CoWork Oasis spurs innovation for tech startups in El Paso

Taken from the UTEP The Prospector article by Michaela Román on December 04, 2017.

El Paso’s own Silicon Valley has emerged downtown. Now heading into their fifth month open, CoWork Oasis is a space for those interested in the world of tech to work together and gain traction from national investors. 

Tech startups have become the cheapest startups to get off the ground, thanks to cloud platforms such as Amazon and Google, which all offer cost-affordable ways to market and sustain apps.   

CoWork Oasis began with a meeting between venture capitalists Robert Herrera and Beto Pallares.

“I was visiting El Paso from LA, and I said what does a venture capitalist invest in here? There’s nothing to invest in here,” Herrera said.   

CoWork Oasis is located at 114 Texas Ave. in the center of downtown and includes a kitchen, living room, showers and other amenities for a 24-hour working space. There are also conference rooms for meetings, but the space is purposely designed with no offices as a way to better connect with one another.    

“The goal of this is to help startups get better funding, not just from El Paso investors but from external investors,” Herrera explained. “The only way that El Paso’s wealth can increase is through high-growth startups that are successful and a lot of other cities are doing this to spur innovation, but we don’t see a lot of that here, so we wanted to help spur that ourselves.”

Ivan Huerta, a computer science major looking to continue his degree at UTSA, is the CEO of Parabeac—an app that allows users to interact with their environment.

“If you go to one of the restaurants that we’re working with, you would walk in and it will ask you ‘are you sitting at this table?’ and the whole menu is there to select items and request refills,” Huerta said. 

Parabeac uses IoT (the Internet of Things) and beacons to function. Phones and tablets can be connected to the service of a restaurant and buy the signals the beacons send out, which are essentially Bluetooth. The beacons at the restaurant use a language to talk to the customer’s phones. 

When looking more into the technology of the devices, Huerta noticed there was a big convenience issue.

“We’ve actually had to do lots of testing because there’s not a lot of research on these technologies,” Huerta said. “Nobody has really set a standard for it. Google has tried, Apple has tried, but no one has really hit a groundbreaking point for the technology yet.”

Brands of El Paso is a sector of Brands of, a Puerto Rico based e-commerce platform, which serves as a middle ground for small business owners to market their products globally. The app caters to local entrepreneurs who want to sell products such as t-shirts, jewelry and anything small enough to ship.

Anna Jacques, regional manager for Brands of El Paso, uses CoWork Oasis to meet with companies and recruit them to sell their product on the app.

“Knowing that we’re working out of this space gives us credibility,” Jacques said.

Pallares is working to recruit other El Paso startups and provide them with resources at the coworking space.

“The reason I particularly like tech is because tech has the ability to create wealth much faster and rapidly larger than many other things,” Pallares said. “It also has a much higher failure rate.”

Pallares said the way to avoid that failure rate is by stopping the problem before it happens. He hopes to see innovative startups begin to emerge in the next three to five years.

“It takes a lot longer than people think and you’re probably not going to make money at the beginning right away,” Herrera said. “The reality is it takes a lot of time to get to that first customer.”

Additionally, the business incubator offers the possibility of daily and weekly networking opportunities to further grow the entrepreneurial community in El Paso.

CoWork Oasis rates start at $3 per hour or $150 per month. For more information, you can visit

Michaela Román may be reached at

CoWork Oasis Team Wins 1st place at RESET 2017 Hackathon

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017, a binational technology conference known as RESET was held in the local Juarez/El Paso area across two days, Wed Nov 17 – Thu Nov 18, 2017.

A team comprised of 3 CoWork Oasis members, Byrl Hunt Burdick IV, Eddie Herrera, Ivan Huerta participated in RESET’s first Security-a-thon, focusing on a solution that utilized a combination of Ethereum Blockchain and beacon technology to help eliminate voter fraud. This is the first time security was a topic for the hackathon, and it was due to the SecurityNextGen Initiative.

The winners received a Nintendo Switch and accessories, which they have graciously donated back to CoWork Oasis to be used in the lounge area by all members. Additionally, the team has been invited to pitch again to a set of judges in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2018, in hopes of possibly obtaining startup capital to expand this beyond a fun hackathon project.

RESET was sponsored by BlackLabs, Transtelco, and TechnologyHUB Juarez.

CoWork Oasis co-founder’s startup, hatch, gets all four “sharks” at NMSU’s Aggie Shark Tank

Taken from the Las Cruces Sun-News article by Ali Linan on October 27, 2017.

LAS CRUCES – As the fifth and final presenter, Robert Herrera, co-founder and CEO of Hatch, was able to get a couple of sharks to bite, accepting a deal that would invest up to $200,000 in his company.

“Today we live in an interconnected world that none of us are ready for,” Herrera said.

Hatch is an encryption as a service product that would provide IoT hardware – a system of interrelated computing devices – and platforms with data encryption. It provides authentication and security to protect consumer’s data.

Presenters had five minutes to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of “sharks” as part of Aggie Shark Tank, which was held at the New Mexico State University Music Center’s Atkinson Recital Hall Thursday.

Herrera described the need for the device as keys to a home, where there is one key to a home but copies of the key could get into the wrong hands. There is also the chance that there are two keys, where the second one is “under the mat” and is easily susceptible to being used by anyone.

Hatch would fix this problem by using a method of encryption that would change the passwords to access daily.

“It’s like you’re getting a locksmith to your house every day to not only change your keys but also the locks,” Herrera said.

The encryption would be faster than hackers can keep up with, while also being cheap enough to be a part of everyday products without taking up a lot of memory.

All four sharks thought Herrera’s product was the most investment-worthy product of the evening, and the most timely.

Two sharks — Estela Hernandez, an enterprise advisor at Arrowhead Center at NMSU, and Beto Pallares-Venegas, managing director and co-founder of Cowork Oasis, an innovation community for El Paso entrepreneurs — decided to bite, potentially each investing $100,000 in two $50,000 segments, barring other agreed upon conditions.

The other two sharks were real estate developer Mickey Clute and Sisbarro Dealerships owner Lou Sisbarro.

“This subject is right on, especially with Equifax having all kinds of issues with being broken into,” said Clute. “And this is getting down to the individual level.”