Author: Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez is a writer based in San Antonio, Texas, covering innovation in emerging tech, cybersecurity, and bioscience startup companies in San Antonio.
Codeup Opens Third Tech Accelerator Campus in Downtown Houston
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Codeup Opens Third Tech Accelerator Campus in Downtown Houston

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Codeup, a tech career boot camp accelerator based in San Antonio, is expanding again. Codeup has announced its newest campus located in downtown Houston in the Novel Coworking building at 720 Rusk Street. Michael Girdley, Jason Straughan, and Chris Turner opened Codeup in 2013, offering its 20-week coding boot camp-style workforce development program for aspiring software developers. Since launching, the company has grown from its roots as a boot camp into a local institution focused on meeting demand for talent in San Antonio’s growing technology ecosystem. "In Houston, the demand for tech talent is high, the population is vast and diverse, and Texas still has the 10th largest economy in the world," Codeup CEO Jason Straughan wrote in a company blog po...
Vitanova Biomedical Develops Light-Activated Cancer Therapy Pioneered by UTSA Researcher
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Vitanova Biomedical Develops Light-Activated Cancer Therapy Pioneered by UTSA Researcher

The San Antonio-based biotech startup Vitanova Biomedical is developing a new way to treat cancer called photodynamic therapy that causes no side effects and can kill many types of cancers. The preclinical stage biotech company is commercializing a novel technique that uses a specific wavelength of light combined with a chemical. The new cancer treatment approach is based on research first done at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) by Matthew Gdovin when he was an associate professor in UTSA’s biology department. Gdovin pioneered using the photosensitizing agent o-nitrobenzaldehyde (o-NBA) in combination with a specific wavelength of light that activates the drug. This photodynamic therapy triggers the cancer cell to become too acidic and die, a process known as apoptosis....
XYREC Launches Plane Paint-Stripping Robot Operations at Port San Antonio
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XYREC Launches Plane Paint-Stripping Robot Operations at Port San Antonio

At a custom-built 7,000-square-foot facility on Port San Antonio's campus, a Netherlands-based company has been assessing its airplane paint-stripping robot. After extensive testing and validation from the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), XYREC, a global innovator in applied robotic technology solutions, is ready to launch its first robotic plane paint-stripping operation in North American. XYREC has produced the world's largest industrial robot, measuring at over 72 feet when fully extended. It comes equipped with a high-powered laser that rapidly strips paint from any size aircraft without damaging the airframe. The automated de-coating of the plane is precise down to the micron level and can stop before removing a specified layer of paint or coating. The robotic system is mounted o...
Smart Water-Bottle Lid Company Sapphire Wins Stumberg Competition $25,000 Prize at Trinity University
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Smart Water-Bottle Lid Company Sapphire Wins Stumberg Competition $25,000 Prize at Trinity University

Trinity University student entrepreneur team Sapphire won the $25,000 grand prize in equity-free funding in the final virtual round of the Louis H. Stumberg Venture Competition Thursday evening. Sophomores Tara Lujan and alumnus Zachary Taylor developed the first-to-market smart lid that tracks water consumption and replaces the standard lid found on most water bottles. Thoughtfull, a company offering a line of healthy snacks, came in the runner-up position. Sophomores Cannon Wilson and Amy Platter will receive $5,000 in funding. The six finalist teams have wide-ranging businesses: Sapphire was co-founded by sophomore Tara Lujan and Zachary Taylor who graduated in May. Sapphire is a smart replacement lid that fits most bottle brands. The lid automatically records fluid intake to...
Technica Corp. Opens Cyber Facility at Port San Antonio
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Technica Corp. Opens Cyber Facility at Port San Antonio

San Antonio's considerable cyber hub of specialized expertise has grown with the addition of a state-of-the-art cybersecurity facility from Technica Corporation. The Virginia-based company opened a 12,000-square-foot multi-functional cyber facility at Port San Antonio in June to support work on a $74 million Department of Defense contract Technica won in 2019. Technica provides advanced cybersecurity engineering, cyber training, quality assurance and testing, and round-the-clock operational support for the U.S. Air Force’s Cyberspace Vulnerability Assessment/Hunter (CVA/H) weapon system.  CVA/H identifies vulnerabilities and performs risk assessments on mission-critical networks essential for national security. The customized cyber facilities at 913 Billy Mitchell Blvd. include a systems ...
Gov Tech Startup Irys Wins $1.15M Air Force Contract
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Gov Tech Startup Irys Wins $1.15M Air Force Contract

