When you look closely at a city’s startup ecosystem, you’ll find companies at different developmental stages. However, to have the good news of a startup’s acquisition success like Promoter.io, Intrinsic Imaging, or Parlevel, an ecosystem needs resources to support first-time entrepreneurs incubating an idea into a successful business.
That’s where Geekdom comes in. The downtown-based startup community offers programming to support aspiring entrepreneurs. Its incubator program teaches first-time founders how to fine-tune startup ideas, create a working business model, and work toward gaining traction with customers.
Geekdom offers multiple programs, including its incubator and a pre-accelerator for startups. Since June 4, the 10 startups have met every Saturday for mentoring, workshops, and professional development while learning how to develop their businesses.
“Startups do not and cannot exist in a vacuum,” Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin said. “Entrepreneurs, especially those in the early stages of building a business, ideally are supported by a community of people, organizations, and other startups that surround them – that’s what we provide at Geekdom.”
First launched in March 2020, Geekdom revamped its incubator program for early-stage startups earlier this year into a condensed 10-week curriculum. Through a partnership with Trinity University’s entrepreneurship program, Geekdom invited the five student teams participating in the university’s Stumberg Venture Competition summer accelerator to attend the summer incubator sessions.
“I’ve learned that one of the most critical aspects of entrepreneurship is making meaningful connections with fellow founders and connecting with high-quality mentors regularly,” said Geekdom program manager Jon Garcia. “Mentorship is a core component of everything we do at Geekdom.”
Meet San Antonio’s newest startups
The 10 startup teams in this year’s Geekdom incubator program are working on services and products ranging from software applications to products and software as a service (SaaS) platforms.
Blynx, Inc. is run by John Navarro and Joe Gonzalez, UTSA engineering students who are developing hardware and software for affordable and easily customizable decorative LED strips.
Developmate.io, the brainchild of Christian Garcia, is designed to automate the real estate development process by reducing errors and cutting through inefficiencies by using artificial intelligence.
The Happenings App by Daniel Fryar is an online platform for planning events and helping users discover fun things to do on short notice.
Lindsey and Ben Lopez started Monarch Baby Co. to bring to market its flagship product, “The Little Helper Clip,” designed to attach to different surfaces to stop toddlers from dropping and throwing items.
Amanda and Eddie Bankston founded MVP Vibe as a niche social media platform where artists can get more exposure, monetize their work through tips, and brand themselves more efficiently.
The SA Farmer’s Market Vendor application is the brainchild of Cindy Onyekwelu to allow users to find farmer’s market vendors.
SAFEtech is Liza Gomez and John Martin’s idea to use technology to help detect and prevent school emergencies, such as active shooters, missing children, and health emergencies.
ScriptTrainer was founded by Leo Salazar and Rebecca Lopez as a business-to-business (B2B) software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that helps employees master customized scripts by cutting out the need for a second person in role-playing training exercises.
Unami Life is an online platform — launched by Catherine Sansing and Dale Blankenship — that helps users find new recipes and the best wine choice to pair with their chosen recipe.
Arturo Rodriguez-Segesman launched Unjam to motivate better driving with rewards in the form of discounts to local businesses on your daily commute.
What attracts people to the Geekdom incubator program?
For ScriptTrainer co-founder Leo Salazar, his desire to “become his own boss” is what inspired him to become an entrepreneur. “Rebecca Lopez and I wanted to help people train sales staff and make their lives easier with our SaaS platform,” he said.
Cindy Onyekwelu watched a North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce presentation from Braustin Homes CEO Alberto Piña, in which he shared his startup journey at Geekdom. His desire to help people become homeowners moved Onyekwelu to create an app to help farmers’ market vendors.
“That inspired me to create this vendor app to help food producers increase their market reach,” Onyekwelu said. “This app has the potential to help so many in my community.”
Former educator Liza Gomez experienced a school lockdown drill the same day that her colleague, former school administrator John Martin also experienced a similar drill at his school. After it was over, the two compared notes and realized how challenging it was to get an accurate student and staff count quickly.
“We knew we had to do our best to bring schools a solution, especially after the Uvalde school shooting tragedy earlier this year,” Gomez said. “We’ve immersed ourselves fully into launching our SAFEtech platform to help make a difference in a school emergency.”
Happenings App founder Daniel Fryar has been a Geekdom member for a decade, meeting many founders and entrepreneurs over the years. While he’s helped some with their ideas, he had not “jumped off the entrepreneurial cliff” until now.
“I wanted to build something, but I needed someone to believe in me,” Fryar said. “Geekdom has validated that I could make this happen and has shown me the roadmap, equipped me with tools and knowledge, and connected me with mentors. I’m now in the process of making my own real company.”
The featured image shows Happenings App founder Daniel Fryar (center) and other startup teams participating in Geekdom’s incubator program. Photo courtesy of Geekdom.