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San Antonio Startup Week Gears Up for Third Annual Event

This October, San Antonio Startup Week hosts their third annual event sponsored by 80/20 Foundation, Geekdom, USAA, and Trinity University. Startup Week is a free five-day celebration of all things entrepreneurship, open to the public and completely led by volunteers. By working hand-in-hand with startup advocates like Geekdom and the 80/20 Foundation, this event is able to lead businesses and entrepreneurs to new opportunities and ultimately celebrate the business community.

 

The event is organized and planned by a number of leaders in the San Antonio Community including Alexandra Frey of the 80/20 Foundation, Ashley Jones of Tech Bloc, Anna Gutierrez of Geekdom, David Ramirez of Scaleworks, Matthew Espinoza of the San Antonio Business Calendar and Carmen Aramanda of Trinity University.

 

This year Alexandra Frey, Executive Director at the 80/20 Foundation, announces to have influential speakers such as Amy Nelson, CEO of Venture for America, to lead attendees and ultimately encourage them into more growth. Frey also plans to keep all workshops and speaker events entirely downtown on Houston Street to make the event walkable.

 

“We’re more than excited for the outcome of this years Startup Week and the impact it will make on attendees,” said Frey. “The speakers and workshops will provide diversified educational opportunities and unique panels to enhance the entrepreneurial community existing in San Antonio.”

 

Startup Week attendee’s can expect over 75 events ranging from startup to small business, covering an array of educational panels, hands-on workshops and city-building events throughout the San Antonio Tech District.  San Antonio Startup Week takes place October 22-26, 2018.

 

To register for the event or sponsorship opportunities please visit the sanantonio.startupweek.co or email sanantonio@startupweek.co.

ABOUT STARTUP WEEK

San Antonio Startup Week is a five-day celebration of all things entrepreneurship in our city. Organized entirely by volunteers, the mission of SA Startup Week is to bring the community together through educational panels, actionable workshops and city-building events. For more information on event details and newly added events, visit sanantonio.startupweek.co.

 

To learn more about 80/20 Foundation, visit www.8020foundation.com

 

To learn more about Trinity’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, visit www.trinity.edu.

The Benefits of Co-Working: Community Spotlight

Here at Geekdom, we’re big fans of co-working. Bringing together remote workers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers allow for members of our community to exchange ideas across disciplines. The unique configuration of co-working allows coders to work next to project managers and across from future CEOs. This mishmash of people creates the perfect environment to learn something new. In short: co-working encourages innovation. While we can go on and on about the social and psychological theories behind the benefits of co-working, we thought it was better to let the people who use our space every day tell you themselves.

We asked community members to share in their own words the benefits of co-working:

The green coworker:

To learn more about what it’s like working out in the community space, we sat down with Anna Morton of Morton Gestalt. Anna joined the Geekdom community after going through Codeup’s coding Bootcamp. An engineer by training, Anna works as the Principal of Morton Gestalt designing electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems for buildings. Their mission is to “contribute to the sustainability of the built environment through quality design and performance verification.” In addition to designing the systems integral to a building’s functionality, Anna’s training in coding allows Morton Gestalt to provide custom software solutions. She is currently working on a smart platform that compares the energy models of building designs to real-world usage data.

For Anna, one of the benefits of co-working out of Geekdom is that she is able to connect with other entrepreneurs and people plugged into the San Antonio tech ecosystem, finding friends and business contacts in the process.

The one downfall? She laughs, “packing in and packing out!” The flexibility of co-working also means our members carry their desks on their backs. “It forces you to keep a pretty lean operation.”

A shining startup:

Braustin Mobile Homes is one of our success stories. Alberto Piña, co-founder and President, reiterated that the Braustin story is a Geekdom story. Born out of our community on the 8th floor in January 2017, Braustin uses technology to make the dream of home-ownership obtainable for everyone.  This virtual manufactured home dealership tackles one of the biggest problems facing San Antonio today: affordable housing. Piña says that “Affordable housing is a conversation this city and others should’ve had like yesterday… Here at Braustin, we’re using tech to find a way to start the affordable housing conversation right now.” A benefit of co-working was that it allowed Braustin to grow quickly and sustainably. Our diverse talent pool allowed Braustin to access the resources they needed to build their team and their business.

