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Plains Ventures is the venture capital fund of i2E charged with investing in Oklahoma companies in all phases of the business life cycle with checks sized between $250,000 and $1 million.
“We’re sector agnostic,” said Plains Ventures President and Managing Director Justin Wilson. “We invest from seed to series A. It’s about serving founders, creating growth, finding innovation, supporting it and creating value.”
Plains Ventures branches out of i2E
Launched in Tulsa and OKC early February, the new brand comes out of i2E, a business management consulting company that gives entrepreneurs and innovators the guidance, accountability and candor to ensure they are ready to succeed.
i2E has given venture capital through the Plains Ventures fund for over 20 years, but this is the first time the brand has branched out on its own. TEDC CEO Rose Washington-Jones serves on the i2E Board of Directors.
“From the i2E nonprofit side, we want that part of our business to have its own identity and can be differentiated from all of the for profit things we do around the state,” i2E President Rex Smitherman said.
“We think it’s a good idea to separate those identities so that entrepreneurs and startup founders can understand the progression of the work of getting ready for investment and going to those that actually have the money and invest.”
Since 1998, i2E has helped build, launch and grow great ideas of Oklahoma entrepreneurs into high growth ventures. They do this through advisory services, micro accelerators and funding. Their investment arm, Plains Ventures, has more than $100 million of investment capital under management and serves Oklahoma
“I’m aware of the oxymoron there that I invite people to the launch of the oldest and most experienced and largest venture capital firm in the state of Oklahoma,” Wilson said.
“The idea is that this group has been investing and proving the thesis that entrepreneurship and innovation in places like not just Oklahoma but places like it is woefully underrated. There is both an opportunity for growth in terms of economic development and market principles.”
Plains Ventures Experience
Plains Ventures is experienced when it comes to investing in companies. One of the businesses funded by Plains Ventures is Boddle Learning, a kids learning metaverse.
“We take learning content and assessment items like homework, quizzes, math practice, fact fluency and we embed it into 3D games for kids, and then teachers can use it and pull data and know where their kids are struggling and doing well,” Boddle Learning Co-FounderTan said. “We’re saving teachers a lot of time and making it super fun for kids to do all the classroom activities.”
The founders, Tan and Edna Martinson, were connected to Plains Ventures and i2E when they decided to move their headquarters to Tulsa from Kansas City.
“He’s one of those founders that venture capitalists kind of salivate over,” Wilson said. “The co-founders have a depth and a level and clarity of understanding the entire industry sector in which they operate and they are passionately devoted to serving customers and driving impact.”
When they first came to Tulsa, Boddle Learning had about 50,000 kids on their app. Plains Ventures made an investment in their company and two years later they now have 3.5 million and signing up 10 to 15,000 kids every single day.
“Our goal is to keep growing and drive user and revenue growth,” Tan said.
To get connected with Plains Ventures and submit your business for a formal pitch to be considered an investment partnership or if you’re an investor that wants to connect to the venture capital to help support these powerful ideas, visit the Plains Ventures website.
“If you want to be involved in any way in seeing early-stage ventures grow, reach out to us, we want to hear from you,” Wilson said.
About TEDC Creative Capital
TEDC Creative Capital (aka TEDC) is a community development financial institution (CDFI) providing lending opportunities and learning programs to start-up or growing businesses. TEDC helps small companies operate more successfully, create jobs, and loans range from $500 to $10 million.
Visit the TEDC website or call 918-585-8332 for more information on loan and educational programs.