Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF)

We are excited to start the new year with some big announcements from Cortado, and a year in review. We look back at several LP’s who are making an impact in their communities. Our Builder Highlight this month features Progress OKC and Kiva OKC. Cortado announces funding two new companies: AI Driller and Relativity6. Applications for gBETA’s spring cohort are open until March 10th. Atento Capital and others brought Andre Norman to Tulsa to share his journey and knowledge with others at 36 Degrees North. Nathaniel Harding was featured on the January OVF podcast episode. Next, Cortado’s latest blog post about the importance of funding hard tech startups. We’re listening to the Capital Allocators podcast episode that focuses on an LP’s perspective on the venture landscape.

What Lies Ahead:

  • Year In Review

  • LP Highlights

  • Builder Highlight: Progress OKC and Kiva OKC

  • Cortado Funds Al Driller

  • Cortado Funds Relativity6

  • gBETA Accelerator Cohort Applications Open

  • Motivational Speaker Andre Norman Comes to Tulsa

  • Nathaniel Harding featured on OVF podcast

  • Blog: Our Conviction Behind Recent Hard Tech Investments

  • What We’re Listening to: Capital Allocators Podcast


LP Highlights

Our Limited Partners are an important part of the culture and success of Cortado Ventures. They are leaders in business and the community, several of whom were in the news in the closing months of 2021.

James Boggs joined First National Bank & Trust Co. last year as Executive Vice President. Boggs has had a long and impressive career in the banking industry, and has proven himself to be a leader in the community. He brings to First National Bank more than two decades of experience in management and business development skills. Read the full story here.

Percy Kirk was promoted by Cox Communications to senior vice president and region manager for the Southwest region, overseeing Cox operations and more than 4,300 Cox employees.  The Southwest region is Cox’s largest operation nationwide and includes Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Southern Arizona. Read the full story here.

Devin Wanzor purchased a new business earlier this year in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Devin brought a fresh perspective to the business and one of the first decisions he made was to round up the price of everything in the store. The result? He saw a 1.5% increase in the store’s profits. Read the full story here.

Rick Nagel was appointed by Gov Kevin Sitt for a position on the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents. Nagel is the managing partner of Acorn. Nagel will serve a seven-year term on the board. Read the full story here.

Builder Highlight: Progress OKC and Kiva OKC

Progress OKC is a nonprofit Community Development Corporation created to support and revitalize Oklahoma City communities that have experienced significant disinvestment. It strives to strengthen and preserve the social and economic fabric in Oklahoma City’s underserved communities by engaging in programs and partnerships focused on housing stability, economic mobility, quality of place, and education.

Kiva is one of the many programs managed by Progress OKC. Kiva is an international nonprofit with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive. Kiva is serving the OKC community to build up their small businesses through consulting services; events, workshops, and programs; and access to capital and talent.

Cortado Funds AI Driller

Cortado is excited to announce the funding of Houston-based AI Driller. AI Driller provides cloud-based drilling analytics and drilling automation for the oil and gas industry using machine learning. Founded by Marat Zaripov in 2017, AI Driller provides oil and gas exploration and production companies with real-time analytics data to help them uncover insights about how their crews and vendors are performing while also tapping into sophisticated modeling capabilities.

Relativity6 | STEX

Cortado Funds Relativity6

Cortado recently funded Relativity6, a graduate of OKC’s StitchCrew accelerator. Relativity6 is a data science organization driven to provide actionable context with billions of external data points. By utilizing proprietary behavioral listening algorithms, Relativity6 is able to predict when and what a company’s most profitable lapsed customers will repurchase with a greater than 80 percent accuracy rate. Its AI-powered API provides fast, reliable, validated industry classification for better commercial underwriting, segmentation, and everything else.

gBETA Accelerator Cohort Applications Open

gBETA is looking for early stage, Oklahoma based startups to sign up for their Oklahoma City Spring 2022 cohort. Applications are open now until March 10th. gBETA is a program of nationally ranked startup accelerator gener8tor. gBETA is a free, seven-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots. Each program is capped at five teams, and requires no fees and no equity. 

Applications are due March 10 and the program starts on April 7. Apply here.


Andre Norman | SpeakerHub

Motivational Speaker Andre Norman Comes to Tulsa

Last week, Atento Capital, Entrepreneurs’ Organization Tulsa, Build in Tulsa, Sky’s the Limit, and Foundry College, and others partnered to bring Andre Norman to Tulsa. Andre Norman is an author that travels around the world to serve as a mentor and listening ear for so many in need. Andre shared his journey from being in gangs and imprisoned to attending Harvard Law and his lessons about teamwork, networking, team building, reflective listening, and goal setting with the audience.


Nathaniel Harding featured on OVF podcast

Nathaniel Harding, Managing Partner, was recently featured in the January episode of Oklahoma Venture Forum’s podcast series. In this podcast, Harding shared more about Cortado Ventures and Cortado’s portfolio companies. Last week, OVF Power Lunch featured a panel discussion by three VCs in Oklahoma, including Harding, who discussed what type of deals they are looking for, what make’s them want to “learn more” and what makes them want to say “Yes”!


Blog: Our Conviction Behind Recent Hard Tech Investments

When you think of high-tech, venture-backed startups seeking to take their companies “to the moon”, software companies get a lot of attention. Hardware startups are often overlooked by venture capital — margins are typically lower than software companies as manufacturing operations come with more employees, higher overhead, and can be vulnerable to things like the current global supply chain disruption. At Cortado Ventures we lean into this often overlooked and underfunded area, where we have experience and the Midcontinent region has natural advantages.

Read the full blog post here.


What We’re Listening to: Capital Allocators Podcast

Chris Douvos is the Founder and Managing Director of Ahoy Capital, where he invests in early-stage venture funds and co-invests alongside his managers. This podcast offers an LP perspective on the venture landscape, covering the current environment, range of players in the early stage, and how Chris is navigating the landscape.