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Rising tech startups present their products at Geekdom’s Incubator Showcase

Troy Vosseller of Gener8tor speaks at a podium with the Geekdom logo on it. To his left is Geekdom CEO Chris Woodin, and to his right is former Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.
Paul Flahive
Texas Public Radio
A Geekdom event where Troy Vosseller of Gener8tor spoke, flanked by former Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Geekdom's Charles Woodin.

A banana-based ice cream and a cybersecurity media production company were among the 13 tech startups that presented their ideas and gave demos of their products at the Geekdom Incubator Showcase last week.

The Incubator Showcase is designed to give startup companies in Geekdom’s 8-week Incubator program the opportunity to present their ideas to the public, potential investors, and future clients.

Armando Cazares’ idea is to offer high school and college students an easier path to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives. It’s a job shadow marketplace called Shadow The Life.

“[It’s] kind of like an AirBnB but for job shadowing,” Cazares said. “So students would go onto my website, ShadowTheLife.com, search [for] the job they’re interested in shadowing and their location. They’ll then be given a list of professionals that are offering job shadowings based on their search, they could be able to book a job shadowing with that professional, and the professional would just confirm that booking.”

Cazares said he came up with the idea for the company a few years ago when his younger sister was in college and struggling with cold-emailing to find someone to shadow.

He said the company will make money by charging students $20 for each job shadowing they book on the website.

As part of the Geekdom Incubator, Cazares worked with mentors and designed a business model that worked for him. He said his next steps are getting high school and college students to sign up on his website, partner with university alumni associations and trade schools, and then launch job shadowing trial runs. From there, he plans to hire a developer to build out the entire site.

Another startup showcasing their product was Larunda, a B2B services company focused on helping companies be more accessible to neurodivergent and disabled consumers, especially with websites.

The Cleveland Clinic defines the term “neurodivergent” a non-medical descriptor for individuals whose brains may work differently than is traditionally expected. This may be due to conditions like dyslexia or being on the autism spectrum disorder, but individuals do not have to have a disability to be considered neurodivergent.

Someone who is not neurodivergent would be considered “neurotypical.”

Erica Braverman is part of the team behind the company and has experience with user experience, or UX, research. She explained the importance of making the internet more accessible.

“The internet is where we get our education, where we engage with civic issues like voting or volunteering, it’s where we apply for jobs, it’s where we do the work we need to keep our jobs, and if that's not an accessible place, people with disabilities and neuro[logical] minority brain types experience a ton of isolation,” Braverman said.

She said the company offers corporate education, digital services, and workplace services to its clients. The company currently has a funding goal of $500,000, and Braverman said next steps include presenting at an Austin accessibility conference in May, building up a client list, and creating a curriculum on accessibility issues.

Charles Woodin, Geekdom’s CEO, said he was excited to see the startups at the showcase graduate from the Geekdom Incubator and explained what the program offered these startups and will provide to future participants.

“Every week you have a different speaker and you have a different focus,” Woodin said. “So some of those will be market research, that’s a huge part of this program, is making sure that they’re going out, they’re talking to their potential customers, they’re understanding the wants and needs of those individuals so that they’re pivoting and building a product that’s ready for them.”

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.