Piña said it best himself: “We didn’t think our company would look like this when we got here. Meeting the people at Geekdom helped bring it [Braustin] to life.”

Getting Innov8-ive:

Another set of CodeUp alums, Stefanie Young and Lorne Barfield, wanted to use their coding skills to enhance the tech scene here in San Antonio and give back to their community. Innov8 Place leverages the best tools available to the WordPress community for website and small business solutions. They agreed that Geekdom attracts a certain kind of person. “[Members are] Community-driven, tech-driven” Young states. Barfield agrees, with a slight nod. “Yeah, they’re all in the same place as we are. The need to network and the need for resources tend to be prevalent here” Members share lessons they’ve learned with each other: “There’s a kind of give and take” with members.

The culture of giving back stands out as a major benefit of co-working. Stefanie began as a mentee and is now giving advice as part of the Mentorship Program— which Lorne aims to join shortly. When they first arrived, Innov8 needed to capitalize on connections to get their feet under them but now they are connecting startups with each other. When asked why they give back, Stefanie shrugs and says “We wouldn’t be where we are without co-working, without Geekdom. We wouldn’t have a platform without it.”

Thoughts

At the end of the day, everyone arrives at a co-working space for different reasons. Whether you’re here to develop your next big idea or to find a sense of community, there are different benefits of co-working for everyone. If you’re interested in learning more about our space, drop on by and take a tour. We’d love to have you join our community.

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5 Best Coffee Shops In Downtown San Antonio – Geekdom Picks

The coffee shop work session– a favorite of broke college students hammering out problem sets, struggling artists attempting to write the next great American novel, and those wanting to catch up on emails while sipping americanos. Whether you need help breaking through a tough case of writer’s block or are struggling to find a new angle to market your next brilliant idea, a coffee shop work session is sure to help you break out of that rut.

Grab your laptop charger and head out to one of our top five favorite coffee shops in downtown San Antonio:

Sip Brew Bar and Eatery

Sip brew bar coffee san antonio-min

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Where: 160 E Houston Street

When: 7am-6pm

Staff recommendation: Vanilla latte and Sexy sandwich

Located at one of the busiest intersections of downtown SA and a sweet three-minute walk from the Geekdom offices, Sip has gained a reputation for being the go-to spot for quality espresso drinks and cheap eats. Adored by tourists as well as locals, it’s easy to see why. The industrial aesthetic of the interior makes this busy coffee house feel like a renovated factory building, seeming to belong more in Brooklyn than San Antonio. Hip interior complements a good selection of snacks and breakfast sandwiches. Obviously, their coffee is great. The vanilla lattes are legendary– they make their vanilla syrup in-house. If you’re hungry, our staff recommends the Sexy, a breakfast sandwich with fried egg and bacon.

Commonwealth Coffeehouse and Bakery

Commonwealth coffee san antonio

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Where: 112 E. Pecan Street

When: Open 7am-6pm *Closed Saturday and Sunday*

Staff Recommendation: Almond croissant

Did someone say French pastries? CommonWealth Coffeehouse specializes not only in a fantastic, simple cup of coffee, but in authentic French croissants, pan au chocolats, and tart tartins. They focus on incorporating local ingredients into their culinary fare to create a distinctive vibe that can only adequately be described as San Anto-French. Our staff recommends the almond-filled croissant, a pastry that can satisfy any sweet tooth. CommonWealth encourages patrons to “Come and stay as long as you’d like. Even when it is a full house, you’ll be able to find a space just right for you…You are always welcome here at CommonWealth.” So snag your laptop, a cafe au lait, croissant, and settle in to make your #startupgrind feel like less of a grind.

