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Texas Investing in Area Tech Firms
July 16, 2009

By David Hendricks – San Antonio Express-News

(SAN ANTONIO) – The state of Texas is investing $8.65 million in five San Antonio area technology companies, four of them in the biosciences sector, state and local officials announced Wednesday.

The investments come from the state's Emerging Technology Fund and are intended to help the companies turn new technologies into products for the market.

Since the Emerging Technology Fund was created in 2005, 14 San Antonio area companies have received $27.65 million in state investments, said Jim Poage, president and chief executive of the San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative. SATAI worked with the companies on their application for the state investments.

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, announced the investments along with Poage.

More San Antonio companies soon will receive investments from the Emerging Technology Fund, added Poage, who also is president and CEO of the South Texas Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization. STRCIC is one of seven regional agents that screen applicants for Emerging Technology Fund investments and encourage research partnerships.

The founders of the five companies already have placed their own money and private-sector investments in their companies. The Emerging Technology Fund investments give the state an equity position within the startup companies.

The companies “will turn the investments into high-paying salaries,” said David Spencer, a former chairman of the statewide Emerging Technology Fund advisory committee. “Profits are the icing on the cake, but we already win in San Antonio whether they make a profit or not.”

Emerging Technology Fund investments also reduce the risks for area private investors because the state will share the risks. That should encourage more private investors to increase their financing, Spencer said.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the investments are more important than announcements of new companies moving to San Antonio because the area “is growing its home companies.”

“We have all of this fantastic research going on here,” added Mayor Julián Castro. “The challenge has always been to commercialize that research, to get the funding at the right time and at the right pressure points.”

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