Innovate Oklahoma: A tech startup’s opinion

A new program was launched by the State of Oklahoma today.

The program is called Innovate Oklahoma.

The idea is that Oklahoma has built an open marketplace, where both government agencies and citizens can list state governmental issues which could use a better technological solution.  Not only are the problems listed, some of these problems will be open for bidding by companies and other technologists to provide solutions.

To my knowledge, this is the first program of it’s kind in the United States.

The State of Oklahoma believes that by being open and transparent about technological  challenges, and looking to it’s own citizens and companies for solutions, it can achieve a better experience for it’s citizens at a lower cost.  If the state of Oklahoma kept such issues on a private list, and attempted to build all of the solutions internally or through contractors the cost would be a much greater burden.

At Who’s On My WiFi, we work with both businesses and city/state governments across the country, offering WiFi Analytics solutions.  We know that because governments are working with taxpayer dollars, there is always a concern in trying something new and the buying process is often slow.  For many government entities, solutions to problems are often thought of in years.  The RFP Process alone can take 6 to 12 months for a single project.  In contrast, most start-ups think in weeks or months, not years, and they can often become frustrated with this procurement process and choose other customer bases to serve.

So the fact that Innovate Oklahoma is focusing on the speed of delivering solutions to taxpayers, as well as transparency of the issues at hand seems like a solid foundation to build a sustainable ecosystem catered to early stage technology companies.

And to us, that’s what’s the most interesting about this new program.  The state where we’re based, is now making a bet on technology startups.  As technology entrepreneurs, this makes us feel very welcome and excited to grow here in the state of Oklahoma.

The fact that government funds now have a chance of financially backing early stage companies as a customer, instead of as an investor, seems like a way to ensure that startup companies are building something of value from the beginning.  It also likely means that other early stage companies that have government agencies as part of their core user base, like Who’s On My WiFi, will want to have a presence here as well.


The program that is being attempted certainly has lofty goals.  Some of the goals are to modernize the delivery of services to taxpayers, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and help to promote the technology ecosystem already in the state.

Whether the program will be able to achieve all of these goals is not yet known, but whether the program succeeds or not, I think the current administration and the state should be commended on making the attempt and taking a chance for a better future.

As a company, now we will be more aware of any technological issues of the state. Should we feel that there is a problem which we think could easily be solved by WiFi Analytics technology, we’ll be more than happy to work with our government to deliver the solution at what will likely be a fraction of the cost of a custom built solution.

The Innovate Oklahoma website launched today during the Governor’s speech.  If you have not yet seen it, please visit