Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort Kick-Off

 

Recently Silicon Valley Latino had the pleasure of attending the Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort Kick-Off where the 2015 Spring Class was presented to the community. This time the Kick-Off was hosted by Ernst & Young at their San Jose offices and it featured five exciting new start-ups.

AMG_1062Dream Tuner – out of Miami, Fl, is a platform dedicated to helping independent and unsigned musicians achieve their dreams,

MakeMyQuince – out Sacramento, Ca, is the first solution to bring online planning tools and crowd-funding to Quinceaneras

 

Shovel Apps –out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a flexible open source CMS and App Maker that lets you create awesome mobile applications for Andriod and IOS without coding skills

SmileyGo – out of Berkeley, Ca, is a social enterprise that connects businesses and non-profits via its technological platform

The Exchange – out of San Francisco, Ca, is creating synergy between digital and physical realities through wearable technology.

 

Over the next few weeks we will feature each of these start-ups one at a time so stay tuned!

Building Silicon Valley, one custom home at a time!

 

Recently, Silicon Valley Latino had the opportunity to visit one of the Bay Area’s premier builders in his own custom-designed home. By spending an afternoon with the Owner of R.J. Perez Construction, we not only learned what has made him a successful builder for the past 23 years, but we also discovered his other passion, cooking. Rich is passionate yet focused and he attributes his strong work ethic to his Mexican father and his Korean mother. It is this commitment to excellence that has brought him much success and recognition in the Valley as a premier builder.

Rich Perez Rich discovered his talent and passion for architecture, design and construction early on. In the mid-1980s Rich started his career by becoming a carpenter’s apprentice. With the required number of years of hands-on experience under his belt, he obtained his contractor’s license and began remodeling homes in Los Altos. R.J. Perez Construction has established a brand for building beautiful high-end homes in Los Altos and throughout Santa Clara County. With his unique and comprehensive range of styles, he designs and builds his clients the luxurious, high-end home of their dreams.

Much of the company’s success can be attributed to the team’s ability to guide clients through the actual design of their prospective dream home. Rich is also well known for his signature style of working closely with architects and engineers, ensuring that the vision of the home owner is met and that the project moves forward smoothly while keeping costs under budget. “My strength as a builder is envisioning the finished product,” says Rich. This vision enables him to stay active during the preliminary stage of architectural drawings, where he is able to assess his clients’ needs as they go through the design and construction phases.

A significant feature of any Perez built home is the kitchen. “The kitchen is the focal point of every home we build. We will typically start with the kitchen and design the rest of the home around this space,” says Rich. “We like to build homes for families who entertain. We don’t want to exclude the cook by hiding him or her from the guests; we open up the kitchen so everyone can have a hand in the cooking process together. We also like to have the kitchen open to the backyard so that barbecues and outside functions are easy to enjoy,” says Rich. As a result of his high-end designs, he has established a new brand and is now designing most homes under the name “Perezidential Homes.”

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Rich’s enthusiasm and passion for the kitchen comes from his childhood. “My dad, Frank Paul Perez, was a one of the early Hispanic Mess Sergeant’s; back then there were not many Latinos in the Army and my mother, Su Ku Moon, was a fabulous cook” says Rich. Rich himself worked as a cook throughout college, so he brings practical applications to every kitchen he designs. Every element is carefully examined, from the placement of the recycling bins and trash compactors to the measurement of the countertops and dishwashers.

“Flow and functionality is the key to a Perez home, but it starts in the kitchen. It’s important to make the kitchen look great and practical to work in,” commented Rich. “Ideal placement of appliances is the important to create an effective and efficient workstation.”

Other distinctive characteristics of a Perez home include a lack of barriers for lots of open space, high ceilings throughout, a lot of windows for natural lighting and the ability to flow throughout. A signature trademark of a Perez home design is the attention to the tiniest of details from the framing stage to the interior finishes.

Perez homes are also pre-wired with cable, networking and phone capabilities. They also feature an unforgettable home theater system, which can be built into more than one room, depending on the size of the home and needs of the homeowner.

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One area that R.J. Perez Construction is very proud of and happy to be recognized for is the construction of “lower living” spaces. They have been very successful in digging out lots and creating additional room below – what was once called a basement is now called lower living. They dig deep to allow for nine to ten-foot ceilings and open floor plans, allowing the homeowner to have a three story home – one lower and two up above – or allowing flexibility of having a two-story home in a single-story neighborhood. The demand for lower living spaces came from people who wanted to build larger homes but couldn’t due to limited shrinking lot coverage. With the creation of lower living, the homeowner is able to work around the lot coverage restrictions while still gaining the square footage and desired living space” notes Rich.

