State Seed-Capital Fund Exceeds $7 Million

It took 20 years from concept to creation for Oklahoma’s first $5 million state seed capital revolving fund, but it took less than two months for other organizations to add $2.25 million to the funds provided by lawmakers last year.
The state-sponsored seed fund, administered through the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), was created to invest in Oklahoma’s technology start-up companies.
The additional $2.25 million for the fund includes $1 million from the Oklahoma Capital Investment Board and $1.25 million from the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority. Those funds will be available through i2E, the organization that manages the Oklahoma Seed Capital Revolving Fund under contract with OCAST.
i2E has offices at 2 W. Second St., Ste. 210, and in Oklahoma City.
“This OCAST seed capital fund will help provide an incentive for advanced technology companies to create high skill, high wage jobs and have an ongoing presence in Oklahoma,” said Michael Carolina, executive director of OCAST — the state’s agency for technology-based economic development.
Greg Main, president and CEO of i2E, said his team is on a fast track to invest the money in qualified advanced technology firms that together represent modern home-grown companies that will be among the state’s corporate leaders of the future
“The pent-up demand for seed funds will keep us busy in due diligence with the applicants. It will take some time to properly evaluate the applicants; however, we want this money working for Oklahoma’s economy as soon as possible. At i2E, we are ready to advance that process as soon as we can,” Main said.
The $5 million dollar fund was proposed under the Economic Development Act of 1987, approved by voters in 1988 and funded by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2006. OCAST awarded the contract to i2E in competitive bidding in February. In 1987, OCAST was charged with stimulating seed-capital investment in firms which would use innovation from applied research in profitable commercial applications.
“We’re excited the venture industry in this state has developed to the point that we can establish a home-based fund dedicated specifically to growing Oklahoma’s advanced technology companies,” said Devon Sauzek, president of the Oklahoma Capital Investment Board. “Since the early ‘90s, OCIB has participated in nine funds which have allocated a portion of their capital to seed stage opportunities. But contributing to Oklahoma’s own seed fund is especially rewarding because it’s an important link in the state’s economic development chain.”



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