Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF)

Cortado Ventures is a new venture capital fund launched 4 weeks ago—founded by serial entrepreneurs, investors, and CEOs—backing entrepreneurs who are driving innovation. In our second newsletter, we are pleased to announce the initial close of our fund, with significant progress toward the fund’s overall target raise. We also welcome FinTech Advisor Agnes Budzyn, coming to us via BlackRock and ConsenSys, as well as our Analyst Intern Elena Jia. Partner David Woods shares his perspective on our founding and a message for entrepreneurs. We finish this update with commentary on the Barbell Strategy.

We are accepting more investors in our fund. For accredited investors wanting to learn more, contact

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What Lies Ahead

  • Announcing Initial Close
  • Deal Flow
  • Introducing Fintech & Insurtech Advisor, Agnes Budzyn
  • Introducing Analyst Intern, Elena Jia
  • “Three guys walk into a bar”…
  • Raising Money in a COVID World
  • What’s the Barbell Strategy?

Announcing Initial Close

Cortado Ventures is pleased to announce the initial close of our fund was completed in four weeks, with significant progress made toward the fund’s overall target raise.  Reaching this milestone in less than a month since launching is critical in fulfilling our mission to support high growth disruptive startups.  “We are committed heart and soul to our endeavor, and couldn’t be more pleased to reach our initial close in a remarkably short period,” said Managing Partner Nathaniel Harding.

Deal Flow 

Cortado is committed to reviewing 500 companies a year.  Already in the first several weeks, we have reviewed approximately 70 companies.  Entrepreneurship is strong in our region, and filling a need to capitalize these startups has opened the door to many opportunities.  To attract the best companies to start and grow here—and to apply to Oklahoma accelerators—there needs to be ample institutional capital focused on early stage, and that’s what we do.

Introducing Fintech & Insurtech Advisor, Agnes Budzyn

This week Cortado has onboarded our first advisor.  Agnes Budzyn, out of NYC, comes to us with a decade of traditional finance experience at BlackRock and led one of the largest blockchain companies in the world, ConsenSys.  Agnes specializes in bridging the gap between legacy finance and emerging fintech-enables solutions.  She also focuses on investing in early stage startups and incubation projects.  Agnes has spoken on blockchain and fintech at events around the world. She is also a member of the Yale Club Audit Committee and was named to the Forum of Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Introducing Analyst Intern, Elena Jia

Elena Jia will be joining Cortado as an Analyst Intern.  Elena has degrees in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.  Her previous work includes technology and software internships at Bridgewater Associates and Splunk Inc, the world’s first data-to-everything platform.  Before that, Elena’s academic work included research with the robotics lab, biomedical imaging, and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science.  We welcome Elena and look forward to her contributions.

“Three guys walk into a bar”…

Our own Partner and Co-Founder David Woods is a regular speaker on leadership and growth strategy.  His illustrious career includes a successful tenure as CEO of Ditch Witch.  He is often asked for insights on starting and growing companies, and today is sharing his perspective about Cortado’s founding and a message for entrepreneurs.  See his article here: “Three guys walk into a bar”… 

Raising Money in a COVID World

Managing Partner Nathaniel Harding was recently asked to participate in StitchCrew’s alumni Zoom call, specifically to talk about raising money in this environment.  This is a challenging environment, but opportunity abounds.  We are continuously encouraged by the quality entrepreneurs with high growth startups, and are thankful for the opportunity to engage in dialogue about important topics.

What’s the Barbell Strategy?

Have you heard of the “barbell strategy”?  In finance and beyond, it’s a way to not only acknowledge and manage risk, but to use it for your benefit. We live in a “Black Swan” world, where the unthinkable happens with shocking regularity (#COVID19).  We can’t “quant” away risk, but we can build an antifragile portfolio by investing in venture capital.  Doing so helps investors capitalize on the unpredictable.

Further reading:  “The Black Swan” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

For a quicker read and an entertaining and only mildly inappropriate example, check out this Medium article by Drazen Zaric.

Thank you for reading our June newsletter. We’ll send monthly updates about our progress, entrepreneurship, startups, the local economy, and tech in Oklahoma and beyond. Stay in touch with us through social media, or pitch us your idea.

We are accepting more investors in our fund. For accredited investors wanting to learn more, contact

Email Cortado