In the last 25 years, R.J Perez Construction has assembled an “A” team of stellar employees, subcontractors and suppliers. For that reason, the ensemble has been highly efficient with their building projects. With a select team of 20 employees, they are proud of being a boutique builder. “It has always been important that we maintain our high quality standards and sustain the positive brand that we’ve developed over the years,” comments Rich. With a focused emphasis on superior service to the client and attention to detail, the final product is always a big hit amongst clients and beyond. I believe this is one of the many reasons why we’ve managed to be in demand even in economically challenging times.

The kitchen in Rich’s own home is large enough and has enough amenities to be in a restaurant. When he is not working with new home designs Rich spends his time in the kitchen cooking for friends and family. Creativity spills over to the kitchen as Rich enjoys creating new versions of traditional favorites of Mexican and Korean foods and also healthier versions of popular recipes. On Superbowl Sundays especially, you can expect to find a house full of guests enjoying a buffet of different types of meats and signature sides in the beautiful kitchen living room space.

While it is evident that Rich’s two passions are building exceptional living spaces and cooking great food, it seems that a restaurant could be next…

High Growth Entrepreneurs – the Search is ON!

 

There’s more to being an entrepreneur than blood, sweat and tears. Yes, entrepreneurs drive relentlessly toward their goals, adding jobs and prosperity to the economy. But even the most dedicated need to take time out to recognize how far they have come to achieve success.

That moment has arrived.

On Friday, January 30, EY announced that nominations are open for its Entrepreneur Of The Year™ awards at an event that featured San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. Surrounded by past award recipients, award sponsors, and other business leaders, Ernst & Young LLP partner and SVL Executive Cultura Ambassador, Ernie Cortes, said the search is on for the top entrepreneurs in Northern California.

EY, Entrepreneur of the YearCortes, who is also the award program’s director, said, “EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year™ is not just an awards program, it is an ongoing network of top leaders. Once you compete, you’re part of an elite group that helps get business done as investors, employees and customers take notice.”

Mayor Sam Liccardo agreed. In a statement, Liccardo said, “The San José/Silicon Valley region is the birthplace for innovations that drive the global economy. The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ award celebrates the vision and passion needed for the long-term success of our region. ”

Each year, EY showcases successful entrepreneurs from more than 145 cities in 60 countries. Past Northern California winners include Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn Corporation);  Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google, Inc); Nick Woodman (GoPro); Lisa Im (Performant Financial); Hamid Moghadam (Prologis); and David Hung, MD (Medivation).

The regional award winners will be announced on June 11, 2015. To qualify, entrepreneurs must be the founder or an executive who organizes, manages and assumes the “educated” risks of a business or enterprise in the company’s life or development and are active in the leadership of the company. The deadline for 2015 nominations is March 6, 2015. To learn more, go to www.ey.com/us/eoy/norcal

Chilean/Spaniard Business Networking App startup – LaunchCard

 

We are glad to present these two latinos and their startup from a brief get together we were able to have in Santiago, Chile.

This business networking app startup looks to expand into all markets in the USA by allowing you to find the type of event you are looking for and then connect with like minded folks at those events.

 

What inspired you to come up with this idea? What problem are you trying to solve?

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Initially the problem that inspired us to develop Launchcard was born with our constant taste for attending business and entrepreneurship events in the cities where we traveled. We realized that there was a tool missing that was 100% mobile and that would let us know what events were occurring in the city during our stays. We also wanted to identify, in real time, during the course of these events with other people with like-minded tastes and interests so that businesses opportunities could flourish.

Thus was born Launchcard, as a social tool that, with just a few clicks, we can discover events and people with like-minded tastes and interests to improve business opportunities.

What’s your business model and how do you plan to monetize?

We began operating in three countries: United States, Chile and Spain. Specifically in the city of San Francisco, CA, Santiago de Chile and Seville in Spain … we are allowing any event organizer to publish their events, for free, in our application by entering their event via our website. They can post launchcard your event, increase the diffusion of your event throughout the city through our application as a new distribution channel and thus also increasing ticket sales.

Launchcard also has a powerful Analitycs, networking and social tools for event organizers to interact with their assistants. We are able to lift data and metrics from the interactions that people make via launchcard during the events and provide this information to the event managers.

