Techstars Director Expects Future Growth in San Antonio

After the recent TechStars program in San Antonio was finished, Matt Scherer, our San Antonio correspondent, got to speak to Jason Seats, the managing director of the TechStars Cloud program. Here’s his interview with Seats, the co-founder of Slice Hosting.

Question: How did San Antonio become the home for the Techstars program?
Rackspace has been a fantastic national sponsor for TechStars for some time, supplying free hosting as a ‘perk’ for TechStars companies. Via that relationship, David Cohen, the CEO of TechStars got to know Graham Weston, chairman of Rackspace and the two of them hatched the idea for expanding in TechStars with a ‘thematic’ programaround cloud technologies. Because of the eager pool of mentors and investors around Cloud and infrastructure both within and around Rackspace, San Antonio seemed like a natural fit for launching the initiative.

Question: You and others mentored 11 companies in this program. What did you learn from this experience?
I learned how much I have to learn! Seriously, I’m certain I got as much out of the program as our 11 companies did. The hallmark of a good mentor relationship is bi-directional learning and I got that in spades. Every company and every situation is full of opportunity. Being highly technical companies, we had lots of companies using the latest and greatest software technologies, which is great to see, but I also got to learn
plenty helping them position and message their businesses both for technical and non-technical audiences.

Question: Your program was the first to focus on cloud computing issues. Will the next program also focus on this or will it expand to other areas?
We will continue into 2013 as a thematic program. Expect big things from TechStars Cloud 2013.

Question: What can San Antonio do to continue funding programs like these, especially ones that bring together investors from other Texas communities such as Austin, Houston and Dallas?
Show up. The most important thing San Antonio can do to foster TechStars and startups in San Antonio is to be visible, be accessible and put your money to work. A startup ecosystem is a living creature and it has to be fed and cared for to survive. In fact I’ll go a step beyond that and say it has to be loved in order to thrive. The other TechStarslocations (Boulder, Boston, Seattle and NY) are a model for us to emulate. The
engagement and interest in the local investors in supporting the program is off the charts. I believe we have the ingredients we need to be just like them, we just have to do it.

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