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Company Spotlight – Grok Interactive

To build an ecosystem, you need more than just successful companies. You need companies driven by a purpose and doing more than just chasing a buck. A real ecosystem needs companies that contribute, not just consume resources. This week, we want to showcase Grok Interactive, a company whose mission is creating software that matters. Grok is the epitome of a #GeekdomBuilt company led by long time Geekdom members, Jason Straughan CEO and Jason Ellis CTO. The Jasons joined Geekdom about four years ago after they left high paying jobs that had little impact on what they truly cared about. Both Jasons wanted help as many companies as they could while working as consultants, helping a company build an app or two then moving on to the next project.

And that’s what they did. However, the Geekdom community brought Grok Interactive more projects than two people could do, so Straughan and Ellis decided to expand. Before they knew it, they hired someone from the Geekdom community, then another and soon Grok Interactive became the go-to development house in the Geekdom ecosystem. That’s when they encountered a very interesting fork in the road; they could either focus on working with clients that would pad their bank accounts or pick customers who were also mission driven. When the Grok team sat down to evaluate the problem, they looked at their history and saw the answer in the past. Since day one, project after project they completed was for companies who desperately needed a developer to help spread their message and help build San Antonio.

While Grok is not located in Geekdom proper anymore (they’ve outgrown the space!), they are still as vital to this community as anyone. Whether they’re providing mentorship to our members, sponsoring events that support new developers or just taking the time to visit Geekdom during Fermented Friday, Grok is sure to never lose touch with the community that helped build them. No other company is better at contributing to the ecosystem than Grok, and we thank them for being a trailblazer in so many ways.

If you are looking for a company to help you build a web app, a mobile app, a WordPress site or even just someone to talk shop, you can find Grok Interactive in the 3rd floor of the Vogue building with Codeup and TurnerLogic.

First American Fermented Friday

Come by and meet and great our friend from First American Commercial Property Group! They are awesome enough to bring some brews and snacks!

Come by and say hello!

Alan Weinkrantz Memorial Bash Announced

As some of you may know, over the weekend we lost a staple in the community, a long-time member, and a close friend to many. Alan Weinkrantz was killed while dining at one of his favorite restaurants in Tel Aviv when a driver lost control after having a heart attack and crashed into the cafe. Three people were killed and six injured.

If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Alan, you undoubtedly understood why he was as well-known and respected in our community as he was. Not only did he offer to help you in any way he could, but his passion for San Antonio, its tech scene, and entrepreneurship was infectious and palpable. As one of the very first Geekdom members, Alan travelled the world spreading the word of his favorite co-working space. It was no surprise when his son Aaron told us that he was accustomed to seeing his dad wear Geekdom shirts at least 5 times a week.

The constant story I’ve heard since his passing really tells you so much about the kind of person Alan was. During his time as a Geekdom office member he would travel often, but he didn’t want his office to go unused by our community. We’ve all heard the phrase, “My door is always open”. Well, he meant it. He let it be known that anytime he wasn’t around, his office was yours. He wanted a place for us to have meetings with our clients, take phone calls, and for one member, a place to sleep while he got back on his feet. To honor him, we are dedicating the one conference room that has a downtown view to our friend. Come Friday, Donkey Kong Conference Room on the 7th floor will now be known as The Weinkrantz Conference Room.  We invite you to swing by anytime Friday and leave a message on the whiteboard wall.

We are all heartbroken, but we knew Alan, and he’d want us to be happy, to celebrate, to sing, to dance. So that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re going to see our great friend off with the tunes of his favorite band, The Beatles. So please join us on Monday June 27th at the Paper Tiger for the Alan Weinkrantz Memorial Bash. There will be tears but they’ll be combined with smiles. There will be hugs, but only as we embrace and sing our favorite Beatles songs.

All proceeds will go directly to help pay for his funeral expenses and help his kids Aaron and Lauren in this time of need. We can’t wait to hear how Alan made you smile, how he befriended you, how he helped connect you in this amazing community we have. If you cannot make it and would like contribute, please consider donating by clicking here.

Introducing Mentor Madness!

