LAST UPDATED August 24, 2020
Welcome to San Antonio’s startup community!
Here’s a list of startup resources to get you started on your journey as an entrepreneur in San Antonio. If you prefer this as a PDF file, download the guide here.
This page will be updated as San Antonio’s ecosystem evolves, so if you see something missing, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More international founders are moving to San Antonio. Are you an immigrant who has moved to San Antonio and need help starting your business in the U.S.? Here’s an immigrant’s guide to launching and funding your startup.
Looking for speakers?
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Latest Startup Events
Check out the latest startup-related San Antonio events at the SA Business Calendar. Their comprehensive calendar (started by this San Antonio startup team) lists business events in San Antonio, including startup, tech, cybersecurity, and bioscience-focused ones.
San Antonio Startup Listing
Geekdom also has an internal directory of its startup members developing their companies or operating them at the co-working space. Contact Geekdom for more information on member startups at email@example.com.
Student STEM Education and Entrepreneurship Resources
There are many student entrepreneurship programs and resources. Below are some of those organizations focused on student STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and entrepreneurship in San Antonio.
The landscape of STEM education programs and resources in San Antonio (luckily!) merits its own ecosystem map. The City of San Antonio is a STEM Learning Ecosystem Initiative city in which STEM learning stakeholders coordinate efforts to help students join the future STEM and STEAM (plus art) workforce. The group has a more comprehensive listing of STEM learning resources.
Below are some of the organizations focused on helping students become tech and science entrepreneurs:
Open to all students
- CS4TX San Antonio (grades K-12 computer science education Meetup group)
- San Antonio CyberPatriot Center of Excellence
- Ghostwire Academy (IT and cybersecurity-focused)
- Youth Code Jam
- The Social Innovation Lab is an eight-week program for students from Alamo Colleges, St. Mary’s University, Trinity University, University of Incarnate Word, and community members interested in launching a social enterprise.
- Students + Startups is open to students nationwide.
- Trinity University Stumberg Venture Competition
- Trinity University summer accelerator program
- UTSA’s CITE technology entrepreneurship boot camp
- UTSA’s CEO (collegiate entrepreneurs organization) incubator community
- UTSA Catalyst Lab
- UTSA Science and Technology Makerspace
- Hallmark Univ. Eastside Cyberforce Prime
- CAST Tech High School mentoring program
- Northside School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (NSITE) High School Mentoring Program
- Reagan H.S. Business INCubator
San Antonio’s growing list of boot camps, incubators, and accelerators is meeting the demand for specialized mentoring and resources.
Startup boot camps can be an entry into the startup community by teaching basic skills in entrepreneurship or by acting like highly compressed incubators. An incubator primarily aims to help the entrepreneur vet, validate, and refine their proposed solution. An accelerator generally takes a small percentage of equity in exchange for small amounts of capital and mentorship over the course of a coaching program ranging from three to six months.
San Antonio’s startup incubators, accelerators, and other entrepreneurial programs include those listed below (and does not include entrepreneurial programs specifically designed for students).
- The EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator Program for energy startups launched in 2018.
- UTSA New Venture Incubator is run by the University of Texas at San Antonio.
- InCube Labs biotech incubator works with promising bioscience startup companies.
- BuildSec Foundry is an incubator for cybersecurity startups based at Geekdom.
- Geekdom’s pre-accelerator program launched in April 2018, while its incubator program launched in March 2020.
- VelocityTX has several incubator and accelerator programs available, check their website for the latest information.
- The UT Health San Antonio Tech Novum accelerator is designed for researcher faculty to commercialize bioscience advances for the market.
- Scaleworks is an aggregator, investor, and accelerator for business-to-business SaaS (software-as-a-service) startups.
- The RealCo 15-month accelerator program is headquartered out of Geekdom with a second location in Colorado.
- Break Fast & Launch is the first culinary startup accelerator in the U.S.
- The TMCx medical tech innovation program offers shared workspace, a curriculum tailored to healthcare entrepreneurs, and access to over 120 specialized mentors.
- Maestro Entrepreneur Center offers a mentored accelerated program for entrepreneurs.
- LiftFund Women’s Business Center has many resources for female entrepreneurs.
- LaunchSA partners with LiftFund and the San Antonio Economic Development Department to offer programs and mentorship.
- One Million Cups provides networking and support for entrepreneurs.
- Bunker Labs offers military members, veterans, and their families entrepreneurial resources and programs.
- SCORE (San Antonio chapter) is a source of mentoring for small business owners.
- UTSA Small Business Development Center offers programs for entrepreneurs, not just their students.
- CivTechSA offers residencies for startups working to address civic challenges for the City of San Antonio.
- LiftFund Women’s Business Accelerator is designed for female-run businesses.
- Venture for America is a two-year fellowship program for recent grads who want to work at a startup and create jobs in American cities.
- Watershed Idea Foundry offers bioscience incubator and accelerator support as well as wet lab resources for biomedical entrepreneurs.
- Crown Scientific offers bioscience incubator and accelerator support as well as wet lab resources for biomedical entrepreneurs.
