Bob Okabe, a founder of Prairie Angels in Chicago and a General Electric and RPX Group veteran, sat down with ePrairie international expert Michael Muth for a three-part Q&A on developing international ties, managing U.S. subsidiaries and balancing local needs with global expansion.
Bob Okabe is a corporate executive whose clients have ranged from Fortune 50 companies to three-person start-ups. Over the last 20 years, he has worked in every aspect of financial and general management from cost accountant to CFO.
An active angel investor, Okabe is one of the founders of Prairie Angels Capital Partners, the manager of the first organized angel fund in the Chicago area. He has made six equity investments in the last five years with two reaching a liquidity event. As a business advisor, Okabe has worked with clients on all aspects of strategic and financial management.
Previously, Okabe was the CFO and senior credit officer for a privately held equipment leasing company. In this role, he managed all aspects of finance, accounting, tax, treasury, information systems, credit policy and collections through a staff of 23 professionals.
He also led the credit committee for the company’s Venture Leasing division, which provided more than $7.5 million in lease and mezzanine debt facilities for early stage companies during his tenure.
Having also acted as interim CFO, he has set up financial and business models as well as accounting systems and controls for three start-up companies. He has been a consultant and expert witness for institutional investors and the government in securities fraud litigation.
The core of Okabe’s background has been in corporate finance and financial services. He was an investment banker from 1988 to 1999. Most recently, he was a managing director and group head at BancAmerica Robertson Stephens (now Banc of America Securities). He also served as a senior vice president at Lehman Brothers and a vice president at Kidder, Peabody & Co.
He began his business career spending six years developing a wide range of core financial and accounting skills while on the fast-track financial management development program at General Electric. After leaving GE, he was a senior bond-rating analyst for Moody’s Investors Service for two years.
Okabe earned his bachelor’s of science in finance and organizational behavior from Boston University’s School of Management.
Prairie Angels Founder Bob Okabe on Diction, International Cities International columnist Michael Muth concludes his Q&A with Bob Okabe, a founder of Prairie Angels in Chicago and a veteran of the RPX Group, by delving into the truth of Japanese diction, a comparison between Chicago and New York in terms of internationalization and how to approach international markets.
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