Bobby Rockers is the Chief Technology Officer of Bison Technologies, a software-enabled service company that digitizes oilfield logistics. Starting in 2019 to solve the problem of using paper ticket books to keep track of work orders, Bison Technologies has since added dispatching, price booking, and integration to ERPs, growing the company to over 200 employees, including 50 engineers. Rockers is passionate about building the technology ecosystem in Oklahoma and believes the lack of experienced tech startups that can scale is a problem.
“One of the problems that we continually run into is the lack of experienced tech startups that have been able to scale and to get to that point where they get approached for external funding and actually just take off,” said Bobby Rockers. “And the reason for that is usually not the reason that people think.”
Rockers explained the state needs experienced fast-growing startups that can act as force multipliers for the next generation of startups. Many other communities with thriving tech ecosystems began with a company that was able to grow and scale fast. The experience gained from those companies created a culture of mentorship and development for future tech startups. Although Oklahoma has had some successful tech startups, the lack of mentorship and development opportunities means a gap in the state’s tech ecosystem. Rockers believes Bison Technologies has gained significant experience and can help mentor and develop future tech companies in Oklahoma.
“It’s incumbent upon us, people like the Bison Technologies of the world, to get involved and to just help people not run into the same roadblocks, to push them to move quickly, to understand the trade-offs of the things they’re doing so that they’ve got the opportunity to know that what they’re doing will actually work and that they can be successful at it.”
To build a flourishing tech ecosystem, Rockers said it’s essential for startups to expand and connect with people in other markets. However, the startup culture in Oklahoma can be isolating.
“Collectively, we have those resources,” said Rockers. “It’s just a matter of opening ourselves up as a whole to those resources so that the developers have the chance to be successful.”
Rockers said OVF could be a catalyst for the change we need to see in Oklahoma, but we’re going to be hamstrung by our ability to grow if we can’t grow a vibrant, specifically tech-focused startup culture.
“The group that’s there has the collective resources to be the mentors and the gatekeepers and the resources to make that community vibrant and successful. And that’s what I hope to get out of it is that the people who come out of there come away with the passion and the desire and the intensity to say, ‘Hey, we can do this, and this is something that can change the skyline of Oklahoma for the next hundred years.’”
Bobby Rockers will speak to Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch members on Wednesday, March 8, 2023. The event will be held at The Venue at Crew Work Space in Downtown Oklahoma City from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm and will be open to members and guests both in-person and virtually via ZOOM. Rockers said communities such as OVF are essential, and we should leverage each other.
“It’s the serendipity of people from different backgrounds and stuff running into each other and coming up with new ideas and making those connections and saying, ‘Hey, I know a guy that does social media stuff. You probably should talk to them.’ Or, ‘Hey, I know somebody who’s been able to get auto-scaling for ten million+ customers at a reasonable price.” Or, ‘Oh, I know somebody who’s had problems with product market fit in this particular thing. Let me hook you up with somebody that’s got product experience.’ And so I think that that’s important. And initiatives like OVF and the Tech Plus Plus events and some of the work that Techlahoma is doing is super important, and we need to expand that, and in some cases professionalize that.”