A group of women walks to a Tech Trek event at Geekdom Event Centre.
A group of women walks to a Tech Trek event at Geekdom Event Centre. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Conversation and beer flowed Tuesday as techies and revelers got their second taste of San Antonio’s tech district during Fiesta.

Two stops and several companies were added this year to the Fiesta Tech Trek itinerary along Houston Street in the downtown tech corridor.

Organized by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Tech Bloc, and Geekdom, the second annual event featured technology demos, meet and greets, site tours, free food, adult beverages, and more. Geekdom staff estimate that more than 2,000 people participated in 2018’s edition – a notable increase from its inaugural year.

Kadence Collective, which provides automation for clients using the customer relations management platform Salesforce, was among this year’s newcomers to the Tech Trek.

Its principal consultant, Rob Martinez, helped found the company a few years ago; last month, Kadence moved from Boerne to a downtown office in the World Trade Center on Broadway Street.

“We saw the growth in the tech district, and it just made sense to come down here and be with our peers,” Martinez said.

Kadence is one of three startups in the World Trade Center. The company has 16 people working its San Antonio office – nine employees and seven contractors – and two in Austin.

Martinez said he anticipates more companies in and around San Antonio moving into the downtown tech district; he also predicts a migration of startups from cities such as Austin and Houston.

Kadence has six Codeup graduates in its ranks.

The coding bootcamp, which offers a full-time training course for aspiring software developers, offices in the Vogue Building, one of four major stops on the Tech Trek.

“We love being in the tech community and participating in events like this because you’ll notice we’re not a huge tech hub like Austin or Dallas,” said Yumi Jeon, director of marketing at Codeup. “But when we’re all together it definitely feels like it’s a huge community here. We are participating [in the Tech Trek] because we want to be part of the tech community as well as show people what is going on … not just at Codeup but with everything else at Scaleworks [and] with Kadence because without them there would be no Codeup.”

Easy Expunctions, also headquartered in the Vogue Building, was founded in Austin but moved to San Antonio after being enticed by economic development incentives from the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.

(From left) Catherine Lester and Yousef Kassim, Easy Expunctions CEO, greet one another at the Codeup office during Tech Trek.
(From left) Catherine Lester, founder and CEO of Company Voice Box, and Yousef Kassim, Easy Expunctions CEO, greet one another at the Codeup office during Tech Trek. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

“It was not a hard sell,” CEO and founder Yousef Kassim said.

Kassim said leaders at co-working space Geekdom approached him and floated the idea of bringing the jobs they were already slated to create to San Antonio in exchange for $150,000 in incentives from the City and County.

“It wasn’t as much the money as it was the support,” he said. “Being a disruptive company, it’s nice to have government agencies behind you, supporting you.”

That and the supportive and growing tech environment is a constant topic of discussion between him and other entrepreneurial-minded people looking to set up shop in San Antonio, he said.

Participants in the Tech Trek recognized the importance of providing the public with an inside look at the city’s burgeoning tech scene.

Kassim said he wasn’t surprised to see more participation in this year’s event.

As a participant in Tech Trek, “you get a better sense of the ecosystem,” he said. “It is interesting to see people who aren’t necessarily involved in the tech district want to get involved.”

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