Revolucion Juice and Coffee

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Where: 300 E. Houston St., Ste 105

When: Open 7am-8pm

Staff Recommendation: Matcha Latte and Rev Acai Bowl

If you’re craving something slightly healthier, Revolucion, the newest coffee shop in our neighborhood, has you covered. Serving up fresh acai bowls and green juices alongside some great coffee, they’ve got everything you need to keep you fueled and focused for long brainstorming sessions. (Our staff recommends the Rev acai bowl for a cool lunch on a hot day) Looking for something more filling? They make killer breakfast tacos– an SA staple– with a healthy twist. Vegan and vegetarian versions of traditional fillings make these breakfast tacos special. They leave you feeling satisfied, but not bogged down by heavy ingredients. While you’re there, don’t forget to grab some caffeine! Their assortment of various teas and coffees with interesting add-ins like lavender honey make Revolucion a good alternative to your normal mid-afternoon Red Bull.

Local/Merit Coffee

local coffee pearl san antonio

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Where: 302 Pearl Parkway

When: MTWTR 6:30am-8pm Fri 6:30am-10pm

Staff Recommendation: Homemade pop tarts and Mexican vanilla latte

This San Antonio chain favorite is undergoing a name change– it’s the same artisanal coffee under a different moniker. With seven San Antonio locations, you’re never more than a couple of miles away from a Local Coffee. Visiting the Pearl location allows you to travel a short way out of downtown to an area with a completely different feel. Situated in one of the best shopping districts in town, this stop encourages a little bit of play alongside your typical work grind. While you’re there, take a break and check out the niche boutiques that the Pearl has to offer.

Rosella Coffee

Rosella coffee san antonio

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Where: 114 E Houston St

When: Open 7am-10pm (Midnight on Fridays!)

Staff Recommendation: Mac and Cheese, Avocado Toast, Iced Dirty Chai Latte

Maybe we’re biased, but we think this list wouldn’t be complete without our next-door neighbors. They’ve got everything, from coffee and tea to spirits and mixed drinks. Food-wise, you can’t go wrong with any of their sandwiches or salads. Rosella is the tried-and-true, old-faithful of downtown coffee shops; it’s the perfect spot for anything from an informational interview to a working lunch. While we love the Geekdom offices, we also understand that sometimes our community members need a change of scenery. So walk next door, grab a coffee and sandwich to refuel, then hammer out whatever it is you need to get done.

Final Thoughts: What’s Your Favorite Coffee Bar in San Antonio?

Wherever you choose to work, we love to see our members supporting local businesses. It helps keep our city’s economy vibrant, productive and fosters the entrepreneurial spirit we want here in San Antonio.

Did your favorite coffee shop make the list? Have an idea for this blog? We’d love to hear from you!

Facebook @GeekdomSA | Twitter @Geekdom | Instagram @GeekdomSA

(photos courtesy of respective companies’ Facebook pages)

Geekdom Guest Spot: Matthew Myers

As Geekdom grows, our community’s entrepreneurial reach has expanded beyond the US borders and has gone international! We have everything from established companies to brand new start-ups from across the globe who have set up shop right here in our building.  Nevertheless, immigration can be a very complicated process. To help give us some basics, community member and immigration lawyer Matthew Myers wrote this post to help describe a basic understanding regarding the “legalese” of immigration.

When it comes to noncitizens, many people in the United States have heard generally of immigrants and undocumented aliens.  Under U.S. immigration law, there are actually immigrants and nonimmigrants and those with other legal status (i.e. DACA or asylum).

Most employment-based immigration options require employer sponsorship, and many foreign nationals actually start in nonimmigrant status as an F-1 student, H-1B specialty occupation worker, Trade NAFTA professional, etc. before obtaining an immigrant visa.

