San Antonio Tech Stars Looking for Second Class

As the second TechStars program is getting ready to launch in January, Matt Scherer, our San Antonio correspondent, sat down with Jason Seats, the program manager.

Jason Seats

 Matt Scherer:   This is the second year for the TechStars program in San Antonio.  What will be the biggest differences from the first year and this second year?

Jason Seats:  Probably the biggest difference is that I know what to expect now. I don’t plan to do anything materially different, but in myriad of small ways there will be a lot of incorporated learning from the last program that we hope will make this class even better.

Scherer:  How can companies apply to participate in the program?  And should their focus still be based on cloud-based entrepreneurial activities?

Seats:  TechStars Cloud is a thematic program, which means we are somehow filtering companies with the criteria of what we consider to be ‘Cloud.’ So what does that filter look like? Well, one short-cut would be to just tell you to look at the companies we selected in the last batch. In the past, we described our target company as one that is building the ‘plumbing of the internet’. That’s a great metaphor, but it may be a little misleading. In some sense, this program is more like TechStars Technical in that any sufficiently technology heavy company is probably going to feel like a fit.

Also, if you wish to apply, please visit techstars.com.

Scherer:  What support is given to companies who participate in the program?

Seats:  Same as always….Our companies receive $118 thousands in funding, a huge perks package include hundreds of thousands of dollars of hosting credit and other services as well as mentorship and help from word class entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and technologists.

Scherer:  Is there anything else you wish to add?

Seats:  I’d just add that I’m happy to answer any questions companies have about the program and feel free to contact me directlyjason@techstars.com. For the most consideration, apply before the early application deadline on October 14th. After that things start ramping up rather quickly and time becomes scarce.

San Antonio Tech Stars Looking for Second Class

River City Circle Hosts Tweetup May 24

The River City Circle will hold a tweetup May 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Geekdom, 112 Pecan Street. Investors in the group will celebrate the San Antonio debut of Lobo and Lobo Negro brewed by the Pedernales Brewery, based in San Antonio.
“We’re celebrating what I would term a Populist form of fund raising to begin operations,” Jim Montgomery, one of the River City Circle’s founders, said. Investors bought one to two shares valued at $10,000 each to fund the brewery, Montgomery noted.
Austin and San Antonio investors who want to know about the funding process behind the River City Circle can go to this link: http://www.ez.com/hhun.

Geekdom is growing in its reputation as a collaborative space in San Antonio, Montgomery said. Many entrepreneurs, technologists and developers are now working at the facility, located on the 11th floor of the Weston Center.

River City Circle Hosts Tweetup May 24

Shapiro to keynote Thursday at San Antonio InnoTech

This is the first of two interviews with Gary Shapiro, the president of the Consumer Electronic Show.  Shapiro is also the author of the best selling “The Comeback:  How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream.”  Matt Scherer, our San Antonio correspondent, has been in touch with Gary, who is delivering the conference keynote Thursday at InnoTech new’s locale, the Henry B. Gonzales Center.

Scherer: Technology innovation is something that President Obama is addressing during his first term in office.  If you had an unfiltered access to his executive cabinet, what advice would you give him on the topic of innovation?

Shapiro: Simple: Stop pursuing anti-business policies. Business is not the enemy. In fact, it is business – not government – that creates jobs. The administration embraces an anti-business, pro-union view of the world. From the National Labor Relations Board suing Boeing for opening a plant in South Carolina to the regulatory nightmare that is the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, Obama and his advisors have preferred policies that strangle business. The Solyndra debacle is just a symptom of a mindset that says innovation is something that only needs direct government funding. While investing in basic research is valuable, choosing winners and losers invites cronyism and hurts every other competitor. The best thing that the president and our politicians can do for innovation is simply get out of the way and let America’s innovators do what they do best.

Scherer:  If you could change our U.S. immigration policy, how would you change it?

Shapiro: I’ll borrow a phrase Gov. Mitt Romney used when he recently spoke at a CEA function. When a foreign student earns a higher degree at an American institution, Romney said, “Staple a green card to it.” And this is one area where we find bipartisan support. In his 2012 State of the Union Address, President Obama recognized that as soon as foreign students get their degrees, “we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.” So if the incumbent president and his likely challenger agree, why hasn’t anything been done? One of America’s competitive advantages is our ability to attract the best and brightest to our top-notch universities where we provide them with even more education. Yet we’re failing miserably in maintaining this advantage. Those bright people won’t wait forever, and other countries are exploiting America’s failure. Many of our most successful companies – Google, Yahoo, Intel, etc. – were started by immigrants, and we need to embrace that opportunity for American business going forward.

Scherer: What innovative processes do you see America developing in the marketplace?  How can our public and private schools address this?

Shapiro:  On the subject of education, we need to be better at teaching American students the rudimentary language of innovation: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The U.S. trails much of the rest of the developed world in producing students with a firm grasp of the STEM subjects, and it shows. The respected Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is given to 15-year-olds around the world, found that U.S. students place 23rd and 30th in math and science, respectively. At the higher education level, we also need to move beyond the notion that the best college degree for everyone is a four-year degree from a major college or university. This ignores the ways in which more focused two-year colleges are training students for the jobs of tomorrow.  In other words, we need to get beyond long-held assumptions of college education and start thinking creatively about ways to not only boost American students’ STEM knowledge but also to prepare them for the jobs of a 21st century technology economy.

Shapiro to keynote Thursday at San Antonio InnoTech

San Antonio InnoTech named six finalists for Beta Summit

Six south Texas technology-based businesses have qualified for the InnoTech Greater Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth Beta Summit set for April 5 at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center.

Local business executives evaluated a dozen applicants Friday at Geekdom’s office at the Weston Centre.

The six winners will present their products and services to a room of investors, business executives and technology managers.

Named as finalists were:

Zippy Kid, a Word Press consulting and hosting service;

CallGrader, a telephone marketing coordination service;

CommonSense, a web site landing site development firm;

BudgetDoc, a medical insurance web portal;

SnappTours, a museum interactive application development firm;

PC Junkies, a Kinnect development firm.

Note:  want a complimentary pass to see the Beta Summit and most of InnoTech?  Drop me a line at mattscherer (at) gmail (dot) com.  I’ll provide you with the link to the event.

 

San Antonio InnoTech named six finalists for Beta Summit

InnoTech San Antonio Seeking Beta Summit Apps

InnoTech San Antonio is looking for promising start ups to participate in their Fourth Beta Summit, April 5 at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center. Last year, more than 20 teams competed for six spots to pitch their businesses in front of investors from south and central Texas. Invictus, a biotech firm, won last year’s competition with a design for an aqua bonnet that helps to ensure infants’ skulls are fully developed while in a neonatal hospital unit.

Geekdom, a co-location community for tech startups, will host this year’s preliminary round, set for March 16, at its Weston Centre offices. The San Antonio Greater Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the competition and will provide the winner with a year’s membership in the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

Interested teams can find the online application — www.ez.com/2012beta.

InnoTech San Antonio Seeking Beta Summit Apps