The isolation, stresses, fear of failure, and strains on entrepreneurs’ health, finances, and family members rarely come up in talks given by successful business founders.

As the technology community grows in San Antonio, so do the number of events geared toward helping entrepreneurs become more successful. What has been lacking until now is frank discussion about the painful personal realities of founding a startup company.

Startup Reality seeks to change this. The new speaker series will introduce local entrepreneurs who share both successes and struggles they experiences in their entrepreneurial journeys. Geekdom partnered with the RealCo Seed Fund Program to organize monthly talks that address the personal challenges many entrepreneurs may be grappling with, but are hesitant to share with colleagues.

The first event will take place on Aug. 21 from 4-6 p.m. at the Geekdom Event Centre. WiseWear founder and CEO Jerry Wilmink will be joined by clinical psychologist Lindsay Bira, and Teresa Evans, partner at the RealCo Seed Fund Program. Wilmink will share his personal story, with a panel discussion to follow on the clinical, scientific, and entrepreneurial insights into the mental health of startup founders.

To RSVP for Monday’s event, click here. The Mind Science Foundation is providing food and Alamo Beer is supplying beverages.

Evans said Wilmink’s story is one of the reasons she chose to join RealCo, where she works to help business founders succeed.

“I had shared my passion for this topic with Jerry,” Evans said. “When he reached out to me he said he wanted to share his story and asked that I help him do so through an event.”

Wilmink said he has seen many entrepreneurs have struggled with depression, anxiety, and addictions, and that some have even resorted to suicide.

“I felt compelled to share my story with fellow entrepreneurs and founders to help them know that they are not alone and that I am here to help,” Wilmink said. “I also wanted to create a forum where members of the community could help each other on the entrepreneurial journey.”

Bira agrees that a growing entrepreneurial community such as San Antonio’s merits an open forum for this type of conversation.

“Maintaining a business is stressful,” Bira said. “Stress triggers biological changes that can lead to a wide range of mental health symptoms and shame. My job is to make sure people understand how to channel struggles into healthier ways of being.”

This first event in the Startup Reality series will focus on Wilmink’s story as a founder struggling with personal issues. Other talks will touch upon similar topics – factors that impact the quality of life of startup founders and their immediate circle of family and friends, but are rarely discussed openly.

“Supporting founders on their journey to grow and scale highly successful companies includes mentorship beyond traditional business topics,” Evans said. “My hope is that Startup Reality will serve as a catalyst to create a culture of dialogue across the startup community about the realities founders face.”

Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez writes about technology, life science, and veteran affairs. She won the Texas Veterans Commission Media Excellence Awards for her 2016 Veterans Day story "Life as a Veteran: What Veterans...