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New partnership aims to accelerate growth in San Antonio's cybersecurity companies

Troy Vosseller of Gener8tor flanked by then-Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Geekdom's Charles Woodin in 2021.
Paul Flahive
Troy Vosseller of Gener8tor flanked by then-Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Geekdom's Charles Woodin in 2021.

The San Antonio tech scene is about to get an infusion of funding and startup expertise.

Geekdom announced it was partnering with the accelerator company Gener8tor to start a program specifically for helping cyber security companies develop products for market. Accelerators are programs that through extensive mentorship and networking try to grow and scale companies.

The program that launches next summer will — in its first year — invest $100,000 a piece in five startups that go through its 12-week program.

“This will help us continue to grow the ecosystem that includes entrepreneurship, talent development, new businesses and of course startup and startup capital,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg at the press conference announcing the partnership.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Technology and Entrepreneurship News Fund including The 80/20 Foundation, Digital Defense, Rackspace, The Elmendorf Family Fund, UTSA Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship, SecureLogix, USAA and Giles Design Bureau.

Founded in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Gener8tor has opened accelerator programs in 29 cities across the country and — according to its website — seen tremendous growth and fundraising, with hundreds of millions of dollars in investments. The goal has always been to develop more technology industry in areas outside of “the big three”: California, Massachusetts and New York.

San Antonio has struggled for years to grow its technology industry. According to successive reports, the city continues to grow the number of graduates it has in the high skill, technology arena, but failed to keep them.

Cybersecurity has long been a bright spot in terms of workers, with the Air Force’s 16th wing “Air Force’s Cyber.” But the city has lagged in developing product-based cybersecurity companies. While Gener8tor staff credit Geekdom with courting them to come to San Antonio, it was also about what the city already had.

“It starts with the assets that exist here with the Air Force or other government agencies UTSA Geekdom itself. And then how do we build on that by plugging in the next wave of cybersecurity startups,” said Troy Vosseller, co-founder of Gener8tor.

Product-based cyber security is a much more lucrative firm to investors. Both Denim Group and Digital Defense were product-based security companies bought from San Antonio founders in recent years for high dollar amounts. San Antonio has added capacity to invest in the past five years as well, adding Active Capital, Geekdom Fund and other local organizations.

“So these are funds looking for ideas, good ideas across the desk, can't wait to invest,” said Graham Weston, co-founder of Geekdom at the press conference.

Gener8tor has committed along with Geekdom to operating the accelerator for three years. It will be coming in at a time when no real accelerators exist in the city. RealCo, which hoped to fill that void when it started in 2017, was shuttered during the pandemic.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org