The health care and bioscience industry – which employs one in six San Antonio workers and brought in about $37 billion to the San Antonio economy in 2015 – wants to get its geek on.

The inaugural HealthTech Bootcamp will take place May 11-13. At the event, local entrepreneurs will pitch to the health science community their ideas for improving health through technology – whether it’s wearables, mobile apps, or other software. The three-day weekend will culminate in a pitch day during which a panel of judges will select viable ideas to receive prizes such as legal services to establish companies, intellectual property legal services, and cash.

BioMed SA, one of the event’s sponsors, is a municipally supported nonprofit that aims to grow San Antonio’s healthcare and bioscience portfolio.

President Ann Stevens said the boot camp will help jumpstart activity in the health tech space. The event, which takes place at the Geekdom Event Centre in downtown’s tech district, provides an opportunity for the two industries – health care and tech – to collide.

“We are trying to expose Geekdom members and create collision between the bioscience industry and local [information technology] entrepreneurs,” Stevens said. “Opportunities are here, but the two industries have never come together in a big way like this before.”

Cynthia Phelps, of HEALTHeDesigns, founded the boot camp with an eye toward accomplishing that goal.

“We want to bring them into downtown Geekdom and put them into proximity with the tech people. And we want the tech people who know the health industry is booming … we want to introduce them to the healthcare people.”

Phelps tried unsuccessfully to establish that connection in the past, but there was little activity at the time. She said the city is now beginning to reach a critical mass in this space.

The boot camp will feature about 20 mentors working for companies such as health insurance provider Humana, local health tech software company AirStrip, and Crossfield Capital Ventures.

Applications are open through May 1. Applicants who have an idea for a healthtech startup and are looking for support to get their idea off the ground will be considered.

Organized by The Health Cell, which promotes professional development within the local healthcare industry, the bootcamp will also consider individuals who want to put their skills to use as a member of a team. Those who have already assembled a group are required to apply individually but indicate they part of a team.

Applying to the bootcamp is free, but applicants selected to participate will pay $150. Students will receive a discounted rate of $75. This will cover the cost of meals over the three-day startup competition.

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

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