Geekdom seeking mentors and investors for new cybersecurity accelerator
Geekdom sounds the horn this week to bring together San Antonio’s tech and cybersecurity scenes ahead of its first cybersecurity accelerator.
Geekdom’s Gener8tor Cybersecurity Accelerator, a partnership between the technology cooperative work incubator and a Wisconsin-based national accelerator called Gener8tor, offers to help cybersecurity startups with training, capital and connections.
The organizers are waiting for the initiative it will enhance the city’s already established reputation as a hub for the rapidly growing field of cybersecurity.
The cybersecurity accelerator was launched in November, but last month it was won by its first managing director, Amanda Lee Keammerer. The San Antonio native, who has training in technology consulting and national security, said Geekdom and the Wisconsin group are pushing for an “updated launch” this week.
Keammerer and Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin, along with co-founder of Gener8tor Tory Vosseller and senior general manager Haley Medved, are knocking on the doors of potential partners in San Antonio and Austin.
“We’re bringing the cyber ecosystem together in person,” he said.
In San Antonio, they meet with representatives of San Antonio City Council, Bexar County and big business with a presence in the field of cybersecurity. These larger companies could act as mentors and accelerator experts, and the startups they nurture could eventually turn around and develop beneficial products for those companies, organizers said.
In Austin, the group is partnering with potential investors and venture capital groups to join the existing financing network that Geekdom already has in San Antonio.
The Gener8tor Cybersecurity Accelerator is a 12-week program and its first cohort of 25 companies will begin in July, working on the Geekdom space in the Rand Building Center.
Each company will receive $ 100,000 in funding, as well as mentors and funding partners.
Applications to enter the accelerator expire on May 28 and are open to companies across the United States. Companies will be selected through a competitive review process.
Gener8tor has established more than 160 acceleration programs in nearly three dozen cities across the country, with more than $ 1 billion raised in follow-up funding for its startups, according to its website.
Geekdom earlier this year announced the goal of growing 500 companies in the next 10 years, with at least 75% based in San Antonio.
Woodin said the Gener8tor cybersecurity accelerator would address what it sees as a gap in San Antonio’s home ecosystem. “There are a lot of things going on in the start-up stage, and there’s a lot going on in the next stage, like investing and creating space, but in the middle, there’s a stage we refer to as the valley of death. “
He said the cybersecurity accelerator would help these midsize companies have better control over how to scale and how to adapt their products between customers and investors, for example.
“The companies that will be part of this accelerator are in a much higher growth stage than most of the companies that you will find here within Geekdom,” he said.
San Antonio has one of the largest concentrations of cybersecurity professionals in the country, according to Greater: SATX, the local economic development foundation. The $ 3.3 billion local industry employs more than 16,000 people from big business like USAA and Accenture, as well as advanced federal defense sites like the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Texas Cryptological Center.
The city also has many higher education institutions with programs recognized by the Department of Homeland Security, such as UTSA, Alamo Colleges, and the University of the Incarnate Word, and many of these institutions are growing their programs. UTSA will open the School of Data Science and Homeland Security Collaboration Center building in July.
Keammerer and others leading the Gener8tor cybersecurity accelerator are hoping to improve this position by helping more emerging companies grow.
“If I get out of the NSA, if I get out of the military, if I get out of the USAA, I know I can stay in San Antonio and grow a cybersecurity business? We want that answer to be yes,” he said.