  1. Getting your Foot in the Door: Nonimmigrant Visas

Commonly referred by immigration lawyers as an “alphabet soup,” the U.S. immigration system provides for nonimmigrant visa options for almost every letter of the alphabet, with certain letters having multiple variations.  Nonimmigrant visas authorizing work may be issued for a specific duration generally between 1-5 years and at renewal require the petitioning company to prove that the foreign national still qualifies for the position in order to extend the nonimmigrant visa.

Certain nonimmigrant visas have a cap on the years that a foreign national may remain in such status, after such period the foreign national either needs to change to a different nonimmigrant visa, secure an immigrant visa, or return to their home country. For example, the cap on the number of years spent in H-1B status is seven years, and the cap on the U.S. intracompany transfer visa options of L-1A Managers and Executives and L-1B Specialized Knowledge employee is seven and five years, respectively.  Not having the same time restrictions, an alternate option available to companies may be hiring Canadian or Mexican professionals under the TN visa if the job and applicant’s credentials align with a set list of over 60 professional occupations set forth by NAFTA.

Other nonimmigrant visas, such as the H-1B Specialty Occupation visa, have a cap on the number of new visas that may be granted annually. The H-1B specialty occupation visa is the most frequently utilized by tech companies in the United States, but the annual cap on new visas is reached shortly after the beginning of the fiscal year on April 1. Companies who require specialized workers outside of the cap may choose to hire nationals of Chile, Singapore, and Australia. The U.S. signed treaties with these countries that provide for a separate visa category for U.S. companies to petition for nationals of these countries who are qualified to fill specialty occupations.

2. The Holy Grail of Immigration: the Immigrant Visa

The immigrant visa, commonly referred to as the “green card”, is the holy grail of U.S. immigration law, other than citizenship, because it allows the holder to renew permanent residency indefinitely so long as that person remains admissible and a permanent resident of the United States. The renewal process is similar to that of a passport or driver’s license and may be done routinely generally without the legal advice and substantial evidence of continued qualification necessary to extend nonimmigrant visas.

Generally speaking, there is a correspondingly higher level of scrutiny in the self-sponsored or employer-sponsored options to request an immigrant visa, relative to nonimmigrant visa options. These options include the EB-1 Aliens of Extraordinary Ability, EB-1B Outstanding Professor or Researcher, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa who invest $500,000 or $1 million, or the National Interest Waiver for individuals whose research is in the national interest of the United States who have proven accomplishments in the field.

Community Spotlight: Folo Media

It’s no secret that the Alamo city is in the starting phases of one of the largest population and industry booms of its 299-year history. People and businesses are looking to relocate here, while major companies like Hulu are looking to grow even larger in the Bexar area.

And yet, while all signs seem to point toward a bright future for San Antonio, it might not be available to everyone.

“I’m still pretty new to San Antonio, and I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a place quite this segregated,” writes Patton Dodd, Editor-in-Chief of Folo Media, “the seams between wealthy and poor show here, if you just look out for them a little bit”.

Comprised of three veterans of the news and media industries (Patton Dodd, Alice Rhee, and Benjamin Olivo), Folo examines the growing disparity and inequality between San Antonio’s wealthiest and poorest communities. As referenced on their website, two recent studies (linked here and here) argue that San Antonio is the most unequal city in the entire nation.

“Before we started Folo, we asked a lot of locals what they thought about local inequality, and they responded one of two ways: ‘That’s not something people talk about very much’ or ‘I had no idea’” Dodd said.

It was the surprising responses that led the team to dial in to this inequality and decide to focus solely on exposing and discussing this societal elephant in the room. With the support of the Laity Renewal Foundation and the H. E. Butt Family Foundation, Dodd, Rhee, and Olivo have set out to bring much-needed attention to San Antonio’s most vulnerable and at-risk communities.

“The Foundation tasked us with developing a project that would use media as a tool to serve vulnerable families and children,” Dodd explained, “We tested some ideas that were focused on national concerns, but as we got to know and love San Antonio and understand some of the most pressing local needs locally, we felt that this topic could benefit from sustained attention.”

