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But don't know where to begin?
The Oklahoma State University (OSU) Riata Pre-Seed Fund provides early-stage startup capital, typically even the first external investment, to support the entrepreneurial aspirations of any currently enrolled OSU student. The Riata Pre-Seed Fund is open for applications three times per year: spring, summer, and fall.
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  • Requirements

    This Startup investment, which can be up $25,000, must be capable of contributing to the achievement of key performance milestones that will advance the commercial viability of the Startup or new business opportunity. The Startup must be a scalable, for-profit business model targeting clearly identified market segment needs/problems. Startup applicants need to be scalable and possess the ability to achieve at least $1 million of revenue/year within 5 years, or raise in excess of $1 million in equity capital within 5 years. Ideally the Startup should utilize some form of innovation in delivering its business model and/or a product itself as part of their competitive differentiation. 

     

    Prior to submitting an Application, a student applicant must secure and work with an OSU faculty/staff sponsor from the School of Entrepreneurship, Riata Center for Entrepreneurship, or Cowboy Technologies, LLC who must support your prepared application prior to submission to the OSU Riata Pre-Seed Fund. All submitted complete applications will be distributed to and reviewed by the designated members of the Riata Pre-Seed Fund Committee.

  •  Dates
    April 29: Applications Open 
    June 10: Applications Close
    June 23: Applicants notified
    July 15: Investment Committee Pitch
  •  Eligibility
    • All applicants must have:
      • One or more Founders or to-be Founders in the Startup are currently enrolled OSU students at the time of application.
      • Completed meaningful “customer discovery/validation” research, through documented external customer interviews, that indicates there is a potential market/product fit.
      • Developed a for-profit business model, as supported by a Business Model Canvas and/or a Business Plan, with the potential to achieve at least $1 million in revenue/year within 5 years, or raise in excess of $1 million in equity capital within five years.
      • Never previously received angel or other institutional equity or convertible-to-equity investment funding, other than from Cowboy Technologies, LLC.  Personal funds, or investment funds or gifts received from friends or family are not included in this restriction and are encouraged.
      • Not received more than $100,000 in cumulative external commercial grant funding (SBIR, STTR, OCAST OARS, etc.), business competition winnings, and business loans.
    • If applicants, individually or within the business, own all innovation in delivering its business model and/or a product, or who have already commercially licensed IP owned by another company or institution, the applicant must:
      • Be structured as either a for-profit C-Corporation (C-Corp) or as a for-profit Limited Liability Company (LLC) electing to be taxed by the IRS as a Partnership or C-Corp.
      • Be registered and in good standing with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
      • Have >50% ownership by Founders who are enrolled OSU students at time of application, established in a cap table within an executed founder’s agreement, operating agreement, or equivalent.
      • If applicable, have an executed commercial license to practice any IP owned by another company or institution.
    • If applicants are developing OSU-owned Intellectual Property (IP) not yet ready for commercial license to a new company, the applicant must:
      • Apply for investment funding as a technology development project at OSU through their OSU department. A founder’s agreement will be made among the Founders that contains convertible-to-equity investment terms relative to a future to-be-formed startup company which may license the OSU IP at a future date when commercially viable.
      • Have one or more student Founder(s) that possess the technology expertise who could follow the technology out of OSU into an operational startup company licensing the OSU IP.
      • Have previously filed an OSU Invention Record and Report Form (IRR) with the OSU Technology Development Center (TDC).
      • Have received a letter of support from Cowboy Technologies, LLC.
  • Application Information
    • If not already working with an OSU Sponsor, contact riata@okstate.edu to request being paired with an OSU Sponsor.
    • Interact and work with your OSU Sponsor to complete the necessary business startup research and supporting collateral materials, such as the Business Model Canvas, a Business Plan, financial projections, etc.
    • Upon completing preliminary background research, all Sponsor-recommended applicants must complete the Application. The Application package includes all of the following and be submitted via email to riata@okstate.edu by the listed due date:
      • Application form
      • Business plan: Includes (Customer Need, Product/Service Solution, Value Proposition and Competitive Advantage, Market Opportunity and Initial Target Market, Sales and Marketing Strategy, Business Model, Development Status, and Team
    • For Riata Pre-Seed Fund Committee approved applicants, a PowerPoint Investor Presentation must be submitted via email to riata@okstate.edu by due date listed for the applicable Semester. The Presentation shall be 10 minutes maximum and will be followed by a Q&A session (succinct/creative/memorable coverage of the elements of your business plan).
  • Investment Parameters
    Those LLC or C-Corp company applicants selected to receive Riata Pre-Seed Fund investment, will be subject to due diligence and execution of a Convertible Note Agreement with terms to be defined on a case-by-case basis. The Riata Pre-Seed Fund Committee will specify the terms of the Convertible Note Agreement including length, interest rate, repayment terms, conversion discount and next qualified equity round. This Convertible Note Agreement shall be executed between the company with a person authorized by the company to execute such a document, and Cowboy Technologies, LLC, a for-profit businesses accelerator owned by the OSU Research Foundation.Those OSU project team applicants developing OSU-owned IP as a project at OSU and not through a company, selected to receive Riata Pre-Seed Fund investment, will be subjected to due diligence and execution of a Founder’s Agreement that includes the terms of the simple agreement for future equity (SAFE). The Riata Pre-Seed Fund Committee will specify the terms of the SAFE including conversion discount and next qualified equity round. This Founder’s Agreement and its associated SAFE terms shall be executed among the Founders (enrolled OSU students and OSU faculty or staff inventors of the OSU-owned IP) and Cowboy Technologies, LLC, a for-profit businesses accelerator owned by the OSU Research Foundation.Neither the Convertible Note nor the Founder’s Agreement with associated SAFE terms, requires personal guarantees by the Founders.
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