Beta launch of Geekdom Mentorship starts on Today

Today is the very first Mentor Madness! What’s that? Basically, it’s a week where we try to get as many mentors as possible here at Geekdom to answer your most pressing questions and give advice. This will be a regular monthly event occurring on the first business week of the month. You can book mentors using this link. This is our first attempt at Mentor Madness so we appreciate you all for being our guinea pigs and would love any feedback you have about the process. 

                                                           Mentorsfor june

Meet the Mentors 

Who are the amazing mentors who have agreed to dispense wisdom and test out the new process? Michael Girdley (serial entrepreneur & founder of Codeup), Dax Moreno (sales guru), Matt Egan (SEO/web dev), Lorenzo Gomez (storytelling/microscripts), Luke Owen (operations/startups), and Trey Holder (production/distribution). Nick Longo will also be around all week (awesome!) and sent his calendar out in an earlier email. 

We are beyond excited to bring such a crazy week to our community. This is a total beta, so please let us know what you think and how we can make this better.

 

Startup Next Spotlight – CodersLink

With only two weeks to go before Startup Next Demo Day, we take a look at our last #GeekdomBuilt company. This company’s story is even more interesting than the last, since the founder once wore the geekstaff crown. Today, we’re talking about CodersLink.

Meet Tito Salas, CEO and founder of CodersLink. Like all great companies, Tito came up with his idea after recognizing a need. When Tito graduated from UTSA and looked for a  job, he saw many job opportunities for developers but not enough talent to fill them. Being a Mexican national, he knew that Mexico had tons of developers who could fill the roles and were also looking to achieve the American Dream. The problem: he had no idea how to bring the companies and talent together. At that time, Tito took a job here at Geekdom as a membership manager with the intention of bringing those developers to the San Antonio tech ecosystem.

Already familiar with starting lean and the process of testing out an idea, Tito developed his MVP.  Tito found five companies looking to hire developers and brought in five Mexican developers to interview for the positions. At the end of the day, one of the companies wanted to hire one of the candidates! That’s when the hard part started. Tito had made the match, but how did he get the developer setup in the US?  He then dug in and learned everything he could find about about visas and importing talent. After talking with lawyers and consultants, and more importantly, going through the entire visa process, Tito was able to bring that developer over and fill the company’s position. That day, CodersLink was born.
Tito took the money he made from that referral and immediately put in into starting his business. While CodersLink’s mission is to bring talent across the border, Tito’s personal goal is to show how easy it is to bring talent to companies that need it. While at Startup Next, he’s extremely interested in meeting with mentors, developing his pitch, and talking with companies about their concerns with hiring international talent. You can find Tito roaming the floors at Geekdom when he isn’t enjoying a torta in his favorite Mexican taqueria. Be sure to RSVP to watch his pitch on June 2nd in the Event Centre.

Expert to Help Startup Next Spotlight

We’re at the halfway mark of Startup Next and the teams have already learned a great deal of  information! This week we take a glance at Expert to Help, Jaakko Piipponen’s second go at entrepreneurship. Before starting this company, he ran Remote Garage, a startup dedicated to providing storage options for those who didn’t have it. He, unfortunately, was unsuccessful in his initial venture, but in conversations with fellow entrepreneurs and mentors, he quickly realized how important it was for companies to have financial plans and know how much runway their business’ had. Long story short — he learned from his failures.

 

Enter Expert to Help! — a company that builds financial models to illuminate important financial metrics for mid-size to large startups that need it the most. The team inputs data via the A.P.I’s of their existing services into a beautiful dashboard designed to bring day-to-day financial forecasts. While there are a few companies in this space, few manage to deliver dynamic content and even less are focused on startups. What really separates them is the perfect combination of customization and expert guidance. Customers can change just about everything in their dashboard to give them the most accurate runway for their business, but also have an expert — at a click of a mouse — ready to walk them through the process.
They’ve already learned so much from the mentors of Startup Next. Combine that with the avenue to collaborate with fellow entrepreneurs, and that gives this team the perfect opportunity to really take their business to a new level — which will in-part help the startups in our ecosystem grow. You can find Jaakko bouncing all over Geekdom, be sure to catch their pitch on June 2nd in the Event Centre.