The downtown districts have already experienced revitalization, and when coupled with Geekdom’s budding ecosystem of professional development and supporting local businesses and start-ups, Dodd knew Folo needed to be in the center of it.

“Entrepreneurialism is absolutely part of the answer to inequality, because people need jobs, and startups tend to provide jobs that pay more and offer more opportunity than jobs from aging firms.”

Dodd continued, “We’re also keeping an eye on the flow of venture capital to see if it spreads throughout the city via things like the Investing in Opportunity Act.”

But while business growth and entrepreneurs are part of the solution, what about on an individual level? For those of us who don’t have the start-up bug, how can we help encourage this vital conversation and begin to reverse this growing inequality in our city? Dodd’s answer is simple:

“Get involved. Local nonprofits do everything from building bikes for kids to serving food and making art. If you spend part of a day volunteering, you’ll make others aware because you’ll be wanting to talk about it.”

San Antonio is currently the seventh-largest city in the country, and although growing pains are inevitable, the Alamo city has all the talent and resources it needs to reverse the trend and spread the benefit to the entire population.

“This problem–systemic inequality–was created over decades, and it will take a long span of time to make systemic progress. Folo aims to cover every aspect of it because we think local citizens and institutions are going to have to throw everything at the problem,” Dodd wrote.

For more on Folo’s philosophy, or to read some of their recent articles, check out their website here, or stop by their office on the 7th floor!

Community Update: Whitecloud Drones

Happy Tuesday everyone! This won’t be the normal community blog post as we have written about Adam and Wes at WhiteCloud Drones before, but we wanted to give everyone a quick update on their recent landmarks and show off some of their latest footage!

The San Antonio Spurs Foundation was one of the first to sign with WCD, as they were in need of footage of the Spurs Coyote at some of the Alamo city’s famous locations to use as intro footage for the Coyote during home games. It wasn’t long before they were asking the pair to film for the Silver Stars, the Rampage, and even allowing them to operate their drones inside the AT&T center during the media day to catch players in the action!

Also, check out some footage here shot with Katt Slagle about the growing importance of STEM education in our youth and adolescent educations:

Finally, Wes and Adam recently had the privilege of collaborating on a passion project with Dodge South central Texas Viper Owners Association to create a breathtaking video of some of their finest driving on Devil’s Backbone, one of the most famous roads in the entire state of Texas, and a favorite among motorcyclists!

With several other projects in the works and other contracts  about to close, Adam and Wes are acting just like the drones they operate and soaring to new heights! Congratulations guys, and keep it up!

2017 Start-Up Weekend

It’s officially the Summer season! That means it’s time to break out the BBQ, Clean out the pool, and shotgun an energy drink because it’s time for the 2017 Start-Up Weekend!!

Starting June 2 at 6:30, participants will have a total of 54 hours to take an idea for a new start-up business from conception all the way to proposal! If you’ve ever had an idea for a business that’s been nagging at you in the back of your head, this event is for you!

Beginning with 60-second pitches, a round of voting will consolidate ideas and participants into a selection of teams that go to work on their shared idea. Teams will take over the 8th floor of Geekdom and use every resource at their disposal to research, brainstorm, analyze, and formulate a business plan that is as close to launch as possible for a final presentation on Sunday.

Food and caffeine will be provided to power through the weekend to keep your mind sharp and your brain churning. Not only that, but we’ll have a team of Geekdom mentors and veterans on-hand to help each team with any questions you might have and to give advice and tips along the way.

Of course, no good idea should go unrewarded, which is why awards will be given out sponsored by companies here at Geekdom! Here’s a quick list just to get you even more excited:

  • Geekdom
  • Biltt
  • Innocenti Jones
  • Key Ideas
  • Pear Analytics
  • Ace Screen Graphics

Each of these companies will be awarding packages tailored to your start-up weekend idea to help boost your business plan even closer to a reality. So what are you waiting for? Why are you still reading this when you could be signing up!?!

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!



Build it at Geekdom.