Luis Villa – SVL Cultura Ambassador

 

Silicon Valley Latino is proud to feature our newest Cultura Ambassador, Luis Villa from San Luis Potosí in Mexico. Luis is driven by his latest entrepreneurial endeavor Villa C. Luis and his wife Marisol recently visited with us here in Silicon Valley and we were thrilled to visit with him at Stanford University along with some iconic Silicon Valley institutions such as the Facebook and Google campuses. While pitching potential investors for Villa C, Luis was able to visit the Bay Area and not only meet with potential investors; he was also able to meet with other Cultura Ambassadors who offered him encouragement and support. Luis was able to be inspired first hand at one of Silicon Valley’s Inspire Higher Panel Discussions.

Bringing craftsmanship and unique designs from talent around the world and giving them a global stage in the marketplace is what Villa C is all about. The idea was hatched when Luis shared software design courses with fashion designers at The Universidad Interamericana para el Desarrollo. Luis quickly realized that the genius that toiled in the classroom needed a marketing and sales platform to feature such young amazing talent. He quickly started putting together Villa C. A marketplace for International, young designers.

The idea is to take the necessary steps in finding quality, locally made garments and presenting them through their e-commerce website in a way that’s fair to market and in a way that gives merchandise a sophisticated brand look. The Villa C website coordinates taylor-made solutions for custom garments direct to customers.

Through Villa C, designers will have access to key distribution, manufacturing and collaboration tools and services normally available only in more sophisticated supply chain solutions.

Luis Villa and his start up Villa C are dedicated to offering unique designs from custom designers around the world. This revolutionary idea helps them reach an audience looking for locally made and hard to find goods in a new global market place. His venture is well underway and he certainly has bright horizons ahead as Villa C is expected to officially be launching soon, including the possibility of participating in the next Boot Camp at Manos Accelerator. Manos Accelerator is a mentorship-driven accelerator program that provides “hands-on” education, business resources, infrastructure, capital, and guidance for promising Latino led startup companies, moving them towards a fast track to success.

We are excited to share this journey with all our Cultura Ambassadors. Stay tuned for more exciting news on Luis Villa and Villa C.

 

 

SmileyGo bringing smiles to Nonprofits & Corporations

 

SmileyGo (smileygo.org)

  1. What’s your elevator pitch? What problem are you trying to solve?

SmileyGo (www.smileygo.org) is the tech platform that is integrating the corporate world with the nonprofit sector, matching the philanthropic needs of a company with the requests of a nonprofit. We are creating opportunities to bring positive results in the fulfillment of CSR efforts and societal needs across the globe.

So, what is the problem? Nonprofits spend more than 40% of their time plus an allocated percentage of their budget on fundraising, which often distracts them from focusing on their mission. At the same time, companies spend a tremendous amount of time and money on PR and marketing, often searching for nonprofit alliances and community outreach opportunities to align their brand with. This diverts their focus from meeting and exceeding their customer’s needs and expectations. Ultimately, Corporate Philanthropy is difficult work and that is why we are working on a product that will automate and facilitate this process, while maximizing social impact on a global scale.

Via SmileyGo, we are streamlining the CSR process and helping companies do philanthropy more efficiently, via our low-cost, online platform, while generating greater social impact and smiles around the world.

SmileyGo at Manos Accelerator launch

  1. Is this your first start-up venture?

SmileyGo is the first for-profit global venture for many of us. Having a diverse team working together to solve a global problem, we all bring different experiences to our team, and most importantly, we all share a passion for helping others make the world a better place. Pedro started a non-profit when he was 16 during high school: www.yatayperu.com, a social enterprise connects teachers in American Schools in Peru with local Andean children in the highlands. Michael also founded two ventures, Conservosmart, a solution for kWh usage within homes, and MultiSite Professional (http://www.multisiteprofessional.com), a reliable, personal option for website development. Maria who is passionate about civic technology founded encire in 2014, which is an online platform that connects users to key information on the issues that affect their social, political, and economic lives. Dante founded esQela.org last year, an ed-tech platform to empower Latino students in their Quest to attaining higher education. By working together, we leverage our passions and experiences to develop a unique solution to making it easier for companies to make smart investments with long-lasting social impact.

