The deadline to apply for the TechStars Cloud program is Monday.
But already the program has received several hundred applications for the inaugural TechStars program in San Antonio, said Jason Seats, managing director for TechStars Cloud and cofounder of Slicehost, which San Antonio-based Rackspace acquired.
On Friday night, several of those entrepreneurs met with Rackspace employees and tech company mentors at the Esquire Tavern on the Riverwalk downtown. Some of them travelled from Nashville, Portland, San Francisco, Madison, Wisc. and the United Kingdom.
On Saturday, they will gather on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre downtown from noon until five to hear speakers from Rackspace including one of the founders, Dirk Elmendorf and Rackspace Chairman Graham Weston along with speakers from TechStars.
Seats calls it “TechStars for a day.”
Elmendorf says Rackspace has remade the 11th floor of the Weston Centre into “Geekdom” with plenty of space for start up companies to work and mingle.
The 13-week TechStars Cloud program will start in January and culminate with the TechStars Demo Day in April in which the selected companies will pitch to potential investors. San Antonio is the fifth site for a TechStars program with other locations in Boston, Seattle, New York and Boulder, Colo.
“This location is all about cloud,” Seats said.
The cloud is like “the plumbing of the Internet,” Seats said. It’s the “heavy-lifting technology stuff that takes place behind the scene.”
Seats says the applicants for the TechStars Cloud program, so far, have more of a business to business focus, rather than a business to consumer focus. The applicants span a wide range of industries including music, hosting, infrastructure, video and gaming.
The interest in the program is high because not only do the 10 TechStars Cloud companies receive $18,000 in initial investment but they receive mentoring and access to a network of accomplished entrepreneurs and potential funders.
“It’s a fantastic time to start a new company,” Seats said. “If you’re a developer with a great startup idea, the economy is not hurting for you.”
Most of the TechStar cloud companies will come from outside of San Antonio, Seats said. He expects just one to two to be from this area. And he hopes that the injection of new talent into the San Antonio startup community will serve as a catalyst to spur further companies here. And he hopes some of the companies may decide to stay in San Antonio permanently upon completion of the program.
Seats has met with several of San Antonio’s angel investors and he says the community is starting to invest in technology and biotechnology companies locally.
“There is no scarcity of money in San Antonio,” Seats said. “There’s always money for good ideas and good people.”
Seats just returned from TechStars Demo Day in Seattle. He was especially impressed with Romotive, which creates a kit to turn an iPhone into a robot, Everymove, which works with companies to provide healthy incentives to their employees, Vizify, a social network data analysis site and GoChime, connecting brands with people on social media.