Geekdom accelerator begins recruiting cybersecurity startups

Geekdom accelerator begins recruiting cybersecurity startups

An effort that he says is “the country’s first cybersecurity accelerator” is looking for its first batch of start-up companies interested in receiving the capital and training they need to grow.

The program, a partnership between San Antonio Geekdom and the Wisconsin Generator, is expected to invest $ 100,000 in each of the selected startups through a competitive application and review process. It would then provide a network of experienced mentors, technologists, and funding partners to help them grow through a 12-week program.

“Our goal is for all five companies to stay here, create jobs here, and build here,” said Amanda Lee Keammerer, managing director of the Generator Cybersecurity Accelerator program.

He is accepting applications until July 8 and is scheduled to begin the program on August 29.

Investors connected to Geekdom have invested $ 2 million to support 10 startups in 2022 and 2023. The goal remains to raise $ 4 million for the accelerator to support 25 startups by 2024.

“This is an ecosystem partner that is new to the community with real funding for startups to create jobs during the pandemic,” he said. “Bring people here and respond to the demand of local startups that have long been asked for something like this with so many potential customers in our backyard.”

Founded in 2012, Generison Management LLC, based in Madison, Wisc., Has established 163 acceleration programs in 35 cities in 16 states in the United States. More than 800 startups have gone through its programs, says Gener8tor, and raised more than $ 1 billion in follow-up. financing.

The company focuses on “secondary markets” outside of Silicon Valley, New York and Boston, said Troy Vosseller, its co-founder. San Antonio was his best choice for a cybersecurity accelerator program.

Launching in November, Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin said the partnership makes sense for San Antonio, which he called “a cybersecurity mecca.”

The city is now home to more than 40 cybersecurity business headquarters, as well as security hill warfare and cyber defense operations at Lackland Air Force Base and the National Security Agency’s Texas Cryptology Center. There are more cybersecurity workers in San Antonio than anywhere else in the country outside of Washington, DC

“This is our first program in San Antonio and it’s our only program focused on cybersecurity,” Vosseller said. “Most of our programs are industry agnostics in the communities where they operate. Increasingly, however, we are working with partners like Geekdom to have industry-specific programs that are truly ecosystem-based and lead us to cybersecurity. here in the San Antonio market. “

Part of a wider effort

It fits with a wider thrust supported by Geekdom.

In Feb. , Mexico. It promoted San Antonio’s position as the largest Hispanic-majority city in the United States

He said the strategy would help Geekdom launch 500 startups over the next decade, with at least 75 percent of them based in San Antonio.

He said he now hopes the Cybersecurity Accelerator generator will help introduce new businesses to help achieve that goal.

Vosseller said the trajectory of his company of companies moving to a city because of their programs support it.

“About one in five will end up moving permanently or having a significant residual presence in this market,” he said. “We imagine some of this cohort will already be here.”

The program may also have a “halo effect” that generates venture capital for out-of-cohort startups, Vosseller said.

“We’re not just investing $ 100,000 in each of these companies that are being considered,” he said. “We believe there will be more eyeballs overall looking at San Antonio as a result.”

Woodin agreed. “Here’s a look at startups and the ecosystem that will bring VCs and others out of San Antonio to see what’s going on.”

“Geekdom’s role is that while these companies are here to make San Antonio the most catchy place it could be to convince these companies and the talent they bring with them that this is a place where they can continue to build this company,” he said. .

Wooding said many technology leaders may view cybersecurity as a threat the government should be concerned about.

“But it’s something everyone has to worry about,” he said. “And making cybersecurity less of a hooded environment, a hacker, and making it something to worry about for all businesses is where I think it’s important to expand it.”

Keammerer, a native of San Antonio, said many types of businesses are increasingly focusing on cybersecurity.

“That’s where we see cybersecurity going. It’s not a computer problem, it’s a business problem,” he said. “It’s not part of your budget, it’s an investment in protecting your business from closure and bankruptcy. “.

With that in mind, the Gener8tor Accelerator program aims to expand the reach of what it means to be a cybersecurity startup in San Antonio.

“When you think of San Antonio as a U.S. military city, a lot of these solutions that people create are geared toward the defense industry,” Keammerer said. “It simply came to our notice then. You can create a business application or consider a different target market or customer for your product. Maybe you’re not even thinking about defense. Maybe you’re focused on health insurance. “

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