Irys, a San Antonio-based software-as-a-service or SaaS startup, has won an Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) $1.15 million Phase II contract from the Air Force's AFWERX innovation program. The highly competitive Air Force SBIR program awards non-dilutive funding to help companies develop commercially feasible advanced technologies that also meets an Air Force need. Only those granted a Phase I SBIR award (or a Direct to Phase II contract) are eligible for Phase II and III awards. Irys won an SBIR Phase I award of $50,000 in the fall of 2019. Under SBIR rules, companies that successfully secure an agreement with at least one Air Force customer may be awarded up to $2.3 million or more in Phase II and gain the ability to move to an unlimited number and value of cont...
Crown Scientific — A Research Lab Space for Startups
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Crown Scientific — A Research Lab Space for Startups

A year ago, Crown Scientific launched to help early-stage bioscience innovators needing affordable access to lab space and specialized equipment. This relatively new facility fills a critical need in San Antonio's bioscience innovation landscape. The medical research company, located in the heart of the San Antonio Medical Center, has 2,600 square feet of space. That includes a 1,400 square-foot wet laboratory space filled with high-dollar scientific instruments and an 800 square-foot environment-controlled animal research suite. Crown's animal facility can house more than 400 small rodents for scientists looking to conduct small animal trials. "We provide the equipment, resources, and expertise to make translational science possible," said Ramon Coronado Schmilinski, co-founder and ...
Applications Open for SAMMI, a San Antonio Biomedical Seed Fund for Military Medical Collaboration
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Applications Open for SAMMI, a San Antonio Biomedical Seed Fund for Military Medical Collaboration

San Antonio is investing in innovators who are commercializing discoveries in medical devices, new drugs, and biotechnology and biomedical software that can meet military medical mission needs. The San Antonio Military Medical Innovation (SAMMI) Fund has opened applications for its bioscience startup seed fund. If chosen, each company will receive up to a $50,000 award in the form of a convertible promissory note with a three-to-five-year term, depending on the loan amount and current stage of the company, said Corey Levenson, the city's military medical innovation director. Levenson helps coordinate and align economic development strategies with San Antonio's unique military medical assets. The financial terms will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the maturity of ...
Geekdom 2020 Pre-Accelerator Startups To Pitch at Virtual Demo Day
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Geekdom 2020 Pre-Accelerator Startups To Pitch at Virtual Demo Day

For the startups participating in this year's pre-accelerator program, Geekdom did what practically everyone has done since the COVID-19 pandemic closed down public gatherings starting in March. The downtown San Antonio co-working community improvised.  That means that the 2020 Geekdom Pre-Accelerator Demo Day will be viewed online Sept. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. Register to view the pitches from the seven startups here. For the third year of the startup program, Geekdom delayed its typical spring start until July 23 and ran the program until Aug. 27. Adapting the pre-accelerator program into a virtual mentoring curriculum helped broaden Geekdom's local mentoring network, said program manager Joyce Deuley. Investors from Active Capital, RealCo Longterm Accelerator, Dura Software, and Li...
Watershed Idea Foundry ‘One-Stop-Shop’ Helps Biotech Startups Get Ideas to Market
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Watershed Idea Foundry ‘One-Stop-Shop’ Helps Biotech Startups Get Ideas to Market

An enterprising healthcare professional can now get a biomedical device idea developed, prototyped, tested, and manufactured all in one place at the Watershed Idea Foundry in northwest San Antonio. Watershed helps aspiring entrepreneurs incubate and accelerate the development of innovative technologies from all industries that can advance patient care. The idea started after San Antonio-based venture capital firm Fountainhead Investment Partners transitioned from an angel fund into a venture capital firm focused on early-stage companies in 2015. By 2017, Fountainhead had invested in Nvision Biomedical Technologies, a medical device and biologics company that works with surgeons on medical implants.  Fountainhead has since been expanding its portfolio investments (ranging from $2...