i2E CEO Retires

i2E has announded the retirement of CEO and President Greg Main and the appointment of former Executive Vice President and COO Tom Walker to CEO and President.
Main, who was recruited into Oklahoma 17 years ago from Michigan to serve as secretary of commerce under then governor David Walters, joined i2E in 2003 after 10 years in the venture capital business. Prior to coming to Oklahoma he had worked in state-level economic development in the Michigan.
“When I came to i2E I was just delighted because the responsibility called for focusing on the two things that interest me most in my professional life,” said Main. “The first is working with start-ups, which I grew to love from my years as a venture capitalist, and the second is the public policy component of this work. This has given me a unique opportunity to use the skills I’ve built up over my entire career to help this state and the people who live here prosper and grow.”
Main came to i2E during the post-internet boom when there were virtually no sources of early stage capital in the state. “The mission of i2E is to foster the birth and nurture the growth of new technology-based companies,” he said. “The organization had an excellent process of working with clients and preparing them for commercialization, but we knew that if this state was going to prosper we had to do something about entrepreneurial capital.” That became Main’s mantra and after years of concentrated effort, in 2007 the $7.1 million Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund became a reality.
“Business and government leaders recognized that we need to diversify and grow beyond energy and agriculture to break the boom and bust cycle and they took the steps necessary to lay the foundation for a whole new cadre of home-grown companies to diversify Oklahoma’s economy,” said Main. He will continue to consult with i2E on seed capital activity.
“One of the most amazing aspects about i2E, and there are many,” Main said, “is the team. I’ve had some really good times and worked with great people in my career, but top to bottom the i2E team is rock solid and that makes coming to work every day a joy. They are great people and it shows in the way they work. We are also blessed with a great board of directors and a splendid partnership with OCAST.”
In the 10 years since i2E was founded, the organization has assisted more than 1200 companies. Half of those have become project clients, and 200 of those have acquired more than $280 million in investment capital.
Tom Walker, i2E executive vice president and COO, has been named CEO and president. “The Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Walker,” said Cropper. “He has the energy, commitment, and vision to lead i2E to the next phase. We look forward to supporting his vision and working with him as we continue to create a vibrant climate of innovation for Oklahoma.”
A fourth generation Oklahoman who has been with i2E since the organization’s inception, Walker said, “I am thrilled to have this new opportunity and to continue to be part of i2E team and work with our terrific OCAST partners and board of directors. We appreciate Greg Main’s contribution to this organization and to our state. Everything that i2E does is in support of Oklahoma entrepreneurs, and we are committed to stay that course by continuing to build the infrastructure to further expand Oklahoma’s innovation economy.”
Walker, who is active statewide and nationally in the development of angel investor groups, policy, and entrepreneurial infrastructure, served as co-chair of the Economic Development Initiative for Step Up! Tulsa and is on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. He is a founding board member of the Angel Capital Association (ACA), the US organization for angel groups; has chaired the ACA’s annual Summit Conference and served on the Angel Capital Education Foundation’s Board of Directors, and was adjunct instructor for entrepreneurship at the University of Tulsa.
“i2E has come a long way in support of innovation excellence,” Walker said, “and we aren’t finished yet. New companies and technologies are coming about every day, and we will continue to do what it takes to help these fledgling companies take off and fly.”
i2E, Inc. is a private not-for-profit corporation focused on wealth creation by growing the technology-based entrepreneurial economy in Oklahoma. i2E is a strategic partner of and is funded by OCAST.
The Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund, a $7.025 million venture capital fund that provides seed and start-up stage equity financing to small, technology-based Oklahoma companies, is managed by i2E Seed Capital, LLC, a subsidiary of i2E, Inc. State funding is provided through OCAST. The Oklahoma Development Finance Authority and the Oklahoma Capital Investment Board are co-investors.

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