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New space opens for tech startups in downtown Tulsa

Outdoor space in downtown Tulsa, Okla., for those looking for a different work experience outside of traditional office space is seen on March 24, 2022. (KTUL)
Outdoor space in downtown Tulsa, Okla., for those looking for a different work experience outside of traditional office space is seen on March 24, 2022. (KTUL)
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Atento Capital, a Tulsa-based investment firm for start-ups and tech innovations, has opened a new space for entrepreneurs at 1st Street and Detroit Avenue downtown.

“We wanted to have a space where you could see the sign from the street, in which people could come in and say, ‘Hey, I have an idea,’ and someone would talk to them,” said Atento Managing Partner Michael Basch.

The space offers 18 private offices and several open floor meeting areas for people looking to start tech innovations in Tulsa. It even features a speakeasy for added character.

Basch said the space was strategically placed near Greenwood, close to the 36 Degrees North incubator and advertising agency Gitwit, to better serve the area.

“We believe in investing in the underinvested,” he said. “That can be racially, that can be gender, that can be geographically. Greenwood has been traditionally underinvested in, and so being in the corner of Greenwood and the Arts District, we think this is the perfect location for what we're trying to do.”

“We’re going to build more tech ventures in this little corner of a block over the next five years than anywhere,” said Jacob Johnson, principal strategist at Gitwit. “Just on the Gitwit side alone, we’ll be building 10 ventures over the next few years and Atento will be investing in many more, so this is really going to be the hub of startups.”

Atento has invested in 10 companies that are headquartered in Tulsa, seven of them have been recruited to the area from out of state.

Several of those companies have received additional investments of millions of dollars. One of those companies is 19days, which has received $10 million to bring more tech to the area.

“Ultimately, our goal is to build really great, high-value software as a service to companies here in Tulsa to prove that it can be done over and over again, and then sell the companies,” said Joey Wignarajah, managing partner at 19days.

PatchRx is one of the companies that moved its operations from San Antonio to Tulsa after finding better funding with Atento for its smart pill bottle cap and software.

“Tulsa has something really interesting going on here,” said Andrew Aertker, co-founder at PatchRx “It feels like it’s growing with the startups that they are bringing here. The support that you find here gives you new opportunities and a lot of different chances to get your name out there.”

At the same time, founder and CEO of Remble, Jordan Green, said she was looking for investors in other parts of the country when someone told her she might pitch her idea for a mental health resource catalog to Atento, which was right in her “backyard”.

“As a founder, I had the idea, but I didn’t have all the right resources, but I also didn’t think there were investors in Tulsa,” Green said. “As soon as I got connected to the startup community, I was able to bounce ideas off of other founders and share resources.”

This type of networking is what Atento hopes will continue with the space.

“Our hope is to meet people where they are and have a variety of different folks working on their businesses, talking to each other, talking to us, having meetings, and working on laptops.”


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