We will charge a fee on the sale of tickets via the application and receive payment from organizations that hire the Analitycs and social tools to interact with the attendees, before, during and after the event.

How are you different from your competition?

Our most direct competitors are Bizzabo, and we seek to provide a better experience for both event organizers and attendees. We want to give organizers a complete analysis of all the networking that is going on during the event. Besides offering competitive pricing and service we at launchcard seek real change in how our analysis will give you an in depth understanding of what is going on within your venue.

Where do you see your business in one (to three) year (s)?

We hope to be operating in various cities around the world. We want Launchcard to become a trend within mobile applications and among users to become a global service. Adding value to millions of people around the world as an established and highly accessible service.

10634086_10204670800788832_7301566463002696690_oWho are your partners (business partners, co-founders, etc)?

In Launchcard we are two partners co-founders,

José Pérez Rivas, (31) (CTO). Spanish currently living in Sevilla, Spain. Who runs the technical development of our service.  And Sergio Povea Sáez (27) (CEO). A Chilean currently living between Chile and California.

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Have you Received any investments? From Whom? For how much?

To date we develop our service with our own funds and with the support and guidance of a startup studio located in the city of Oakland, called Devla.bs which has played an important role incubating us.  Our plans, within the coming months, is to go for our first round of fundraising in California.

What is your biggest challenge?

We believe that our greatest challenge is to turn Launchcard into an essential service which offers a great value to our users. We want to improve the way people connect and do business networking everyday and everywhere.

Everything goes back to Launchcard becoming a global trend.

What advice would you provide to other emerging Latino tech entrepreneurs?

Do not give up, do not stop for anything, to pursue their ideas, their dreams … seeking opportunities and areas for development and growth. The growth of people is directly related to how you relate to others. Learn to appreciate the connections and relationships. And always consider the opportunities that are born by adding value to those around you.

 

Manos Accelerator highlighted in Latino Magazine

 

Chipsafer from Uruguay takes home $30,000 IDB prize

 

This past week in Washington, DC the Inter-American Development Bank brought together the most innovative and game changing Latin American startups to pitch their companies.  Victoria Alonsopérez an electronics engineer and communications  professional from Uruguay took home the grand prize as the Most Innovative startup of Latin America & Carribean with a prize of $30,000 USD for her startup Chipsafer.

victoria alonsoperezc

 

Chipsafer allows farmers to track and detect early anomalies in cattle behavior in real time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a list of the other participants:

Technology Innovation with biggest impact:

Sokotext (Colombia) – Allows micro businesses to create virtual groups via cell phones to purchase and sell at wholesale prices.

Livox (Brasil) – Is an app for tablets that facilitates communcation.

Most creative startup:

plataforma saude (Brasil) –  A social impact platform that allows users to monitor 15 of the most common chronic sicknesses (non contagious) with results in about 20 minutes

Best presentation:

Acámica (Argentina) – A learning platform that gives students not only traditional education but also what they will need in the future to obtain a job.

Best possibilities for expansion:

Digital Partners (Guatemala) – Games that preserve cultural sites and promotes financial literacy

Criptext (Panamá) – Secured email service for large companies.

Performance with a Purpose:

Acuacare (Colombia) – Creator of low cost housing for rural areas that include water treatment that use worms to clean the water.

 

If you have a startup that needs our attention please let us know.  What did you think of these?

 

 

Laura I. Gomez interview on USA Today!

 

 

Manos Accelerator recognized by LATISM as best in class 2014!

Chilean startup Lab4U wins Intel Global Challenge 2014

For the second year in a row a Chilean startup has walked away with the Intel Global Challenge grand prize.
Let’s give them a big hand in bringing this educational tool to all who have a tablet or smartphone.

Simon Vielma of Listar

This week in Dublin Ireland some of the most powerful players in tech will congregate in this northern country for what is known as the the best technology conference on the planet”

 

Attending this event to pitch their company that was selected as one of the few is this weeks highlighted tech entrepreneur Simon Vielma, a Venezuelan living in Miami, founder of Listar an ecommerce and social networking site that allows friends, family and public to discover products via tagged photos, blog posts, shareable lists and much more.

 

You may ask how does Simon fit into all of this? Well, he founded Listar after an experimental social app that he created for Amazon generated more than a quarter million dollars in sales in the first month of launch.

 

We are wishing him the best in his pitch and don’t forget to check out his site here

Listar