By LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News
On the first Tuesday of every month, a group of people interested in the latest technology developments in San Antonio gathers at Geekdom for the San Antonio New Tech meetup.
The hour-long program showcases some of the latest startups in the city along with other interesting projects.
Cole Wollak, Jeremy Karney and Michael Girdley head up SA New Tech, which has grown to become one of the city’s most popular meetups with 672 registered members. SA New Tech has held 19 events since its founding more than two years ago.
On Tuesday, Geekdom and Codeup sponsored the event providing free beer and pizza to the more than 70 people in attendance.
Soloshot, a robotic cameraman, SMS Gate, a marketing messaging service, Open Cloud Academy, a Linux administrator and technical training center, and BiblioTech, the nation’s first all digital library, pitched to the crowd for five minutes and then answered questions from the crowd.
Chris Boyle, co-founder and CEO of Soloshot, a tripod device that allows a camera to track and film a subject automatically, gave an update on his company.
Soloshot is on the second generation of its product, the Soloshot2, the robot cameraman. The latest model includes new features such as vertical tracking, camera control for automatic zooming and start/pause recording, a smaller lighter transmitter and compatibility with third-party professional tripods.
The San Antonio-based company now has 15 employees. It also has 19 patents issued or pending and its product is available in more than 200 retail stores.
Soloshot has been featured in Popular Mechanics, the Discovery Channel, Fast Company magazine, TechCrunch and other publications. It has won several prestigious industry awards. Soloshot also won the 2013 InnoTech Beta Summit.
Soloshot, founded in 2012, originally sold its products to sports enthusiasts and professional athletes in the surfing, kiteboarding sports. But others quickly adopted its device to film snowboarders, soccer players, rugby teams, equestrians, skiers, wakeboarders, skateboarders, motocross racers, racecar drivers and parents seeking to capture their kid’s events.
Catarina Velasquez, BiblioTech Community relations liason, gave a brief overview of BiblioTech, which has more than 20,000 digital books available for download to Bexar County residents. It’s the nation’s first digital public library.
The $2.5 million library has 48 iMacs and it loans e-readers, which can hold up to five books to county residents with a BiblioTech library card. The library is open seven days a week and is located on the city’s South Side at 3505 Pleasanton Road.
Felipe Castillo pitched his startup, SMSGate, which provides a direct marketing service to companies through text messages. The company is from Mexico. The company is looking for Beta testers to try out its product for free. For more information, visit its website at SMSGate.co.
A representative from the Open Cloud Academy, on the sixth floor of the Weston Centre, gave a brief overview of the year-old technical training center. Rackspace’s Chairman and CEO Graham Weston started the academy to provide Linux administrator training to the general public. The program is based on the Rackspace Academy, which trains its employees in technical fields. The 10-week Linux Administrator training program costs $3,500 and the program provides some scholarships and other financing. Recently, the Open Cloud Academy launched Linux for Ladies, its first program targeted exclusively at training women to become Linux system administrators. That class, which begins in June, is already full. The demand is high for the classes. Jobs for Linux system administrators are plentiful and the jobs pay more than $50,000 a year, on average. More than 200 people attended an information session to learn more about the Linux for Ladies program.
Geekdom is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News