“ Unicorns ” are not a myth in the startup world


Oklahoma and i2E marked another innovation and entrepreneurship first in April when Alkami Technology, the first “unicorn” of our state and company, made its Nasdaq (ALKT) debut.

In the language of venture capital, “unicorn” describes a private start-up whose valuation exceeds $ 1 billion. Unicorns in the traditional sense are a mythical breed, more likely imagined than seen – but in the venture capital industry they do appear occasionally.

Alkami Technology’s initial public offering (IPO) raised $ 180 million, selling 6 million common shares, with a rising market cap that topped $ 3 billion – more than triple the definition of a “unicorn” agreement.

The company provides cloud-based digital banking solutions for banks and credit unions. The company was founded (as iThryv) by Oklahomans and a group of serial entrepreneurs consisting of Gary Nelson, Scott Klososky, Steve Meston, Bobby Gruenewald, and Louis Iaanaccone over 10 years ago in Oklahoma City.

i2E made an initial investment in the concept through the OCAST Technology Business Finance program (which iThryv reimbursed) early in the life of the company, then in June 2009 we made another investment in the form of a banknote convertible from OCAST Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund (OSCF).

We last wrote about Alkami Technology as a potential unicorn in 2020 after i2E received a request from one of the world’s largest venture capital funds to buy all or part of the Oklahoma Seed position. Capital Fund. We sold part of our investment and held the rest. It was a successful year.

In August 2020, Crunchbase estimated Alkami’s valuation at between $ 500,000 and $ 1 billion. As of this week, now that the IPO foam has subsided, Alkami’s market cap is $ 2.5 billion – more than two and a half times the summer’s market outlook. latest.

As we all know, stock prices and market capitalization depend on the fundamentals of a company and the quality of execution of the management team. For Alkami, as with any new IPO, there is still a lot to see. Our goal in presenting this Oklahoma-born company is not to predict financial results.

Rather, I want to highlight how this deal started with concept and seed investments, first from Oklahoma’s TBFP and then from the Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund.

Back when Alkami was gaining traction, Oklahoma lacked the investment capital the company needed to grow, so this Oklahoma start-up initially raised capital from S3 Ventures, based in Texas and then, ultimately, with investors like General Atlantic and D1 Capital. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Barclays were the main underwriters of the Alkami Technology IPO.

Alkami has more than 160 financial institutions using its services. In the words of Alkami CEO Mike Hansen, “Our Alkamists wake up every day focused on one thing: to design and deliver the best digital banking experiences to businesses and consumers of financial institutions.”

And, to paraphrase the words of Liberty Bank, a client of Alkami and one of Connecticut’s oldest banks with over $ 7 billion in assets, the reason for doing business with Alkami is that “the deep expertise company in retail and business banking translates into innovation ”.

To rephrase Alkami’s secret sauce in i2E’s words – it’s a dedicated and deliberate commitment to customer and market validation for product and market fit.

Alkami Technology’s success story – from an Oklahoma City startup to a multibillion-dollar IPO and i2E’s first unicorn – fuels the flames of innovation and entrepreneurial opportunity . The more start-ups with high growth potential that we can support with venture capital services and seed capital, the more opportunity we have to create a herd of unicorns – which, as Alkami proves Technology is not always a myth.

Scott Meacham is President and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit that oversees many of the state’s tech startups. i2E receives support from the State of Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s innovation model. Contact Meacham at [email protected]

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