Tag: pandemic

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 ...
How Can Your Startup or Small Business Survive a Pandemic? Know What to Expect
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How Can Your Startup or Small Business Survive a Pandemic? Know What to Expect

Life is changing rapidly for everyone. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 infectious outbreak as a pandemic, the first pandemic in modern times caused by the emergence of a new or novel coronavirus. There is so much information coming at us daily. Yet, founders and small business owners are struggling to decipher what it all means for business operations. Let's walk through what we know and what we can reasonably expect, given the best available information from trusted sources. Then we can offer some recommendations to help you adapt your business operations during a pandemic. First, stay informed COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus that emerged in China in December 2019. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC...
During a Pandemic You’ll Need to Adapt Your Digital Marketing
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During a Pandemic You’ll Need to Adapt Your Digital Marketing

Marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic can definitely feel a little weird. I'm sure you've seen the social media posts that are not working. We're still seeing ones promoting events or telling customers COME SEE US (Hello? Social-distancing anyone?). The posts yelling at you to buy their product hardly acknowledge these times we're enduring. Even though we're in the middle of a pandemic, it is absolutely a great time to ramp up your social media marketing strategy, and it can work in your favor, especially as a small business or startup. Does that sound odd? Hear me out first. You need to stay informed. Stay true to facts. You probably don't want to get too political on your business page. Be sure you're sensitive to what's going on. Everybody is dealing with this. When you continue t...
Marketing Strategies to Use During a Pandemic
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Marketing Strategies to Use During a Pandemic

Conferences and trade shows have been canceled. In-person client meetings are out of the question. Even our own offices are off-limits as employees shift to working from home at the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO).  These are all critical steps needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 in its tracks. However, working from home introduces new challenges for growth leaders and owners trying to keep a business afloat, specifically: How do we build relationships with new customers online, without the events and meetings we rely on? How do we make sure our current customers continue to find us relevant when they are looking to trim costs? What tools should we be using to stay competitive in our markers? Here are three marketing strategies you can use to gr...