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Five Startups to Watch in Oklahoma in 2021

George PaulLists
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Editorial credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Oklahoma isn’t typically the first thought after Silicon Valley but The Sooner State is growing into a startup destination.

With two cities in the top 50 locales for starting a business, the centrally-located state boasts both a low cost of living and access to top-tier talent from area universities.

Alongside in-state academic powerhouses like The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, startups can also pull talent from major universities in neighboring Texas.

Within Oklahoma, much of this tech talent is concentrated in its two largest cities, Tusla and Oklahoma City. The two cities are ripe for startup founders, not just as they begin but as scale as well due to their wealth of manufacturing infrastructure, office space, and stock of affordable housing.

To promote the city of Tulsa as a destination for startup founders, Tulsa Remote sprung up in November 2018. Right away the program was "shocked” at the number of initial applications they received (more than 10,000). This number surged 300% during the COVID-19 pandemic and with 380 new members joining by the end of 2020.

The spike in interest in the state isn't likely a fad and is helping to solidify Oklahoma as an upcoming startup hub.

Check out these fast-growing startups in the heart of Oklahoma that are making waves in 2021.

ArborXR

Founded in 2021 by the founders of SpringboardVR, ArborXR is an enterprise-grade XR device management solution that also offers companies content management and distribution solutions. The company is headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma, and sprung up to help companies bridge the gap from pilot programs to full-scale deployments, an issue CEO Brad Scoggin and his co-founders noticed while operating their own VR startup, which they sold to Vertigo Games earlier this year.

“ArborXR is a natural evolution for us as we always saw the transformative power of VR beyond entertainment, many companies today are trying to deliver XR training and experiences using consumer hardware and inadequate enterprise software," company Co-Founder and COO Jordan Williams noted. "Consequently, as they transition from pilot projects to larger deployments, they face all kinds of problems. We’ve already built a commercial VR solution managing thousands of users, devices, and content titles and we translated that experience to ArborXR, which is purpose-built to make it easier for companies and content providers to deploy enterprise VR at scale.”

Co-Founders of ArborXR from left to right: Brad Scoggin (CEO), Jordan Williams (COO), and Will Stackable (CCO).

Co-Founders of ArborXR from left to right: Brad Scoggin (CEO), Jordan Williams (COO), and Will Stackable (CCO). Image courtesy of ArborXR.

Podchaser

Podchaser made its debut in 2016 and was founded by a team that met on a Reddit thread. Led by CEO Bradley Davis, the platform focuses on podcast discovery, ratings, reviews, creator credits, playlists, and search. Five years on and Podchaser has raised $4 million in its Series A funding round and added former Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn as an Advisor. Additionally this year the company has rounded out its product with a slew of new features and integrations including its most recent bookmark feature that allows users to create their own personalized podcast from Podchaser bookmarks.

“Even in the face of a pandemic, the podcast market continues to grow at a breakneck pace. The demand from consumers and brands is insatiable. Podchaser’s data and discovery tools are crucial to taking podcasting to new heights,” Alan Patricof, the Co-Founder of Greycroft (one of Podchaser's backers), said in conversation with TechCrunch.

BriteBee

Based out of Yukon, Oklahoma, BriteBee aims to simplify the insurance industry for shoppers, insurance agencies, and insurance companies alike. The company was founded in 2017 to make it easier for insurance agents and carriers to increase their digital exposure. In early 2021, the company took its next major step and introduced The Buzz by BriteBee, a full-service creative agency to help firms improve their branding, creative, and implementation.

BriteBee

BriteBee CEO Keagan Henson and CTO Kelly Thomas. Image courtesy of BriteBee.

Draft Badge

DraftBadge is built to reimagine the way age-restricted transactions are done in the nightlife, entertainment, and hospitality industries. Founded in Norman, Oklahoma, the company's app went live in February 2021 and provides a mobile ID to its users that can be used to verify age and make payments, allowing users to leave their wallets at home. The company plans to introduce the ability for users to earn rewards in 2022.

Tailwind

Tailwind's app aims to give users a smart marketing assistant to helps automate their social media designs, scheduling, and analytics. The startup has a primary focus on Pinterest and Instagram and according to its internal statistics can result in users receiving 1.8x more likes on Instagram and 6.9x more Repins on Pinterest on average. The startup closed out 2020 by launching its Tailwind Create feature, which gives users to create Pin designs straight from their dashboard setting it up for a stronger 2021.

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