CONTACT: Noah Barshop, 210-355-1273
SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 24, 2019) —The City Council Innovation and Technology Committee (ITC) convened today at the Geekdom Event Center to discuss and take possible action on a proposed grant from the Economic Development Department (EDD) for the Geekdom Incubator, a prospective program developed by Geekdom, the City’s Office of Innovation and its Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) to launch civic-focused tech startups.
Chaired by Councilman Manny Peláez, the ITC voted unanimously to approve the idea of a $250,000 EDD grant to fund this public-private partnership between the City and Geekdom that aims to promote entrepreneurship, spur innovation, commercialize local talent and intellectual property and grow startups in the local IT industry. It will come up for discussion in an upcoming City Council B Session.
“The partnership generated from this grant will give the city the ability to more directly support and launch startups that will provide myriad benefits to the City of San Antonio,” said Councilman Pelaez. “Projects developed here – with the intimate involvement of Geekdom, the Office of Innovation and ITSD – can enable local tools to address local issues and bolster the missions of countless city departments, all the while growing small businesses and making an economic impact.”
The proposed grant stipulates a two-year contract to serve up to six teams that will receive guidance and support from the Geekdom Incubator to develop civic-focused startups geared to make a community impact in the city. It also stipulates that companies formed through this initiative must stay headquartered in San Antonio for at least two years.
If approved by City Council, the Geekdom Incubator will be co-managed by the Office of Innovation, ITSD and Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin, while Joyce Deuley of Geekdom will manage its programming.
“CivTechSA is going into its 3rd year. The Geekdom Incubator is now our opportunity for the City of San Antonio and Geekdom to take those solutions and products and create legitimate businesses that will have an economic and community impact,” said Brian Dillard, Chief Innovation Officer at the Office of Innovation.
Three project teams – two of which formed out of the CivTechSA initiative – were highlighted during ITC to showcase the potential of the program and the benefits they could bring to the city. Pawtify is developing an app to help locals find their perfect pet from Animal Control Services through a notification matching system and gallery. SoloVago is developing a neighborhood safety app that will display real-time environmental and crime data, provide a non-emergency reporting system and share real-time community insights. And, Polis seeks to connect people and businesses along the River Walk through its Bluetooth LTE Beacon network and mobile app.