis-based where the teams make hypotheses about their business model and gather industry-based data to validate or invalidate their hypothesis. This helps scientists relate to the business model and helps them make data (i.e. customer)-based decisions about their technology. By connecting researchers to the industry, developing customer-driven prototypes, providing services and resources to startups, and funding commercially viable endeavors, the Oklahoma POCC is an incubator, an accelerator, and business development service all in one. The third class of the Oklahoma Proof-of-Concept Center (POCC) recently completed the intense 10-week course, which began with an all-day accelerated commercialization workshop. The POCC class included 2 technologies from the University of Oklahoma and 1 from Oklahoma State University:
In just a few short weeks, every participant in the POCC had an industry-vetted business model and identified new partnerships. Even though each of these university technologies are in different industries and are in various stages of commercialization, each discovered value in the POCC process and the technologies now have a viable, industry-validated path to market. Each team identified their minimally viable product and each is in the process of fabricating, manufacturing, or testing their customerdriven technology. A testament to the process, a recent graduate from the second POCC class, Roll-2-Roll Technologies, obtained a license agreement from OSU to carry out their POCC-vetted business plan. In addition, they received funding from i2E, SeedStep Angels, and Cowboy Technologies to finalize their manufacturing technology and begin sales. Through the POCC, Roll-2-Roll Technologies was able to discover product-market fit, refine their value proposition, and identify key customers.
University of Oklahoma - Geosynthetic sensor technology Dr. Kianoosh Hatami and his team investigated a commercial pathway and discovered commercial partners for his geogrid technology which features a Geosynthetic sensor technology for use in structure monitoring in the construction industry. University of Oklahoma - Financial Literacy Software Mind Your Own Budget is a financial literacy software game for students K-20 developed at the University of Oklahomaâ€™s K-20 Center. Their software is currently being tested by several schools with potential customers and users within the nation's school districts and banks. Oklahoma State University - Medical diagnostic sensor Dr. Krishnan and his team from the Department of Chemistry at OSU investigated the market for their diabetes diagnostic technology. However, based on industry feedback and customer interviews, the team pivoted during the POCC course and is now investigating cancer diagnostic industry as a possible market.
A Record Year for i2E Investment i2E, as manager of the Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund, the Accelerate Oklahoma Funds, and the
Technology Business Finance Program (TBFP), committed over $6.62 million of investment funding to
22 companies during FY2014. The Seed Capital Fund committed $2.7 million, the Accelerate Oklahoma trio of funds committed just over $3.6 million, and the TBFP committed $296,000 to startup companies.
4D Sales Tulsa StartOK
Seed Fund II
Great Plains Microbiology
Seed Fund II
OKAngel Sidecar; Seed Fund II
Seed Fund II
Roll to Roll
Seed Fund II
OKAngel Sidecar; StartOK
Concept Fund; Seed Fund II
Seed Fund II
OKAngel Sidecar; Seed Fund II
$28,000 $700,000 $1,000,000 $38,000 $1,200,000
$38,000 $600,000 $28,000
Summer 2014 i&E
Immerse Thine Company The Immersion Program conducted in i2E’s Tulsa office invests up to $38,000 in non-dilutive capital (requiring a $2,000 match from entrepreneur) to innovative Oklahoma startups. i2E selects three to four startups per class, two classes per year. Each 20-week class goes through intensive Lean-based development with a goal to get follow-on funding. Here are brief profiles of the companies that completed the most recent Immersion Program class: Equip is an on demand mobile smart phone app called EquipAdvantage for the oil and gas industry connecting equipment and service providers with Energy producers. SmartPanel is an innovative new home energy management product to be mounted on the circuit breaker of homes and small commercial buildings to facilitate automated electricity control and intelligence. Zarthcode produces consumer virtual reality interfaces such as the MantisVR wireless virtual reality gloves. Miira Artist Tools creates modern and innovative tools such as the View Frame and the Miira for iOS app for visual artists, architects, foundation art, design and architectural instructors and students.
Save The Date October 17 – Cox Convention Center Oklahoma’s Entrepreneurial Summit and Who Wants To Be An Entrepreneur Workshop The Entrepreneurial Summit is a half day event featuring key speaker Dave Berkus, a noted speaker, author and early stage private equity investor. He is acknowledged as one of the most active angel investors in the country, having made and actively participated in over 87 technology investments during the past decade. He currently manages two angel VC funds (Berkus Technology Ventures, LLC and Kodiak Ventures, L.P.) Dave is past Chairman of the Tech Coast Angels, one of the largest angel networks in the United States. This event will be held in conjunction with the annual Who Wants to Be an Entrepreneur workshop, where young entrepreneurs, college students and faculty advisors will gain a better understanding of the critical steps involved in starting a business.
November 6 – Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark OKBIO Brewfest A lot of science goes into that pint of beer. Join friends and colleagues and learn the bioscience of beer from the experts while sampling handcrafted brews and enjoying great music, food and networking. For more information on these events, contact Katelynn Henderson at khenderson@i2E.org.
Innovation A Proven Investment
Helping Oklahomans take their ideas to market every day.
GROWING FAST IN OKC -Forbes, Jan. 2014
“OKC among top 10 fastest-growing cities” -CNN Money, March 2014
O K L A H O M A R I V E R • D O W N T O W N O KC
“Among top 10 cities where workers in their prime are moving”
“Top 10 for economic momentum” -New Geography, Jan. 2014
MAKING A SPLASH:
In paddlesports, momentum is a powerful
thing - and we’ve got it in Oklahoma City. But we’re not just coasting along. We’re doing all we can to accelerate our rise, from a new set of debt-free public amenities to world-class economic development programs and more. Interested in riding the wave? Come join us. After all, it’s easier to find success when you’re rowing with the current.
Explore Oklahoma City’s digital magazine and channel at GreaterOKC.tv