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Texas Bio and Tech Hub Looks to Help Global Startups Gain Velocity

Xconomy Texas — 

San Antonio — VelocityTX, the recently established resource center for entrepreneurs and startups in San Antonio, may have its eyes on bringing businesses from around the world to the U.S., and possibly to the Alamo City.

The organization, which launched in September, announced it is starting a “Global Reach” program to identify companies in emerging markets that are interested in placing operations in the U.S., according to a prepared statement from David Fonseca, vice president of global development for VelocityTX. VelocityTX announced this morning that it plans to collaborate with a bioscience incubator run by a research university in Valdivia, Chile—its first effort in the Global Reach program.

“Whether funding your company or expansions into new markets (especially international companies coming to the USA) or an investor looking for great deal flow, VelocityTX is here,” the organization wrote in a news release. “The Global Reach program allows us to identify validated companies in emerging markets that have an interest in having a footprint in the USA,” Fonseca said in the statement.

The Chliean incubator, Austral Incuba, is operated by Austral University, a research institution founded in 1954 that has globally ranked programs in agriculture and medicine, according to the website Top Universities. Austral Incuba takes potential startups through three stages of development, while along the way providing access to mentors, other experts, and business networking opportunities, according to its website. The program has an emphasis on biotechnology.

Austral Incbua also has a seed fund that can provide companies with as much as $120,000 in two stages of funding. Called the Flexible Use Seed Fund, it is managed by Austral Incuba and co-financed by Corfo, the Chilean economic development agency, the incubator says. From 2005 to 2015, Austral Incuba created 82 companies that have had total sales of about $7 million, according to the incubator’s website.

VelocityTX didn’t revealed many additional details about when, how, or why it will work with the Chilean incubator program or any other programs, other than indicating an interest in bringing more business to San Antonio. The organization hasn’t responded to a request for additional details.

“The key vision of both VelocityTX and Austral Incuba match up with the concept of connecting, adding value and investing in entrepreneurs from Chile and around the world,” VelocityTX wrote in the news release.

The Texas Research & Technology Foundation, a bioscience and technology economic development group in San Antonio known as TRTF, announced last month that it is launching VelocityTX to be a “superhub” for entrepreneurs and startups. The organization plans to provide capital, mentorship, access to manufacturing facilities, and other resources to startups and early stage companies in town that are seeking to grow quickly. It is initially focusing on biosciences, cybersecurity, and other emerging technologies.

TRTF purchased an industrial complex in September that has more than 110,000 square feet of building space across five structures to house VelocityTX, according to a press release. The structures sit on almost five acres of land. In addition to the facilities and mentorship, companies may be able to qualify for funding from the group.

VelocityTX CEO Jorge Varela told Xconomy in September they plan to develop programs that fill in gaps to help entrepreneurs. The way VelocityTX delivers its programming will be what differentiates it from other incubators.

“What we want to be is an exchange for everything, a connective tissue, if you will, for the community,” Varela said in a telephone interview, declining to provide further detail until a later date.