Something big for all Oklahomans recently flew under the radar locally, and I thought BlogOKC would be a great place to shine some light.
OKC’s TokenEx received a Series B investment round of $100 million.
$100,000,000. That’s a lot of zeros.
If you are unfamiliar with the company, TokenEx developed proprietary technology that “desensitizes” critical information by replacing it with tokenized placeholders that have no relation to the original inputs.
So, if a hacker breaks into a company’s server and steals sensitive data such as credit card or Social Security numbers, tokenization renders the information useless to the data thief.
Co-founded by Alex Pezold, CEO, and Jerald Dawkins in 2010, TokenEx is located in the Port164 office center in far northwest Oklahoma City. It employs 72 people who are constantly innovating improvements to the tokenization software.
I became acquainted with Pezold and Dawkins through past work with i2E, Inc., and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). TokenEx’s early development work was supported by funding from OCAST’s Oklahoma Applied Research Support program and the OCAST Technology Business Finance Program managed by i2E.
The latest investment round was led by Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based K1 Investment Management, LLC, which led me to ask Pezold about location implications for TokenEx.
Pezold was adamant that TokenEx was, is and continues to be an Oklahoma-based venture.
“TokenEx always has been and always will be an Oklahoma-first business,” he said. “We continue hiring locally and actually relocating professionals into the state of Oklahoma! Of course, due to the pandemic, our hiring practices have adapted accordingly so our business can thrive. “
The latest investment round will allow TokenEx to expand its “go-to-market capabilities” while enabling it to continue to create new products and solutions, Alex told me.
Pezold and his team built this business amid an extremely competitive market, yet drew investor interest from more than 10 different potential equity partners before the K1 Investment Management deal.
“We selected K1 Investment Management because of their progressive practices around partnering with and growing their portfolio companies,” Alex said. “K1 has already been a great partner to TokenEx, and we expect our partnership to progress nicely as our cultures blend extremely well – and we are aligned as partners with our goals.”
Demand for TokenEx’ tokenization solution continues to increase in urgency. There were 1,862 data breaches last year according to the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
Meanwhile, new legislation was proposed in Oklahoma designed to protect data privacy, and similar laws are being adopted around the nation and the world.
“As we’ve seen even here in Oklahoma recently, legislation around protecting privacy data for Oklahoma constituents is only increasing, which is the opportunity we will capitalize on in he next 2-5 years,” Alex said. “The good news, TokenEx is already protecting both payment and privacy data today, so it is only natural that we will continue growing in both addressable markets.”
I’m proud that TokenEx was created in Oklahoma and continues to be an Oklahoma-based company.