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!

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

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?


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.




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 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


Latino Entrepreneurs Pitch Startups at Manos’ Demo Day


Yahoo! Headquarters served as the stage for a group of emerging Latino entrepreneurs on Wednesday.   They were there as part of Manos Accelerators “Demo day” to pitch their startups to a panel of judges and to a roomful of tech and finance professionals.  While the low representation of Latinos in Tech continues to be an issue for the industry, Wednesday’s event showed signs that people are starting to recognize that Latinos have the innovative ideas and technological skills to potentially create the next “big” startup.

Yahoo! Latinos Unidos Manos Accelerator Demo DayThe “Demo Day” was organized by the Latino Unidos group at Yahoo! and by the Manos Accelerator group, a mentorship-driven accelerator program that provides “education, business resources, infrastructure, capital, and guidance for promising startup companies led by Latinos.” Manos Accelerator was founded by Ed Avila, Sylvia Flores, and David Lopez (who happens to be Jennifer Lopez’s father) in 2013 and has so far put two cohorts through its 3-month program.   Many of the mentors who worked with the second cohort were in the audience, and, as Ed Avila told the crowd, “Much of what you will see here today is a product of mentoring and coaching.”


Drawing inspiration from personal experiences seemed to be the common theme shared by all of the “Demo Day” pitches.  The day got underway with CoupleCare, a company from Chihuahua, Mexico that helps couples who want to conceive with an app that tracks a woman’s fertility cycle.  The pitch started with a personal anecdote about what the CoupleCare founders discovered after moving to the states.  They noticed that while couples in Mexico were concerned with preventing pregnancy, here a large number of couples were spending “time and money on starting a family,” which is a typical situation in industrialized nations.  They used this insight as the basis for creating an app platform for couples and not just for women.

David Lopez Manos Accelerator

The second company to pitch was, which was founded by two seasoned entrepreneurs from Venezuela.  While living in their country, the founders observed how difficult it was for citizens of Venezuela to communicate their questions to influential leaders in government and business.  Recognizing that eliciting a response “from people of influence” is a problem that many people face around the world, they designed a platform that would allow users to pose their question and have other users vote for their questions.  The founder explained to the audience how it worked: “You create a question, you share it, you find votes and then the leader sees it.”


The founder and CEO of FashionTEQ, who was the only woman pitching that evening, was frank about how her personal experience inspired her to create wearable technology, stating, “I started fashion tech because I am an engineer and I am living in a woman’s world.”  She gave us a glimpse of her company’s newest product Zazzi, a pendant-like device that can be attached to necklaces, rings and bracelets, which provides notifications/vibrations when a special someone calls and keeps women discretely connected to their smartphones.  Not wanting to compromise beauty over functionality, she has partnered up with Swarovski for the next line of Zazzi.


A hunt for tacos during an ordinary lunch break was the inspiration for saySquare, a startup from Honduras that allows small businesses in developing countries to process financial transactions through a mobile payment platform.  The idea for the startup germinated when one of the founders failed to buy his lunch because the local taqueria in Honduras did not accept credit cards. He described the event as “lose-lose situation” because, as he joked, “the small business lost a sale, and I had lost my lunch.”  This situation is all too common in developing countries, he said, simply because “they don’t have a way of processing payments.”  For that reason, saySquare sees all of Latin America and the rest of the developing world as a potential market for their platform.


The last startup to pitch was Audive, a company that provides hobbyist musicians with the opportunity to collaborate and record with other hobbyists across the world. The experience of being a music lover and an immigrant in a new country had indirectly influenced the idea for Audive. As one of the founders explained, he had grown up playing guitar and “jamming” with his brother almost every week. However, once he moved to the U.S.A it was difficult for him to continue with this weekly ritual. He and his team decided to develop Audive so that music hobbyists can engage in real-time collaboration even if the users are geographically far apart from each other.

Nicole Sanchez at Manos Accelerator Demo Day


Sitting at the judges’ table were Roberto Ortiz, Director of Mobile Design at Yahoo!, Nicole Sanchez, the CEO and founder of Vaya Consulting, Rodrigo T. Garcia, founder of SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), and Sergio Monsalve, a partner from Norwest Ventures Partners. The distinguished panel of judges did not offer scorecards or prizes. Instead, they offered something much more valuable for entrepreneurs starting a company: feedback. While Ortiz was “looking for that magic user experience,” Sanchez was interested in hearing if the company had identified a problem that was experienced by enough people such “that it warrants a solution.”


SVL looks forward to following the progress of these startups and we will keep you posted on the next Latinos in tech event.