Thunder Launchpad boosts OC alumni start-ups The three graduates of the inagural class continue to grow their businesses

Feb 02, 2019

The Oklahoma City Thunder professional basketball organization has a history of investing in the Oklahoma City community, proving themselves to be much larger than just a basketball team. Their latest endeavor is “Thunder Launchpad,” a start-up accelerator program co-founded with StitchCrew. Three OC alumni were in the inaugural class last year.

StitchCrew is “a start-up helping other start-ups” that seeks to help partner with creative technology start-ups with their investors and community impact. Thunder Launchpad’s goal is to better the future by encouraging bold entrepreneurs to create innovative technologies.

Thunder Launchpad is a 12-week program for select start-up founders to get their ideas off the ground and into society. Participants can use shared space in the Thunder Launchpad Midtown building, mentoring and services from various business leaders. At the end of the program, the start-ups present their products and ideas at “Demo Day” to potential investors.

OC alumni Ashley Smith, John Cope and Tony Weedn were a part of the Thunder Launchpad’s inaugural class. Smith is the co-founder and CEO of CrowdSeekr, a real estate investment app. Cope is the co-founder and CEO of Buldaga, a communication app for construction professionals and their clients. Weedn founded BaseConnect, an exclusively military social media platform connecting fellow troops and helping then connect after they are stationed to a new community.

Oklahoma Christian Marketing and Management Professor Burt Smith is looking forward to seeing what this program could mean for the community and for the economy in Oklahoma City. 

"The Thunder Launchpad is a great idea because it combines local expertise with the powerful Thunder brand name,” Smith said. “That brand identity could help the entrepreneurs with the best ideas get some advantages in terms of visibility, which could, in turn, lead to greater funding, more business, an enhanced peer network, and so on." 

The inaugural Thunder Launchpad class, including all three OC alumni, graduated last summer. The second class was announced in September.