Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF)
This month, we are highlighting ACT Tulsa as our Builder Highlight. Following the highlight, J.D Baker joins the Cortado team as our Platform Manager. Cortado is excited to announce the funding of Ardley and 19days. Next, we have our portfolio year in review updates to share. The gBeta Cohort Application period ends next month. Learn more about three events coming to OKC this month. To close, Cortado was featured in 405 Magazine and our Principal Susan Moring was interviewed on the Mindset Startup Podcast.
What Lies Ahead:
Builder Highlight: ACT Tulsa
ACT Tulsa, partnered with i2E, strives to help innovators craft the best version of themselves, build their ideal team, and execute their dream, by leveraging innovation with cross-cultural collaboration. Their accelerator program is open to Black and Latinx-led startups. The program runs for a period of 6 months, with digital workshops, programming, and mentorship taking place each week. The first 3 months are focused on implementation and acceleration while the last 3 months are focused on incubation and growth.
New Hires: J.D. Baker, Platform Manager
J.D. Baker joins Cortado Ventures as its Platform Manager after serving nearly four years with the Oklahoma City Mayor’s Office. While at the mayor’s office, he focused on community relations and managed several projects supporting MAPS 4 initiative, economic development, and diversity & inclusion. Outside of his employment, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Black Chamber of Commerce, Midtown Association, and as a Civic Leader for the United States Air and Space Forces Chiefs of Staff. He was recently recognized as Oklahoma City’s Most Influential Young Professional by OKC Young Professionals and the top 5 of OKC Friday newspaper’s Most Powerful Young Professionals. He received his bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Oklahoma.
As venture capital steadily grows in Oklahoma with more startups to invest in, VC firms have created post-investment and portfolio support positions known as “Platform” roles. These roles typically fall into 6 areas: Talent, Business Development, Public Relations, Community & Network, Operations, and Events. This role has become a necessity for VC firms to provide continued support for its portfolio, leveraging financial and human capital to achieve shared success.
Cortado Funds Ardley
Ardley Technologies, founded by Nate Den Herder, is a software platform that generates revenue for mortgage servicers and reduces the cost of refinances by automating tasks completed by loan officers. Ardley is an additive and transformative technology that solves capacity, cycle time and cost issues across a mortgage servicer’s value chain. The Ardley team is potentially interested in building out a larger team in the Tulsa area. The Ardley team is fully distributed with CEO and Head of Product in the D.C. area, Head of Operations in Bartlesville, OK, and other team members across the country including a Product Manager based in Oklahoma City.
Cortado Funds 19days
19days is a Tulsa-based venture studio built out of Gitwit, a full-service innovation agency. Venture studios bring together entrepreneurs and industry. 19days operates by focusing on finding and solving a high-value problem and market opportunity, then launching a company with proper funding from the start.
As Oklahoma’s first venture studio, 19days’ founding signifies a significant step forward as the state advances its tech industry, venture investments in startups, and further diversifies its economy. 19days is supported by Oklahoma-based venture capital firms Atento Capital of Tulsa and Cortado Ventures of Oklahoma City with additional support from angel investors. Check out this video for more info.
Access Optics focuses on manufacturing micro optics for specialty imaging and endoscopic devices: The Broken Arrow-based company completed its $4.5 million Series A fund in October 2021. Additionally, Access Optics is applying upgrades to their ERP system, equipment, and talent to capture growing sales and customers.
Boddle Learning is a game-based learning platform that helps K-12 teachers assess students’ learning to improve academic outcomes in STEM. The web and app-based technology surpassed 1 million users, was featured in Black Enterprise news and won a grant from Grammy Award-winning artist Pharrell Williams’ nonprofit, Black Ambition, and participated in the Google for Startups Founders Academy.
MITO creates chemical additives for polymer composite manufacturers seeking superior performance, and durability. Last summer, MITO was featured on CompositesWorld.com. In 2021, it landed first commercial customers and recently closed Series A funding with a major strategic lead investor.
PatchRx, which has designed a smarter way to manage medication, moved to Tulsa from Texas, expanded its team by 3x, had a successful commercial launch and concluded a successful clinical study with the University of Texas Health System in San Antonio.
PipeDream is focused on building a network of underground tubes that offers near instantaneous delivery of objects to and from homes and businesses. Graduated from Techstars Anywhere Accelerator last year, hired an amazing team of engineers and completed its first prototype of every component (portal, junctions, pods) and its eighth prototype of its robot.
Recuro Health is building the next generation in health care by delivering value throughout the healthcare ecosystem with an integrated digital health solution. In 2021, they closed both their Seed and Series A rounds, and successfully completed 5 acquisitions to build out their suite of digital health product offerings.
Relativity6 is the Industry Classification API. In 2021, it found clear, valuable, and scalable use cases within commercial underwriting, compliance, and segmentation which has led to massive revenue and customer growth with focus on its industry classification technology.
Sensulin is developing a true once a day glucose responsive insulin, that may mimic a healthy human pancreas. Last year, Sensulin was issued its foreign patents and a pre-clinical competitor was acquired.
Sway is an innovative software company using mobile technology to accurately measure balance and cognitive function. The company experienced a triple digit increase in testing, performed three large clinical pilots and surpassed a major milestone in sales in 2021.
Volt is texting platform empowers companies to connect with customers 1 on 1 and remain in compliance. The past year’s growth increased its size’s team by 3x, attracted new customers and revenue and ultimately led to its rebrand from Respond Flow.
gBETA Cohort Application Deadline
The deadline for gBETA’s Oklahoma City Spring 2022 cohort is approaching. The application period closes on March 10th. gBETA is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots. The program offers individualized coaching, one-on-one meetings with mentors, exclusive pitch nights, and more for participating companies. Apply today!
Events Coming to OKC
The Greater OKC Chamber is holding an event on February 25th to discuss the aerospace industry and its impact on Oklahoma City. The event will feature John Bonsell, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, SAIC, and Capt. Cedrick L. Jessup, commodore for Strategic Communications Wing ONE and Task Group 114.2 commander at Tinker Air Force Base. Bonsell will discuss how partnerships can accelerate economic growth in the industry. Purchase your ticket here.
The Innovation District has partnered with INTENT Programs at the Tom Love Innovation Hub to present a series of workshops for entrepreneurs. The first workshop of the series will take place on Monday, February 28th from 11a-12p at the OSU Discovery Building in the Innovation District. The workshop will feature Andrew Engelbrecht of Facing West Enterprises and former Talent Development Manager for Whataburger. Register to attend the workshop here.
After Hours events are dedicated to networking and discovery featuring three Oklahoma company Pitch Presentations. Boddle Learning, a Cortado portfolio company, is participating in OVF’s After Hours Pitch event on March 3rd at “The Peak” on the Meridian Technology Center South Campus.
Cortado In The News
Cortado Ventures in 405 Magazine
405 Magazine published an article this month highlighting Cortado’s funding of Sensulin. 405 Business Magazine focuses on sharing stories on local events and community to allow for visionary business leaders and up-and-coming young professionals to stay connected and in tune with our exciting and ever-evolving business landscape. Read the full article here.
Mindset Startup Academy Interview with Susan Moring
Cortado Ventures Principal Susan Moring joined the Mindset Startup Academy podcast to introduce Cortado and answer a variety of questions about venture capital and the firm’s approach to funding. The Mindset Startup Academy is a new innovative resource that provides startups and early-stage companies a unique opportunity to learn directly from prominent members of the Angel, VC, Investment Banking, and Accredited Investor arena. Watch her interview videos here.