Tag: Cole Wollak

SAPitch Provides an Informal Setting for San Antonio Startups to Pitch to Investors

Founder of Silicon Hills News

The Walkingspree team at SAPitch

The Walkingspree team at SAPitch

One of the big problems in growing San Antonio’s technology startup industry has been lack of access to capital for entrepreneurs.

The Geekdom Fund has provided $25,000 to a handful of tech startups in the earliest stages of their companies, but the real need comes with follow on funding in larger amounts ranging from $250,000 to a few million.

The solution might well be found in groups like the newly created SAPitch. The organization, headed up by Michael Girdley and Cole Wollak, brings together entrepreneurs and angel investors in an informal setting for lunch. Everyone buys their own meal and four startups pitch their companies before investors.

On Wednesday afternoon, Storific, Walkingspree, HighNoon and Lightphile presented their companies to investors at Café Commerce in the downtown library.

Walkingspree, a seven year old company with revenues of $2.3 million last year, already has 80 corporate clients and more than 44,000 registered members for its software as a service platform for digital health. The company has created a physical activity program aimed at corporations looking to increase the health of their employees.

Walkingspree CEO Hiran Perera said the company has created its own Bluetooth-enabled device called the “Inspire.” The watch-like device tracks steps, calories, time, distance and goals.

The company’s platform also incorporates other activity trackers like the Fitbit. With customers like Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Mercer Total Health Management and Texas Health Resources, the company is on track to top revenues of $3.4 million this year.

The company has been bootstrapped so far with one angel investment, Perera said. It’s looking for a strategic investor to develop and Android-based product and further expand its sales and marketing.

Kyle Cornelius and Zachary Stovall, co-founders of Storific, pitched their app-based business that allows consumers to order food via their mobile phones from restaurants and skip the lines. The company recently relocated its headquarters from Paris, France to Geekdom in San Antonio with six employees. They are looking to raise a seed stage round of investment to further develop and market Storific.

HighNoon, which has been in business about eight weeks, wants to bring the custom barn buying experience online. It is already selling a couple of barns a month but plans to create a platform for customers to buy a new and efficient barn tailored to meet their needs, said Pegy Brimhall, one of the founders along with Sonja Howle and Alex Guerra. It was seeking seed stage funding.

David Barrick and Logan Butler, co-founders of LightPhile, pitched their lighting control device to manage an entire concert lighting experience with an iPad. The company received a $25,000 initial investment from the Geekdom Fund. It’s looking for additional funds to finish developing its software interface for the iPad and hardware device.

SANewTech Seeks to Foster San Antonio’s Technology Community

Cole Wollak, founder and organizer of San Antonio New Tech, a new monthly technology meetup at Geekdom.

Cole Wollak wants to help foster San Antonio’s growing technology community.
So he created San Antonio New Tech, a new technology meetup that takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at Geekdom, a downtown collaborative coworking site for geeks.
The first gathering takes place next week and 75 people have registered to attend. The event features short presentations from Dirk Elmendorf, one of the founders of Rackspace who now runs a startup called Trucking Office, Troy Troman with Rackspace talking about its Open Cloud and Open Stack initiatives and Eric Larson and Richard Ortega, founders of Grapevine, a startup based at Geekdom.
The idea is to fill the Geekdom room with like-minded people who can discuss their ventures, bounce off new ideas, socialize, network and collaborate.
“That diversity could create awesome serendipitous events,” Wollak said Friday afternoon during an interview at Geekdom.
The San Antonio New Tech meetup is the kind of grass-roots events that Geekdom seeks to foster, said Nick Longo, its director. The coworking site, founded last November, has quickly grown to 425 members and is currently expanding from the 11th floor to include the 10th floor of the Weston Centre.
“I like when the community, the geeks, the entrepreneurs, creators, organize their own events,” Longo said. “Because that’s organic.”
Wollak, a 2011 engineering graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, previously worked as program manager for TechStars Cloud, headed up by Jason Seats. He also interned at FlashScan3D. He’s working on his own stealth startup and plans to announce it publicly in coming months.
Wollak has always had an interest in entrepreneurship. He help start the entrepreneurship club at Trinity University and he worked on organizing the 3 Day Startups in San Antonio.
He learned about the New Tech meetups while helping to run the TechStars Cloud program. Meetups regularly take place in New York, San Francisco, Boulder, Colo. and Denver. He wanted to create the same kind of community building event here. Wollak also hosts the San Antonio Open Coffee gathering every other Tuesday in San Antonio. It’s a group of people interested in talking about technology whether it’s a local startup or the latest news coming out of Google or NASA.
The focus of the San Antonio New Tech meetup is to foster the city’s tech community, create awareness about what’s happening locally and to provide a destination for newcomers to San Antonio who are technology and entrepreneurially focused to get to know the community, Wollak said.

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