Industry Education and Training
- Codeup (coding and data science programs)
- San Antonio Coding Academy (coding program)
- Rackspace Cloud Academy (program based at Rackspace headquarters)
- Tech Talent South (coding and web development classes for adults and children)
- Dynamic Advancement (IT and cybersecurity-focused training)
- Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (cybersecurity and IT training program for military members)
- Red Cell (nonprofit cybersecurity/IT training, workforce development, and placement)
- Red Knight (cybersecurity training for Red Cell students)
- DC Industries (IT and cyber training for veterans)
- The District (a six-week recurring entrepreneurship program)
- Rosie Chapter (entrepreneurship programs for military spouses)
- Coder Dojo (free training offered twice monthly)
- Digital Creative Institute (specializes in digital marketing programs)
- Project Quest (cyber and coding workforce development training programs)
- root9b (a cybersecurity company that offers cyber training)
- Hallmark University Eastside Cyberforce (cybersecurity training program)
- UTSA Coding Boot Camp (24-week coding program)
San Antonio Startup Spaces
San Antonio has a variety of spaces for all types of startups that suit a founder’s needs for location, access, budget, benefits, and vibe. It’s no longer just about co-working!
Co-working spaces offer startups the opportunity to work in a shared working environment. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of co-working for now. Many smaller companies not belonging to the same organization typically share the space, offering an affordable option for those first starting a company. Many co-working spaces provide added benefits such as working alongside other members of a startup community, conference meeting spaces, mailboxes, and event space.
The rise over the past couple of years of specialized spaces for other industries means founders can now rent space in commercial kitchens, film and video studios, bioscience wet lab and manufacturing, and makerspaces across San Antonio.
Here are the startup spaces currently available in San Antonio:
- 500 SIXTH —a collaborative working environment in midtown San Antonio at 500 Sixth Street
- 10BitWorks—a makerspace on the South Side
- Alamo City Studios—film and video production studio
- Alamo Kitchens—a culinary kitchen co-working space and rentable commercial kitchen
- Co-Op Kitchen—a culinary kitchen co-working space and rentable commercial kitchen opening in late summer/fall 2020
- CoWork Factory—co-working located in New Braunfels
- Crown Scientific—offers specialized bioscience wet lab resources for biomedical entrepreneurs
- Cubes at the Quonset—casual, pet-friendly, techie co-working near the Pearl
- The Garage—a workspace for education nonprofits at the Pearl
- Geekdom—a downtown technology startup hub and co-working community
- The Impact Guild—co-working focused on social entrepreneurship and nonprofits
- Key Coworking—a co-working space near Olmos Basin
- Launch Pad— A new co-working space coming in 2020 on the Westside
- Legacy Office Centers—executive suites and virtual offices at I-10 West and Loop 410
- Legendary Business Center—co-working space in northwest San Antonio
- LiftOff—small co-working spaces supported by the microlender LiftFund to help small businesses get started
- Maestro Entrepreneur Center—offers office space, a professional kitchen, industrial, and warehouse space for entrepreneurs
- Moade Center—coworking and office suites near the airport and in Fair Oaks
- Office Box—co-working located in Boerne
Paradox—co-working located near the San Antonio airport
Parish—an artists’ community on the near Westside
- Regus—class-A executive suites and meeting spaces at multiple locations around town
- San Antonio Area Foundation—meeting and event space for nonprofits
- San Antonio Technology Center—office spaces for companies, startups, and nonprofits in the Medical Center area
- Space on the Fly—access workspace by the hour, day, week, or month, located near the airport
- Venture X—entrepreneur and professional offices in the Stone Oak area
- VenturePoint—flexible offices in four locations across San Antonio
- Watershed Idea Foundry— offers specialized bioscience wet lab resources for biomedical entrepreneurs
- Werkplaats—executive suites at the Dominion
- WeWork—has not yet opened its downtown location in San Antonio as of 2020
San Antonio is experiencing growth in its startup networking groups with a STEM focus. Many meetups with sizable membership (500+) are listed below.
- Startup Grind San Antonio
- San Antonio Technology Center
- San Antonio New Tech Meetup
- Growing with Artificial Intelligence Meetup
- Lisk Blockchain Meetup
- Bitcoin Trading Meetup
- Cyber Def Dojo (cybersecurity) Meetup
- San Antonio Women Developers
- Alamo City Python Meetup
- Data Science Meetup
- Tech Talent South Meetup
- Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Meetup
- UI-UX Meetup
- Learn to Code Meetup
- Web Technology Meetup
- Alamo Inventors Meetup
- Greater Gaming Society
- International Game Developers Association
Supporters and Advocates
- Tech Bloc is a technology industry advocacy organization in San Antonio.
- CyberSecurity San Antonio (San Antonio Chamber of Commerce) serves as the hub for all things cyber in the San Antonio region, including military and government affairs; talent, education and workforce development; global engagement; sustainability; and innovation and economic development.
- Cyber Texas Foundation supports cybersecurity professionals and hosts an annual conference in San Antonio.
- BioMed SA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the growth of the healthcare and bioscience industry by providing resources to the industry in San Antonio, convening collaboration and action groups, and raising the industry’s visibility nationally and beyond.
