Annual state study measures progress of innovation economy
By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
Building an innovation economy is never a sprint. It’s a long relay, a marathon. It’s extra innings, multiple-game tiebreakers, overtime plays. It’s the Indy 500, not the Kentucky Derby. It’s time-lapse photography instead of fast-motion video.
For venture and economic development organizations like i2E, a key aspect of our responsibility is acceleration. It’s figuring how to find the best athletes, amp up their training, speed up the track, improve the car.
We also measure and communicate the metrics of innovation progress over time by distributing an economic impact survey to our entire population of client companies every year. In March, we submitted the 2016 economic impact survey to 153 active clients.
The largest industry sectors for scalable startups in Oklahoma are broadly defined as software/IT and life sciences. They tend to be distributed between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
IT/software and life sciences make up more than 70 percent of the Oklahoma City mix. The state’s life sciences startups are predominantly focused in Oklahoma City — not surprising, given the concentration of the world-class research facilities located here (for example, OMRF and the University of Oklahoma Science Research Center).
About half of i2E’s current clients are located in the Oklahoma City metropolitan statistical area. In this year’s survey, of the 117 respondents, 70 were from that Oklahoma City area.
Those startups reported annualized revenue of $71.5 million, with 88 percent of that coming from outside Oklahoma. With a current annualized payroll of $34.7 million, employing 495 full-time equivalents with an average salary $63,566. Of those jobs, 134 were new in 2015.
i2E has invested $22.1 million in Oklahoma City startups. That capital has been leverage to achieve $163 million in total equity investment.
Standouts in bioscience are companies like Biolytx, a firm that is developing new therapeutics to fight increasingly drug resistant strains of harmful bacteria.
In IT/software, WeGoLook is a sharing economy platform that dispatches thousands of “lookers” to provide visual confirmation and a personalized report, completed by a real human to verify a product, person, place, or thing. WeGoLook hired its 100th employee in June.
And then there’s Monscierge, a hospitality software company that develops and markets advanced interaction technologies for touch screen and muti-touch platforms, connecting hotels and their guests to produce the best in guest experience.
These young companies are just three of the cutting-edge examples of the innovation bubbling here.
Entrepreneurship is the Ironman of economic development. But the road to success requires time and dedication. We know, because for more than 18 years, we’ve helped our state’s remarkable entrepreneurs put the numbers on the board.
Did You Know?
Since inception, i2E has served 678 Oklahoma technology-based, high-growth potential startup companies.
Read the story at The Oklahoman. (Requires subscription)
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s Innovation Model. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.