By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2014, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
“Give me a fulcrum, a stick long enough, and a firm place to stand and I will move the earth.”
This oft-paraphrased quote from Archimedes aptly describes the effect that ready access to capital and efficient advisory services can have on new company and job creation in Oklahoma.
Leverage is truly the story of i2E. Leverage in terms of money, partnerships and people. We are a compact organization, yet in our 15 years of history, we have served 600 Oklahoma companies and interfaced with 1,469 entrepreneurs or start-up businesses.
We guide clients through every stage of business development to help start-ups reduce risk, and that’s why better than two-thirds of our clients are in business after four years. The national survival rate is less than half.
More than just survive, these young companies create jobs and wealth and deliver a higher than average impact on Oklahoma’s economy.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, in 2012 i2E’s 184 active portfolio clients employed 2,427 people and had a total economic impact of $228 million.
Our clients grew jobs in 2012 by 30 percent. That’s 16 times the statewide average. And these are jobs with an average annual wage of $73,395, which is 90 percent higher than the state average.
i2E entrepreneurs have developed more than 500 applications for patents. We help entrepreneurs line up their technologies with markets and customers who have problems they are needing to solve and dollars to spend to solve these problems. i2E clients have introduced 204 new products and services to the marketplace.
Start-ups in Oklahoma are able to create these products and jobs and generate this wealth because they have access to commercialization assistance and capital.
Last year we helped 30 entrepreneurial companies for funding.
As of the end of 2013, our total funded investments of $23.5 million have leveraged $483 million in private capital. That’s a ratio of better than 20-to-1. In addition, i2E clients have further leveraged i2E-managed funds by attracting more than $72 million in grant funds.
According to a study published by the Harvard Business School, start-ups that receive angel capital investments are 27 percent more likely to survive the four-year mark. Another study from the State of Washington indicated that the five-year survival rate for all companies (retail and non-retail) that receive both capital and business assistance was 90 percent.
This is the i2E model: capital plus business advisory services equals leverage.
The magic of leverage is that small forces can move great weights. Given the right tools, even the most seemingly impossible tasks can be accomplished.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based start-up companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.
DID YOU KNOW? I2E client companies report that 80 percent of their revenue comes from outside Oklahoma.