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Application Deadline: September 3, 2021


Investing in San Antonio’s Technology Ecosystem.

With $100,000 in prize money and a focus on helping emerging tech-based startups accelerate the growth of their business, TechFuel is Greater San Antonio’s largest cash prize pitch competition. TechFuel is sponsored by the Bexar County Economic & Community Development department and will be hosted by Tech Bloc during the 2021 San Antonio Startup Week conference.


Tech startups located throughout Texas that meet the below eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to apply prior to the application deadline of September 3, 2021. All applications will be reviewed and screened by the Tech Fuel Selection Committee. The selection committee will determine which applicants advance to the semi-final round of 25 competitors based on the following criteria from their submitted applications:

  • Meeting all necessary competition eligibility requirements
  • Leadership - Does the team have the ability to reach the next level of success?
  • Business Model - Is the revenue model realistic and sustainable?
  • Execution - Are there strong growth metrics or measurable traction?
  • Jobs - If success continues and scales, will this create more jobs?
  • Quality of submitted responses in application

Semi-finalists will then be randomly assigned into one of five groups (designated as Groups A, B, C, D, or E) to participate in a second round of in-person screening with your group’s judging panel. Each group will be comprised of 5 semi-finalist teams and every semi-finalist will deliver a live 5-minute pitch and a 5-minute Q&A session to your group’s judging panel.

All semi-finalists will participate in one of the following days (likely via remote virtual sessions over Zoom):

  • Monday, September 20: Group A & B Private Judging Round and Q&A Session
  • Tuesday, September 21: Group C & D Private Judging Round and Q&A Session
  • Wednesday, September 22: Group E Private Judging Round and Q&A Session
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How It Works

Structure Chart

competition details

A finalist from each group will be selected by their judging panel to advance to the final round of the competition. The 5 finalists will be awarded $2,500 each and will then compete for the Judges' Grand Prize of $50,000 live on October 14, 2021. 

The TechFuel Showcase finalists will deliver a 5-minute pitch and have a 5-minute Q&A session with a panel of 5 judges. Judges will then deliberate to select the Judges' Grand Prize of $50,000 winner, and 1st runner up. A live audience poll will be conducted to select the winners of the remaining prizes and awards of special recognition.  

Grand Prize grand prize $50,000
runner up
Runner Up
Honorable Mention $7,500


What types of tech companies should apply?

Applicants for consideration should:

  • Be a tech startup that is headquartered or primarily based in the state of Texas
  • Be a properly registered business entity recognized by the state of Texas
  • Have received less than $2.0M from 3rd-party investors
  • Generate less than $2.0M in annualized revenue
  • Have a product/service that is live, OR an MVP that has recently launched within the last 6 months, and 
  • Has measurable performance metrics such as revenue, customers, or successful beta testing results
  • If selected as a finalist prize winner, be able to maintain a company presence (office or remote employee) within Bexar County for a minimum of 6 months after prize money award date.
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Are there any application entry fees?

No, the application for the TechFuel Pitch Competition is completely free.

What is the definition of a “tech startup” for this competition?

For this competition, we’re considering a “tech startup” to be any for-profit company whose purpose is to bring technology products or services to market. These companies deliver new technology products / services or deliver existing technology products or services in new ways. If you’re unsure if you should apply, please contact us (here) and we’ll be happy to help you out!

When is the deadline to submit our application?

Applications must be received by 11:59pm CDT on Friday, September 3, 2021.

How long will it take to fill out this application?

The application should take roughly 20 - 30 minutes to complete.

Is the prize money really cash or is it in some form of an investment note / agreement?

The winners of the TechFuel competition will receive non-dilutive, cash prizes. The only stipulation to receiving the cash prize is that any winning team must be able to maintain a company presence within Bexar County for a minimum of 6 months following the prize money award date.

Do I have to submit a pitch deck?

It’s not a requirement but it is highly recommended to submit a pitch deck with your application. The first round screening process does consider the quality of your overall application answers and any submitted material in its decision-making process.

We’ve already raised some money for our startup. Can we still apply to the competition?

Yes! The only stipulation is that you have not raised more than $1,000,000 through 3rd party investors (friends & family, angels, seed round, etc.).

What are the titles of recognition?

Separate from the cash prizes, the TechFuel audience will also vote to recognize the finalists in three specific categories - Most Innovative, Best Pitch, and Most Promising. 

What happens if I’m a semi-finalist but can’t travel to San Antonio?

The semi-final pitch reviews by the judging panels will be conducted remotely over virtual Zoom calls. Travel to San Antonio during the semi-final round is not required at this time.

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