The Geekdom Fund has invested $25,000 each into two startup companies to be based at Geekdom, a downtown San Antonio coworking and collaboration space.
The teams are KirPeep and ParLevel Systems, said Nick Longo, director of Geekdom.
“Both teams attempted to get the Geekdom Fund in this past round,” Longo said. “For really a myriad of reasons, they didn’t make it through. But they took all of the advice we gave them and met with mentors and came back prepared to tell their stories.”
Longo and the four other members of the Geekdom Fund board met on Tuesday with applicants. The Geekdom Fund board meets every month. Last month, they did not give out any money. Previously, Grapevine, a reputation management firm aimed at hotels and restaurants, received a $25,000 Geekdom investment.
“I’m encouraging teams that apply for the Geekdom Fund to meet with mentors before they apply,” Longo said.
Geekdom members can find the hours that various mentors are available on the member dashboard online, Longo said. The Geekdom Fund Board members including Longo, Jason Seats, Pat Condon, John Mosher and Mike Troy all have times listed that they are available to meet with entrepreneurs.
Last month when the Geekdom Fund did not make any investments, the teams pitching weren’t as prepared as the board would have liked, Longo said. Each team must fill out an application including a Lean Canvas, or one-page business plan, and they are given 10 minutes to pitch their company to the board.
“This is their first money,” Longo said. “This opens up the opportunity for them to get more money.”
KirPeep hasn’t launched yet. The site is focused on creating a system for bartering.
“KirPeep stands for “Keep it real, people,” according to the company’s blog post. “Our vision statement says it all, “We empower those who provide value to the community by making it easy to exchange goods and services, with or without money.” We want to make it possible for individuals to trade not only goods, but also services in exchange for money, goods, or other services. What sets us apart from other bartering sites is the fact that we see how trading services benefit our communities.”
The KirPeep team is made up of Sara Moffett, Steven Quintanilla, Kyle Jennings, John Lozano and Naomi Rios.
ParLevel System, founded two months ago by Walter Teele and Luis Pablo Gonzalez, is working on a monitoring system for vending machine operators.
ParLevel installs a wireless meter inside vending machines so that the operators can get real-time access to their inventory, Teele said.
Right now, the vending machine world is divided up into new machines with the latest technology and older machines that require companies to visit them to find out what inventory needs updating, Teele said.
ParLevel seeks to give those operators with older vending machines real time information on inventory to save time and money, Teele said. The company is working on the software and hardware box now, he said. They came up with the idea after Gonzalez’s uncle told them about a problem he was having with his vending machine business in Mexico. He said he wanted to be able to see into the machines at any time to see what product he needed. Currently, a delivery truck operator must visit the machines and write down what they need. Then he has to go back to his truck and load up the inventory and go back to the machine and install it. The ParLevel System eliminates all of that, Teele said. Instead, the operator leaves the warehouse with the inventory when it’s needed at the machine, he said.
Both Teele and Gonzalez are from Mexico and they graduated from Trinity University and University of Texas at San Antonio.
“We are very entrepreneurial since we were little kids,” Teele said.
The Geekdom fund investment allows ParLevel to patent its idea and form its company and take care of other business, Teele said.
“It puts a challenge in front of us we have to fulfill,” he said.
Team dynamics are very important in the selection process for the Geekdom Fund, Longo said. He considers the team and its abilities over their idea, he said.
“No one is ever going to give you money for an idea,” Longo said. “They’ll give you money when you get to that next level, the product.”
Disclosure: Geekdom is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News.