Tag: pandemic

How EPIcenter, Geekdom, and Venture for America Startup Programs Adapted to the Pandemic
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How EPIcenter, Geekdom, and Venture for America Startup Programs Adapted to the Pandemic

Launching a startup is exciting but risky to pursue, even in the best of times. Throw in a pandemic that's still impacting how we connect, collaborate, and innovate, and you've got plenty of challenges to navigate, especially for those stakeholders helping founders build and scale their young companies. We spoke with EPIcenter, Geekdom, and Venture for America San Antonio (VFA), three startup programs in San Antonio, Texas, to learn how they're adapting their entrepreneurship programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. EPIcenter The energy innovation nonprofit organization supports founders developing groundbreaking commercially viable technologies and energy infrastructure services. Chief of the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator (EEIA) Andi Littlejohn said that since its launch i...
What’s Changed in Co-Working Spaces? How San Antonio is Adapting to the Pandemic
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What’s Changed in Co-Working Spaces? How San Antonio is Adapting to the Pandemic

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic changed how we use co-working spaces. At first, we stayed home and worked in our sweatpants. But as the months wore on, the desire for a quiet, uncrowded workspace is driving the transformation of co-working spaces. One-way hallways, fewer desks in common areas, measures to limit how many can access spaces, and clear plastic screens to guard against airborne viruses are becoming office standards as more are seeking out co-working spaces again, say experts who predict trends in co-working. It's no longer about the growing number of new co-working places but rather, the quality of these spaces as they evolve to meet public health demands. In San Antonio, we lost several co-working spaces in 2020, including Annex Co-Working, The Garage, the Boerne-based Co...
JustAir Launches Portable Powered Face Mask To Protect Against COVID-19
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JustAir Launches Portable Powered Face Mask To Protect Against COVID-19

Thanks to an entrepreneurial doctor, a recently relocated startup has brought to the market a new kind of face mask that protects wearers from airborne pathogens like COVID-19. JustAir, Inc. has launched its patented advanced face mask system that uses a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) in a more portable version of what's used in medical or industrial grade systems. The mask protects both the wearer and surrounding people, filtering the user's inhaled and exhaled air. The face mask is made of electrostatic felt and two fabric layers and can be adjusted to fit your face. A small rechargeable, battery-powered blower supplies fresh, cool air to the mask. The positive pressure airflow technology pushes air through a medical-grade HEPA filter that traps 99.97 percent of viruses, a...
WellAware Launches a Smart Indoor Air Purification Service For Businesses
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WellAware Launches a Smart Indoor Air Purification Service For Businesses

A San Antonio tech startup focused over the last eight years on industrial remote monitoring of devices at oilfields is now working with local businesses to help protect staff and customers from COVID-19. WellAware launched its hardware and software solutions in 2012 to help oil and gas companies remotely monitor drilling equipment, well production, and pipeline operations. Since the pandemic impacted the oil and gas industry, CEO and co-founder Matt Harrison has been busy expanding WellAware's customer base. Harrison said his goal is to help connect "people to the things that matter" in manufacturing, logistics, and now, local San Antonio businesses. The tech startup launched an initiative earlier this month called Breathe Puro San Antonio. It is focused on helping restaurants a...
Smart Water-Bottle Lid Company Sapphire Wins Stumberg Competition $25,000 Prize at Trinity University
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Smart Water-Bottle Lid Company Sapphire Wins Stumberg Competition $25,000 Prize at Trinity University

Trinity University student entrepreneur team Sapphire won the $25,000 grand prize in equity-free funding in the final virtual round of the Louis H. Stumberg Venture Competition Thursday evening. Sophomores Tara Lujan and alumnus Zachary Taylor developed the first-to-market smart lid that tracks water consumption and replaces the standard lid found on most water bottles. Thoughtfull, a company offering a line of healthy snacks, came in the runner-up position. Sophomores Cannon Wilson and Amy Platter will receive $5,000 in funding. The six finalist teams have wide-ranging businesses: Sapphire was co-founded by sophomore Tara Lujan and Zachary Taylor who graduated in May. Sapphire is a smart replacement lid that fits most bottle brands. The lid automatically records fluid intake to...
Look at Terms When Raising Money During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Look at Terms When Raising Money During the COVID-19 Pandemic

