Geekdom Pre-Accelerator Program Mentors Startups to Success

By Iris Gonzalez
Eddie Bankston and Amanda Bankston of MVPVibe during a pitch mentoring session from Geekdom's 2022 pre-accelerator cohort. Photo courtesy of Geekdom. 

Geekdom, a downtown San Antonio co-working community, hosts a variety of programs designed to help founders build successful startups. Six teams will showcase their progress after participating in Geekdom’s Pre-Accelerator program.

Since 2018, Geekdom has run the annual six-week program to help local startups prepare for accelerator applications or early-stage investment. As founders practice their pitches, area tech leaders and investors mentor the teams in weekly workshops. The teams learned how to refine their business model, focus their marketing, and polish their pitch decks. 

(Watch the recorded pitch videos of the 2022 pre-accelerator teams here.)

Christian Garcia founded Developmate, a software platform that maps static and streaming real estate location data for developers searching for detailed information on real estate locations. Garcia is participating in the Venture for America accelerator program and is a finalist in the Oct. 21 TechFuel pitch competition.

Read: TechFuel Pitch Competition Open to Startups Across Texas

“The interaction with all the mentors and subject matter experts has helped me sharpen my focus,” Garcia said. “They helped me understand how to communicate my startup’s value proposition more effectively.”

SAFEtech is a school safety software application for use in crises. The app streamlines accounting for all students and school staff in real-time, creates clear lines of communication for staff and first responders, and digitizes crisis event procedures to improve response times.

Educators and co-founders Liza Gomez and John Martin have “gotten so many ideas from the mentors that we’re leveraging in our beta rollout,” Martin said. The startup has a waiting list of school districts across the country eager to sign up for the SAFETech software.

Caleb Scott’s latest venture is PrintNet 3D, a distributed manufacturing software platform that automates the use of 3D printers to maximize output. Scott co-founded FloatMe in 2017 with Joshua Sanchez, who continues to run the fintech company as its CEO.

Read: Fintech FloatMe closes $16.2 M Series A funding

Husband and wife team Amanda and Eddie Bankston launched the MVP Vibe software platform as a social media app that helps connect fans interested in supporting local independent artists. As a creative, Eddie experienced the very problem most independent artists have in monetizing their art when first starting out.

“MVPVibe helps independent musical artists and poets get more exposure and gives them the ability to create a potential revenue stream through our platform’s ‘digital busking’ features, Eddie Bankston said.

Catherine Sansing and Dale Blankenship started Umami. Life as business-to-business platform for retailers to offer their customers struggling to select a wine. The comprehensive digital wine guide offers shoppers a curated digital shopping experience.

“We’ve benefitted tremendously from Geekdom’s deep mentorship and the depth and breadth of expertise represented in the program,” Blankenship said. “Getting connected to experts who could help us has been incredible. That’s how we connected with  Zelifcam, a San Antonio-based software developer,” Sansing added. 

Amy Lynn Johnson’s The Dog Guide helps dog owners connect to local dog-friendly resources via the hyperlocal network of websites across the U.S. She decided to become a Geekdom member earlier in 2022 to check out its startup programs. She said the pre-accelerator “helped me get more involved in the broader Geekdom community of mentors and founders.

“I knew it was time to take my company to the next level, and this pre-accelerator has delivered,” Johnson said.

Geekdom’s pre-accelerator cohort this year includes four female-founded companies, one Black-led startup, and a serial startup founder. Four of the six teams came from Geekdom’s incubator program

“We’re creating a developmental pipeline for early-stage startups with our programming,” Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin said. “We strive to make our programs accessible to everyone in the community interested in entrepreneurship.”

The featured image is of (from left) Eddie Bankston and Amanda Bankston of MVPVibe during a pitch mentoring session from Geekdom’s 2022 pre-accelerator cohort. Photo courtesy of Geekdom. 

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