Geekdom announced Tuesday the launch of a new accelerator program for cybersecurity startups that will debut in 2022. The downtown San Antonio coworking community has partnered with gener8tor, a nationally ranked Wisconsin-based accelerator that invests in high-growth startups, to oversee the new startup program.
The gener8tor platform offers more than 40 different programs such as accelerators, corporate programs, speaker series, conferences, upskilling, and fellowships. They operate in 29 U.S. cities, 16 states, and three countries.
Troy Vosseller, co-founder and managing director of gener8tor, said the San Antonio program would be open to startups across the U.S.
“Talent is growing in cybersecurity and it’s growing in downtown San Antonio,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “A cybersecurity-focused accelerator located in our downtown core will help our ecosystem build on its strengths, creating further opportunities for local cybersecurity startups while also bringing in new startups, new talent, and new growth possibilities with each cohort.”
Gener8tor is a venture capital fund and startup accelerator operating since 2012. They typically launch accelerators and other programs in second-tier cities like San Antonio. Vosseller said the program takes a “concierge approach” by limiting the number of companies in each cohort to five teams for a more hands-on experience.
Each cohort in the new cybersecurity accelerator will have five companies participating in a 12-week program. Upon completion, the teams will experience what gene8ator calls an “investor swarm,” pitching to over 80 investors.
Each company will also receive an investment of $100,000 from gene8ator in exchange for 6% equity, Woodin confirmed.
Gener8tor’s accelerator alumni typically go on to grow their companies, with 54% raising more than $1 million in follow-on financing or exiting the company via an acquisition, while 69% have raised more than $250,000 in follow-on financing or were acquired, Vosseller said.
“This is our first accelerator in Texas and our first cybersecurity accelerator in the
nation,” Vosseller said. “We applaud our San Antonio partners for wanting to amplify their already dominant cybersecurity sector in this thriving tech environment. The companies we select will live and work here, and when their program ends, our goal is to encourage them to stay here where they can continue to grow in the Alamo City.”
Startups interested in applying or wanting to meet with the gener8tor Cybersecurity Accelerator team can read more here.
Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin said Geekdom began its efforts to bring in an accelerator program earlier this summer. Woodin first connected to gene8ator on the Global Accelerator Network, an online community of the top 100 accelerator programs.
Before deciding on launching a cybersecurity accelerator, Woodin first discussed Geekdom’s plans with local stakeholders, who emphasized the need for a cybersecurity accelerator. Build Sec Foundry, a cybersecurity incubator and accelerator, has been dormant since its 2020 move from Geekdom to Port San Antonio.
“Stakeholders told me verticals matter when it comes to leveraging our strengths,” Woodin said. “Our role is to create a launching pad for aspiring cybersecurity founders to accelerate their companies.”
San Antonio is home to the largest pool of certified cybersecurity experts outside of the nation’s capital region, the U.S. Air Force Cyber headquarters, NSA Texas, a massive private sector presence, and a growing number of cyber startups.
Plans include hiring a managing director of the program and two support staff to open the program by July 2022. After the inaugural year, the goal is to have two cohorts each year, Woodin said.
Woodin has raised over $2 million to date from local investors and stakeholders to support salaries and startup costs for the cybersecurity accelerator to work with five cohorts over the next three years.
“Over the longer term, if we build and showcase this program, we should attract companies from across the U.S. who are ready for this stage of acceleration. It’s all about solidifying the program and building the momentum for more founders to join our ecosystem,” Woodin said.
The featured image is of Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin, speaking from the Geekdom Event Centre. Photo credit: Startups San Antonio.