The Tech Bloc logo illuminates the walls of the Pearl Stable. Photo by Scott Ball.
The Tech Bloc logo illuminates the walls of the Pearl Stable.

Five startups will compete for a $100,000 prize at an October pitch competition funded by Bexar County’s Innovation Fund.

Tech Bloc, a local tech industry trade association, called for applications Thursday to TechFuel, a Shark Tank-style competition designed to help spur growth for early-stage tech companies across the state.

Applications must be received by Sept. 23. Five finalists will be chosen to pitch a panel of judges at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 22. The event will coincide with San Antonio Startup Week, a weeklong event spotlighting the local startup scene.

This is the second iteration of TechFuel first held in 2016 with a $50,000 grand prize. The Bexar County Innovation Fund, a $1 million cache aimed at improving the local tech industry, also funded that year’s contest.

“In 2016, the County worked closely with TechBloc to develop the highly successful TechFuel pitch competition,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said in a press release. “Over 50 startups applied and the County awarded prizes to three great local, early-stage tech companies. We’ve been looking at different ways to improve on this competition and feel that an increase in the funding level will allow us to have a greater impact with this program, draw statewide attention to our startup community, and increase local and regional participation in our startup ecosystem. This is an important part of the mission of the innovation fund.”

Interested startups can visit Tech Bloc’s website to apply.

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