 

Startup Next Spotlight: Evermarket

It’s Week Two of Startup Next — which means it’s time to spotlight another company, and once again, it’s a #GeekdomBuilt company. Say Howdy to Evermarket! Evermarket is made up of another power trio, Tom Kaufeldt (CEO), Kevin La Rue (CMO) and Donovan Becker who runs Product Development. Evermarket is looking to become the go-to Military Community Marketplace, and will soon be launching a robust online marketplace based on the principles of trust and transparency to serve the needs of the U.S. Military community.

 

Tim shared that at first they just wanted to be a safe alternative to craigslist.org. After doing countless hours of market research, they found that the demographic that they were trying to target did, in fact, exist — they were just guarded off in Military bases. Having been a Military brat himself, Tim remembered how much of a pain it was to move from one base to another. He found himself constantly buying and selling many of the same items due to the inherently constricted nature of moving. However, when the Evermarket platform launches, Military families will now have a marketplace filled with verified servicemen and women (both current and past) ready to help each other buy and sell relevant goods.

Once you have success, you have to find a way to give it back.” -Tim Kaufeldt

What’s different about EverMarket is that they are not in this for the money — they want to help those members of the Military Community that continue to protect this country. Tim and the gang will be donating up to 50% of all revenue back into charitable causes identified by the Military Community they serve, and even more importantly, will use the EverMarket platform to provide entrepreneurial opportunities to Military spouses.  In other words, you will not see them rolling in Ferraris two years from now — they all circled the wagon and agreed that they had a bigger purpose here than anything money can buy. “Once you have success, you have to find a way to give it back.” -Tim Kaufeldt
You can find Evermarket on the 8th floor pretty much anytime the sun is up (and possibly even when the sun has set!). During Startup Next, they are looking forward to perfecting their pitch, bouncing ideas off of their mentors and hammering out their business plan.

Meet the Startup Next companies.

Today, we are excited to introduce the first cohort of startups to participate in San Antonio Startup Next! Startup Next is a Techstars pre-accelerator program that prepares startups that are seeking seed funding or acceptance into top tier accelerators like Techstars, Y-Combinator and 500 Startups. The six-week program will consist of weekly talks, pitch practice and intensive mentorship. The program is part of the Techstars family and currently operates out of only 28 cities worldwide. This is the first time Techstars is producing the program in San Antonio, and we will be based at Geekdom. For more information on Startup Next, please visit startupnext.co.

For the inaugural cohort, we had over 30 startups apply and accepted seven to participate in the program. They begin tonight with a talk on startup communications and funding types from Blake Yeager, Techstars Managing Director. 

Who are the companies? Seven totally different, absolutely talented startups with really cool ideas.

  • Cloud Therapy (cloudtherapy.co)
    • Cloud Therapy is a cognitive engine that analyzes health data and provides AI interaction to help end answer questions regarding that information.
  • Coder’s Link (coderslink.com)
    • Coder’s Link connects great Mexican tech talent to great companies in the US.
  • Evermarket (evermarket.com)
    • Evermarket is the verified Military Community Marketplace, providing a trusted peer-2-peer market, exclusive deals and installation resources for our Military members and their families.
  • Expert to Help (experttohelp.com)
    • Expert to Help connects growth companies to finance talent and builds them business intelligence dashboards.
  • Flipmass (flipmass.com)
    • Flipmass is the social marketplace for influencers, by influencers.
  • Rising Barn (risingbarn.com)
    • Rising Barn unlocks real estate value using digital technology and design to simplify the development and construction process, from concept to move-in.
  • Teach Tag (teachtag.com)
    • Teach Tag helps teachers supplement their lesson plans by providing them tools to discover, share, and organize teaching ideas and materials.

Keep on the lookout for future spotlights on each of these Startup Next companies as they go through the program. Be sure to mark June 2nd on your calendar for the upcoming Startup Next demo day at 6pm! It will be held in the Geekdom Event Centre, and there will be snacks.



Build it at Geekdom.