SA Startup Week and Our Community Economy
San Antonio Startup Week showcased the immense growth of the city’s startup ecosystem in recent years. As our team attended events during the week on San Antonio’s growing startup corridor, we thought about the importance of startups for growth at a broader scale in our city.
Entrepreneurial hotspots are not only found in Silicon Valley and Boston. As The Economist explained last year, “other overlooked cities in the American heartland are also hotspots of high-growth entrepreneurship.” Powered by lower barriers to entry for technology companies, new access to capital, accelerators, and local incentives, places like Nashville, Columbus, and San Antonio are also growing.
The Kauffman Foundation, the premier non-profit focusing on entrepreneurship, discovered that San Antonio is one of the best cities for growing a business quickly. In fact, San Antonio is tied for the top scale-up rate. The city’s high scale-up rate exists because of the city’s lower cost of living and resources, and a growing system of community support. According to the 80/20 Foundation, during the period 2011–2016, companies operating in Geekdom raised nearly $70 million and created 658 jobs. The 80/20 Foundation estimates that those investments have allowed local companies to serve over 78,000 customers.
Viewing the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through the lens of a community economy — one in which each business takes advantage of what the city has to offer and gives back to other local businesses — remains our most important takeaway from San Antonio Startup week. We heard from other founders who share our belief in the importance of growing the community at large.
Here’s what we mean. Since moving from Austin last year, FunnelAI has benefited greatly from San Antonio’s resources. We have participated in the RealCo accelerator, raised a pre-seed investment from San Antonio from Geekdom Fund, Active Capital and Alamo Angels. Our team has also hired employees from Codeup and provided opportunities for students from Trinity and UTSA to help them and our company grow. Through the weekly AI meetup we sponsor and the partnerships we’re building with local academic institutions, FunnelAI working to help the community grow. As a result, our team thinks more about the circular nature of connections and growth that we as a startup can create by being integral to the startup economy.
FunnelAI encourages others to think in the same way. As San Antonio becomes hub for investment for startups and empowers its communities to be futuristic and opportunistic, startup founders will feel more confident in their ability to grow in our city. A stronger ecosystem will result in companies moving to the city, create opportunities for partnerships between new companies, and promote a collaborative energy that everyone can benefit from.
Here’s the upshot: San Antonio has immense advantages unlocked each day by companies that focus on building the city’s ecosystem. FunnelAI looks forward to growing with the city, and helping build its integrated economy.