Matthew Bristow was recognized by the Journal Record in the 2016 class of Achievers Under 40. Below is the Journal Record’s profile.
In founding ClearRidge, Matthew Bristow’s biggest motivator was that Oklahoma didn’t have any merger and acquisition advisory firms he wanted to work for.
His only choices were to leave Tulsa or start his own company.
“Given that I’d moved 4,000 miles to settle with my wife in Tulsa, leaving didn’t seem like an option either,” Bristow said. “And I saw the lack of competing firms as a big opportunity to start something better. Furthermore, as for most first-generation entrepreneurs, failure really wasn’t an option.”
Bristow started ClearRidge Investment Bankers and Business Advisors in 2008, along with his co-founder Bruce Jones, and their team has completed mergers and acquisitions transactions, provided restructuring advice, and secured new and replacement capital for midsized companies, banks and law firms across the U.S. and Canada. He holds Series 62, 63 and 79 securities licenses and is a federal and state registered investment banking agent.
“I truly believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” Bristow said. “For me, entrepreneurship was this inevitable destination; I just didn’t realize it until I got there. From a young age, I’ve always looked for business opportunities, but I think the point at which I became a real entrepreneur was when I gave up every other source of income to focus exclusively on starting my company.”
Leading is nothing new for the England-born Bristow. He serves as president of the Oklahoma chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
“It is the biggest professional challenge I have ever undertaken, to lead a volunteer board of 10 other members, all of whom are owners of their own companies,” he said. “I had to learn to lead through example and through influence, rather than authority, as everyone is a leader in their own right and everyone is volunteering their time. The challenge has been hugely rewarding and an incredible learning experience.”
In 2016-17, Bristow will lead the launch of EO Oklahoma as two separate chapters: EO Oklahoma City and EO Tulsa.
Bristow is also active in other community organizations, including the Rotary Club of Tulsa. While serving as sergeant of arms for the Rotary Club, Bristow broke the record in money raised for the Rotary foundation.
“His passion to help the needs of others was contagious,” said Rhonda Renz, past president of Rotary Club Tulsa. “During the meetings, he shined with professionalism, witty humor, organizational skills and creative ideas. Matthew is an amazing person who is a great example to all of us with his moral compass of honesty, integrity and intelligence.”
Bristow and his wife, Lindsey, have three children, Lyle, Eden and Isla.
Picture caption: Matthew with his friend and fellow recipient, Evan Kelamis, after the awards ceremony at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City.