NEXTGEN Code Company CEO's hustle expands technology-based solutions for businesses
When J.P. Valadez was a kid, playing computer games wasn't enough for him. His passion was understanding how they work. His hustle ever since then has been about the game-changing impact that technology can create. The Texas Tech alum entrepreneur is helping businesses benefit from that through NEXTGEN Code Company. He's the CEO and co-founded the Hub tenant startup in February 2018.
Solving problems, creating value
"Growing up around computers made me insatiably curious about them," Valadez says. "My father is an entrepreneur and retired electrical engineer. He was constantly designing chips, schematics, and things like that. He guided me from an early age. I kept on investigating and teaching myself, too," he adds. Sim City was one of the computer games that fascinated Valadez. He says,"Eventually, my new game became coding. I realized from both activities that there's so much satisfaction that comes with being able to solve challenging problems and build things, especially if you're creating value for somebody." By the time he was a teenager, Valadez was a technology entrepreneur building websites for friends and small businesses. Later he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in management information systems. "I've always been interested in how the things that I knew as a coder fit into business and could help other businesses," he says. "Going through the Rawls (College of Business) program helped me understand complexities technology can solve."
The genesis of NEXTGEN
NEXTGEN's startup story begins with a separate technology company called Townwave. Tyler Holden and a partner brought their idea for a social-based music discovery platform for up-and-coming artists to a Red Raider Startup program at the Hub in 2015. Holden recruited Valadez to be a third partner and developer after they met through a mutual friend in the entrepreneur community. Valadez explains, "A few years after Townwave launched, I talked to Tyler about building on that success. We co-founded NEXTGEN Code Company to create more platforms and help other entrepreneurs, including those at the Hub, bring their ideas to life."
Fostering entrepreneurship and computer engineers
Among the many startup entrepreneurs NEXTGEN is helping is 10-year-old Cooper Williams of Lubbock. The company donated its services to help him develop Freez!, an app that will track ice cream trucks and mobile food vendors. It was featured in a Hub Hustle blog in July. Valadez says, "I especially love helping people like Cooper develop ideas. If you put young minds in the right environment they will learn and maybe even come up with new innovations in technology. The earlier you start the better. What we're doing here fosters entrepreneurship," he says.
Low-cost hybrid apps, website development, machine learning, and internal business platforms are just some of the services NEXTGEN offers. Valadez says NEXTGEN's main hurdle is finding more employees with the required skill sets to meet increasing demand. He says the company wants to grow its team. It also wants to help grow the leading-edge computer technology community here. "We want to find more engineers and programmers, hopefully offer more internships to high school and college students who want to code, and maybe even create a training program to expand the local pipeline a lot faster," Valadez says.