- The Health Cell was formed by and for San Antonio’s biotechnology, medical, military and academic leadership to promote professional development and collaboration across the City’s health sector.
- The City of San Antonio Small Business Office leads the City’s efforts to grow and develop small businesses.
- San Antonio Economic Development Department (SAEDD) works on behalf of the City of San Antonio on business infrastructure needs, incentives and quality workforce training programs.
- San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF) is a private, nonprofit organization to drive San Antonio’s economic growth by recruiting new business to San Antonio and helping local companies stay and grow.
- Bexar County Small Business & Entrepreneurship Department oversees the Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (SMWVBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs.
- Bexar County Innovation Fund is used to accelerate the growth of our digital information technology sector by funding recruitment, expansion, talent development competitions, professional and technical training, and brand building initiatives.
- CANopener Labs provides prototyping services for inventors and entrepreneurs.
- Enventure San Antonio is a nonprofit organization designed to help biomedical professionals discover and connect to entrepreneurial career options.
Eventually, every founder will need a lawyer who understands the unique requirements for startups. Startup legal services in San Antonio include:
- Tech lawyer David Jones works with many startups (tech startups, as well as tech legal issues): David Jones PLLC
- San Antonio lawyer Jose Padilla specializes in startups from formation to funding to acquisition or IPO: Padilla Law PLLC
- Patents lawyer Samar Shah (specializing in STEM startups): Shah IP Law PLLC
- San Antonio lawyer Van Lindberg (intellectual property matters and the intersection of technology and law): Van Lindberg at Dykema Cox Smith
- San Antonio lawyer Stephanie Chandler (works with companies in early stages through significant liquidity events, technology licensing, commercialization): Stephanie Chandler at Jackson Walker
- Langley & Banack has a group of cybersecurity, data protection, and privacy attorneys who specialize in helping clients minimizing a company’s risks from a data breach.
Confused by what all the funding terms like “pre-seed,” “Series A,” and “Series C” mean?? Check out this useful primer: Series A, B, C Funding: How It Works, Definitions, Averages
There are over 50 San Antonio-based investors listed in the Alamo Angel’s investor directory. Other venture funds, investors, and possible sources of funding such as loans in San Antonio are listed below.
- Alamo Angels
- Beam Angel Network
- Geekdom Fund
- Geekdom Community Fund
- HOLT Ventures
- Fraser-McCombs Capital
- Targeted Technology Funds
- Scaleworks Venture Finance Fund
- Tectonic Ventures
- Fountainhead Investors
- InCube Ventures
- San Antonio Economic Development Center
- San Antonio Economic Development Foundation
- San Antonio Economic Development Department
- Bexar County Economic Development
- Bexar County Innovation Fund
- Live Oak Ventures Texas early-stage venture capital fund
- Central Texas Angel Network
- Active Capital is based in Texas, but will invest in founders across the U.S.
- Dura Software buys and operates software companies for the long-term.
- Texas Intrepid Ventures invests in promising military medicine startups.
- See also Silicon Hills Lawyer’s website listing of investors interested in Texas startups.
- Pacific Northwest-based Rogue Venture Partners has partner Adam Stoll based in San Antonio who is willing to talk to local startups about financing paths.
Other funding sources include loans for small businesses. Be sure to read Margot Slossom’s guest post on the pros and cons of startup financing sources and Jarod Angehr’s guest post on SAFE notes and revenue sharing.
More Startup Resources: Podcasts, Checklists, and Books
STEM- and startup-centric podcasts are emerging in San Antonio. Here are some podcasts and radio shows to get you started.
- EnventureSA interviews scientists who are driving biomedical innovation in San Antonio.
- Obey Your Strengths podcast from Geekdom Media focuses on how to leverage your StrengthsFinder results.
- The SA Tech Radio show features interviews with local tech founders and leaders.
- The B Libre podcast is focused on Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
- The Wild West Crypto Show is all about cryptocurrency.
- TXBiobytes science podcast from Texas Biomed shares the latest from the research institution.
- The South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases’ science podcast Microtalk covers infectious disease.
- Red Wing’s Oil and Gas HSE Podcast covers operations and health, safety and environmental — or HSE — issues in the oil and gas industry.
- devmap is a podcast for junior developers.
- Check out the past episodes from Jungle Disk‘s CEO Bret Piatt interviews of local experts and founders about cybersecurity on Cyber Talk Radio.
- Check out the past episodes from The Brand Brothers podcast from Geekdom Media shares branding and marketing expertise.
More guides for startups
- For founders needing to learn how to approach investors, here’s a due diligence checklist from the Central Texas Angel Network website.
- Don’t forget to read books at every stage of your startup. This reading list offers great choices from your first harried days onward.
- Need to develop your pitch deck? Pitch Deck Workshop April 8, 2020 by Iris Gonzalez How to Create Your 1st Pitch Deck
- Need help with remote onboarding? Use our checklist: Remote onboarding webinar for Geekdom May 15, 2020 by Iris Gonzalez
Photo of downtown San Antonio taken by Jon Ryan Garcia.