Geekdom Community Fund
Co-working space Geekdom on Friday announced the first recipients of its new Geekdom Community Fund, a seed fund for Geekdom-member startups. Alberto Piña, left, holds a $10,000 check awarded to Braustin Mobile Homes and Julia Bates, right, accepts a $10,000 check on behalf of Mello{be}. Credit: JJ Velasquez / San Antonio Report

Geekdom awarded two $10,000 checks Friday to member startups – double the number of recipients the co-working space was slated to give when it launched its new community fund.

Braustin Mobile Homes, a virtual mobile-home dealership that sells manufactured housing stock via an app, and Mello{be}, which makes a meditation cushion that improves posture, received the seed funding checks.

The Geekdom Community Fund was born out of a gap in local startup funding, Chief Executive Officer David Garcia Jr. said.

“We realized the startup community still needed a little bit of spark to get them to the next starting point in their journey,” Garcia said. “That’s when we decided we wanted to start a community fund to do just that.”

When Geekdom launched the fund in February, the plan was to give one check a month. After a “tough deliberation,” the Geekdom team could not settle on just one recipient, Programs Director Anna Gutierrez said.

Braustin Mobile Homes and Mello{be} were among six finalists considered. To be eligible, a recipient must be a Geekdom member in good standing, establish membership for 90 days prior to applying, have a legally formed company, and be contributing members of the Geekdom community.

Gutierrez encouraged those who missed out on the seed funding during this round to apply again. The community fund seed money is scheduled to be awarded monthly, and applications for April’s $10,000 check open on Monday. The winner will be revealed April 30.

Braustin Mobile Homes began developing its product last June, said Alberto Piña, president and co-founder. The company ran the first test of its app at the end of January.

Piña said his startup’s mission is to help connect residents age 30 and under in San Antonio with affordable housing — whether it’s a traditional mobile home or other manufactured housing product, such as tiny homes.

“Millennials are not buying homes at the rate of previous generations,” Piña said. “We want to make sure our generation isn’t left out of the opportunity to be homeowners.”

Mellow{be} founder Julia Bates began her venture as a remedy for her and her daughter’s chronic pain. The registered nurse said she developed the sitting cushion to straighten her posture and improve her meditation practice. She also teaches mindful meditation.

Mello{be} has been selling its cushions and mats via its online shop.

Bates, who pitched her idea at a Geekdom three-day startup event at which she won third place, said the $10,000 will help the startup break into national retail stores.

The money also will help Bates design a kids’ line of products as well as some with university logos, such as the University of Texas, she said.

“I have a lot of ideas, so this money is going to get that started,” Bates said.

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.