Geekdom Pre-Accelerator Program Prepares Startups for Early-Stage Funding

By Iris Gonzalez
The marquis at the Aztec Theatre is from the Geekdom Pre-Accelerator Demo Day in 2018. Courtesy image.

Six San Antonio startups are using the opportunity to learn over the past six weeks from seasoned entrepreneurs and experts what it takes to grow their company. Coworking space Geekdom has been working closely with founders participating in its 2019 Pre-Accelerator program cohort since early April.

The six teams will pitch at the Geekdom Pre-Accelerator Demo Day May 22 at the Aztec Theater. Register at the event link for a free ticket.

The six teams include the following startups.

  • Drones of Prey seeks to protect people and businesses against aerial terrorist attacks from commercialized drones by conducting risk assessments and creating defense strategies.
  • Ah!Count helps accounting firms streamline operations and increase client security through its affordable document management and protection system.
  • Willie & Roo offers pet lovers a customized monthly subscription plan of wellness products for their dogs and cats.
  • Tuuk assists banks and insurance providers with improved customer retention with its unique software platform.
  • Checkups provides bond agencies a mobile application and software platform for clients out on bond.
  • FloatMe’s mobile app and software platform allows employees to draw a payday advance against their paycheck to address financial emergencies.

The six-week pre-accelerator program helps startups prepare for early-stage investment or participation in accelerator programs. Each of the six teams must have a working proof-of-concept or minimally viable product, have raised less than $50,000 from angel investors, employ at least one full-time team member, have a legally formed business, and be based locally and be a Geekdom member.

The program’s second year included 18 local tech leaders and investors as mentors and Geekdom co-founder and serial entrepreneur Nick Longo acting as an adviser in residence. Twenty companies applied for the six available slots, according to program director Joyce Deuley.

“The three financial tech companies this year reflects the growth in the financial tech sector,” Deuley said. “We’re seeing fintech innovation that needs to occur in multiple business areas.”

The Alamo Angels have committed to investing up to $25,000 minimum in early-stage financing equity funding at the end of the program, according to Cat Dizon, Alamo Angels executive director.

Investors from the Alliance of Texas Angel Networks or ATAN will attend the Demo Day event at the Aztec Theatre, according to Dizon. 

“For six weeks these entrepreneurs have had access to an incredible set of resources dedicated to helping them to be center stage in front of the San Antonio startup and Texas investment community,” Dizon said.

Not all the teams are looking for investment, Deuley added. 

Over the next couple of months, Drones of Prey plans to show its prototype to investors and work on raising its first pre-seed round of capital, founder Michael Cohen said.

An image of Josh Sanchez, founder of Float Me
Josh Sanchez is founder and CEO of Float Me, a fintech startup based in San Antonio, Texas.

FloatMe founder Josh Sanchez is raising a pre-seed $300,000 investment round he started two months ago, with the Geekdom Fund leading the investment commitment. For Sanchez, Demo Day will help him showcase FloatMe’s capabilities to a broader audience.

Read more: FloatMe App Links Workers to Paycheck Sooner for Less

“The biggest benefit from our time in the program has been learning how to craft a compelling story that can resonate with everyone,” Sanchez said. “It’s not only helpful for pitching, we can also use our story for our website, content strategies, and in talking to investors one-on-one.”

Enrique Pavlioglou founder of Checkups learned the importance of financing and how to structure your company for scaling. He realized he should set up the company as an S-corporation to take future growth into account.

“Understanding how the startup world works has been invaluable,” Pavlioglou said. “I’m better prepared for what it takes to grow a startup.”

The Geekdom program is designed as a pre-accelerator to give startups the option to prepare for more intense accelerator programs, which often includes seeking investment to fuel growth.

“This program helps founders get ready,” Dizon said. “It’s their first step to learning what it takes to raise funds.

Featured image is from the 2018 Geekdom Pre-Accelerator Demo Day at the Aztec Theater. Register at the event link for a free ticket. Courtesy image.

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