San Antonio’s longest-running startup community has added 14 new companies to the Alamo City’s ecosystem.
Geekdom hosted a showcase Wednesday to mark the completion of its free eight-week incubator program. Designed to help first-time founders and early-stage entrepreneurs refine their startup ideas, Geekdom “supports entrepreneurs and their visions at every stage of their journey,” said Geekdom program manager Jon Ryan Garcia.
“Geekdom’s incubator program helps founders cultivate their ideas, conduct market research, refine their product or service, and connect with their first customers. Our goal is to help these companies succeed and grow as contributing members of the San Antonio startup ecosystem,” Garcia said.
Craved founder Kushagra Chopra graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and became a Venture for America fellow working as a software engineer at Big Sun Solar. He joined Geekdom’s incubator to turn his passion for creating healthy banana-based desserts into a company.
“Geekdom’s incubator helps founders like me build momentum, as deliverables are due every week of the eight-week program,” Chopra said.
Founders in Geekdom’s first incubator cohort of 2023 are working on products ranging from healthy foods to STEM education, Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) products to innovative service platforms:
- APEX Sports Media creates visual content for professional athletes, thanks to founder Jacob De Leon.
- BrakeSense is the brainchild of Elijah Moya, Gabriel Ferrer, Laura Barnes, and Adittya Das. They developed technology that digitizes the brake inspection process.
- Alex Usov has launched CommunIT, a services exchange platform for IT vendors and professionals.
- Craved founder Kushagra Chopra created a low-calorie, banana-based ice cream for consumers looking for healthy desserts.
- Bennett Hendrix III launched CyberBennett, a media company producing books, films, and puzzles focused on cybersecurity education and awareness.
- Sonja Howle launched GeoRanch, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform connecting landowners with farmers and ranchers interested in leasing land.
- Carolina Contreras’ Good Food App helps restaurants sell surplus food that would otherwise be thrown away.
- Kara Lingston’s and Nicole Boynton’s used children’s clothing business, Hand Me Up, has already been featured in local and national press coverage. The founders needed help on how to scale their new company rapidly.
- Larunda Inc. offers digital accessibility and neurodiversity-focused research and consulting services, thanks to founders Lē Silveus, Erica Braverman, and Julieanne King.
- LazyLister.ai focuses on real estate listings in business areas throughout the Americas, thanks to founders Bernardo Garcia and Terry French.
- Amina Thomas created Nourish’d Seeds, a startup that offers internet-connected ‘smart’ fridges stocked with healthy foods in public and semi-public areas.
- Armando Cazares’ job-shadowing website called Shadow the Life offers high school students opportunities to observe people in the workplace to help them decide on career paths.
- Traction for Creatives comes from Christy Limegrover, who seeks to help digital creatives with services designed to increase efficiency.
- Steve Matzker’s idea for an immersive AR-driven search engine for web 3 is called Yocal.
After Lingston’s and Boynton’s used children’s clothing business Hand Me Up was featured in both The New York Times and The Washington Post, demand spiked dramatically. While the recognition was welcome, the increase in product demand posed a challenge.
“We are at a point in our new business where we are seeing significant growth in a short period,” said Lingston. “Geekdom helped us figure out how to scale our operations quickly.”
The incubator’s benefits for founders include access to Geekdom’s mentor network, including entrepreneur-in-residence Ben Jones, who recently sold his startup Skipcart to 7-Eleven.
“[Media] exposure is great, but scaling is better. We’ve benefitted from the creative collision of ideas within Geekdom’s community,” Boynton added.
Bennett Hendrix III summed up his incubator experience as he discussed his long-range plans for developing his cyber education company.
“I’ve gained a more structured understanding of what it takes to launch a business,” Hendrix said. “And I now have a supportive Geekdom community of entrepreneurs who can help companies like mine grow.”
Applications for the next Geekdom incubator cohort open on March 27. The program will run from May 27 to July 22, 2023. You can learn more and apply for the next cohort once the application period opens here.
The featured image is of Bennett Hendrix III (right) talking about his new cyber education startup at Geekdom’s Incubator Showcase. Photo credit: Iris Gonzalez.