For entrepreneurs raising money during the COVID-19 pandemic, lessons learned from previous recessions can provide guideposts on what to do now. As a venture capital (VC) lawyer since 2000, I see similarities from the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the collapse of the Dot.com bubble in 2002, and the 2008 recession after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The previous financial crises occurred after a singular catastrophic event that temporarily halted most economic activity.  At the time, no one knew how society would change after 9/11 or how the banking industry would change after the fall of Lehman Brothers. Investors naturally reacted to this uncertainty by slowing down their activity. In the aftermath of the Dot.com bubble crash, VC financings in the U.S. d...
What’s Happening in Venture Capital? Local Investors Weigh In
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What’s Happening in Venture Capital? Local Investors Weigh In

Startup founders know the COVID-19 pandemic has changed investor funding for the foreseeable future. Beyond the obvious shift to virtual pitching and team meetings, what else is going on in the world of venture capital (VC)? We spoke with three San Antonio investors who are tracking what’s changing during the global pandemic, and more importantly, looking ahead at the investing landscape over the next year or so. Level playing field, opportunities abound for innovative companies In April, Active Capital founder and CEO Pat Matthews said his venture firm had invested in eight portfolio companies and three new ones. “We also closed two Series As, two sidecars, and one M&A [mergers and acquisitions] transaction. I wouldn’t say it’s been business as usual, but it’s been busy,” ...
Tips for Remote Onboarding During a Pandemic
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Tips for Remote Onboarding During a Pandemic

Whether you're bringing on summer interns or adding new employees, the need for physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic dictates a transition to remote onboarding. We reached out to businesses across San Antonio to gather best practices for onboarding interns and new hires without face-to-face contact. A focus on formalizing fundamental practices, leveraging productivity-boosting technological tools, and integrating training into onboarding are just some of the tips San Antonio startups offered. Define and document your onboarding practices Companies may have informal processes for bringing interns and new hires up to speed during their first days on the job. With everyone working from home, the time to document the details of your organization's onboarding experience is ...
UTSA-Led Collaborative Team Wins Grant to Develop a COVID-19 Vaccine
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UTSA-Led Collaborative Team Wins Grant to Develop a COVID-19 Vaccine

A consortium of scientists from San Antonio's four largest research institutions won a $200,000 grant to fund COVID-19 vaccine development. Dr. Karl Klose, director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases and professor of microbiology at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), leads the team. The presidents of UTSA, UT Health San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) formed a new nonprofit in October 2019 called the San Antonio Partnership for Precision Therapeutics or SAPPT. The partnership funds researchers from the four institutions who work together on the interdisciplinary development of breakthrough therapies customized for patients. Soon after the City of San Antonio announced pandemic res...
Trinity University Adapts to the COVID-19 Pandemic with Virtual Stumberg Competition
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Trinity University Adapts to the COVID-19 Pandemic with Virtual Stumberg Competition

Instead of pitching to the usually packed audience of students, entrepreneurs, and judges, 10 Trinity University student entrepreneur teams presented their business ideas to judges via a Zoom video call Thursday evening in the annual Louis H. Stumberg Venture Competition. Of the 10 competitors, six Trinity University student entrepreneur teams each won $5,000 in seed funding. Since its launch in the spring of 2015, this two-part university-wide competition typically features 10 venture teams pitching their business concepts before a panel of judges with entrepreneurial expertise. The six winning teams have wide-ranging businesses: Chiropack was founded by sophomore Neha Kapur who is majoring in business analytics and technology. Her idea is to reengineer the daily-wear backpack ...