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Trends Watch: VC Investing in Oklahoma Companies

Feb 1, 2024

EisnerAmper’s Trends Watch is a weekly entry to our Alternative Investments Intelligence blog, featuring the views and insights of executives from alternative investment firms. If you’re interested in being featured, please contact Elana Margulies-Snyderman 

This week, Elana talks with Matt Waraich, Investment Associate, Cortado Ventures.  

What is your outlook for VC investing in growth-driven companies in Oklahoma?

Promising. The entrepreneurial ecosystem and supportive state policies make it a no brainer to support companies in Oklahoma. With a rising trend in technology innovation and a growing number of startups, the region presents untapped potential for high-yield investments. The state's economic diversification efforts are creating a fertile ground for venture capitalists looking to invest in early-stage companies positioned for exponential growth. Overall, that commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship is likely to attract increased VC activity and investment now and in the coming years.

Where do you see the greatest opportunities and why?

Definitely within the industries of life sciences, future of work, energy and logistics, particularly in markets like Oklahoma which are actively diversifying their economic landscape. Life sciences promise revolutionary advancements in health care and biotechnology, sectors that are primed for innovation and disruption. The future of work is reshaping the corporate world through changing everyday processes to be more capital- and human-efficient. Energy and logistics, industries where Oklahoma has a historical strength, are undergoing a transformation with the integration of clean technologies and smart supply chain solutions. These sectors not only align with global trends toward sustainability and efficiency but also capitalize on Oklahoma's existing infrastructure and expertise, setting the stage for robust growth and investment returns.

What are the greatest challenges you face and why?

I was born and raised on the West Coast and now live in a venture role in Oklahoma. One of the challenges we as an entrepreneurially driven ecosystem face stems from the longstanding oversight by coastal VCs of the remarkable talent pool in the Midcontinent region. Despite the abundance of innovative minds and entrepreneurial spirit here, the Midcontinent often doesn't receive the recognition it really deserves. Over the last few years, we’ve made considerable strides in highlighting the Midcontinent as a destination for cutting-edge startups and scalable business models. Our progress is a testament to the potential here. However,  there remains a challenge in drawing continued attention from major venture capital players. We are determined to not only continue our growth trajectory but to accelerate it, showcasing the Midcontinent as an epicenter of technological advancement and business acumen. The challenge is significant, but our resolve to elevate and amplify the region's successes is unwavering.

What keeps you up at night? 

What often keeps me up at night is the fast-moving nature of technology and the need to really get it, not just keep up with the latest buzzwords. As venture capitalists, we're always at a crossroads, asking ourselves how we can make the most of what's hot right now but also keep an eye out for what's around the corner. It's a tough balance to strike—finding tech that's a hit today but won't be old news tomorrow. Staying on top of this fast-paced tech game means making smart choices that will stand the test of time, and that's a challenge that can make for some sleepless nights.

The views and opinions expressed above are of the interviewee only, and do not/are not intended to reflect the views of EisnerAmper.

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Elana Margulies-Snyderman

Elana Margulies-Snyderman is an investment industry reporter and writer who develops articles, opinion pieces and original research designed to help illuminate the most challenging issues confronting fund managers and executives.

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