  1. What inspired you to do your start-up?

The SmileyGo Team shares an innate desire to help others at a global scale. We all possess the SmileyGo DNA: passion, drive, and energy. We all have a passion to help others, the drive to revolutionize corporate philanthropy, and the energy that is required to change the world. In particular, the life experiences of Pedro David Espinoza and Dante Alvarado-Leon revolved around giving back to their communities. Both having lived in developing countries in Latin America saw the need to create solutions to help those in need and took action at a young age. Pedro’s main inspiration came from looking at all of the opportunities and positive impact his mother’s nonprofit created for young women in Peru. When he met Juana, a young woman from the Anders region of Peru, who told him that her future was going to work on a farm, Pedro and his mother helped her and opened the door for many opportunities for her. In the end, Juana enrolled in a higher education institution and graduated as an engineer. Similarly, Dante was inspired by the stories of children he met at an orphanage that he volunteered with his family in Mexico. Dante recalls the words of one of the children in an orphanage in the city Tijuana who told him, “I want to be like you and help those in my community when I grow up.” Ever since that day, Dante continued to give back to his community through service and by using his education to help those around him. These two stories combined with the diverse backgrounds of all of the members of the SmileyGo team led to the creation of SmileyGo, a global venture aiming to stimulate companies to give back to nonprofits at a global scale.

4.  How do you see your start-up disrupting the space it’s in?

SmileyGo is taking the lead in showing that companies as a whole can give back in a meaningful way that has a lasting impact. Other organizations may encourage individual employees to go volunteer or make donations toward a certain non-profit. However, at SmileyGo we want to make sure that companies – not just the individuals that comprise it – are socially responsible and that the resources being donated are being used properly. We strive for a simple, straightforward process that creates transparency. This transparency won’t only be helpful for consumers and companies, but will hopefully get non-profit organizations to effectively allocate and manage resources. Ultimately, we wish to revolutionize the way business is done, and prove to the corporate world that business is not only about making revenue, but it is also about creating impact, and that companies can do well by doing good.

  1. What type of impact do you envision your start-up having in the market?

We see SmileyGo as the catalyst for companies to do well, while maximizing social impact worldwide. By directing philanthropy toward charities and non-profits that will effectively use it, we aim to encourage more corporations to give back to communities in need around the world. Here at SmileyGo we are revolutionizing the way business is conducted. We want to make companies more aware of the needs of the world, and make it easy for them to become catalysts of change. Essentially, we are streamlining the process for both the non-profits and companies and helping them collaborate to help each other out. By matching the requests and needs of a non-profit with the resources and funding of a company via our tech platform, we will be able to foster a win-win situation and help companies make smart investments that will have long-lasting impacts on the non-profits.

  1. How did your team come together?

The co-founders, Pedro David Espinoza and Dante Alvarado-Leon brought together a diverse and talented team that shares the same vision and passion for a global cause. SmileyGo naturally attracts those who are passionate about corporate social responsibility and want to see a change in the way businesses give back to society, help non-profits in their struggle for resources, or a combination of the two. Our team is comprised of students from around the world, from the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, China, India, Africa and many other places. Most of us met at the University of California, Berkeley, and since then we have become a family of student leaders and young entrepreneurs with the vision to change the world, the heart to help others, and the spirit to dream big.

  1.     How has your startup journey been so far?

The start-up journey has been quite a thrill thus far. We are always making progress, but the progress has been far from anything like a straight, upward line towards success. The journey has been filled with twists, turns, loops and sometimes backtracking too. But through the entire process, we learn more about our company’s goal as a whole and have a deeper understanding of what we need to implement to create the best possible product. We are not the typical startup that rushes, seeks money and never sleeps. We rest, we bond, we are a family of winners, students, young leaders and learners. We have had to make many sacrifices to develop and create a global solution to corporate philanthropy, however, we have a passion for what we are doing that drives us to keep on going. To sum it up, our journey so far has been one of the best experiences in our lives. All of the work we put in every day, all the miles we have traveled together, and all of the time we have spent together to make our idea come to life has shown us that SmileyGo is our passion. We, the SmileyGoers, all share a common dream to work together as a family of young leaders and entrepreneurs. At the end of the day, we want to inspire and encourage others, especially our generation to dare to dream big, to be innovative, and to embark on their own entrepreneurial journeys to develop solutions to the challenges that we are facing today, while always remembering to smile.

  1. What would you like to achieve during your time with Manos?

During out time in the Manos Accelerator, we hope to achieve a clear direction in which we will head, so we bring to clarity to the problem we are solving, the solution we are providing, and how we can be sustainable throughout the process. At the moment, we are working towards developing an attractive, innovative, and concrete business plan that will allows to develop an efficient platform. One thing that Manos has definitely helped our company with–as a result of mentors and the number of resources we’ve been given–is setting a stable and simple foundation for what we aim to do and how we will implement an effective plan to create our tech platform to produce greater social change. By Demo Day, we hope to have a working and updated prototype so that we can begin connecting the corporate world with the nonprofit sector.

  1.     What type of funding are you looking for?

We are looking for seed funding, so that we can build the most efficient and reliable tech platform and stimulate our progression with SmileyGo. By the end of the summer we will possibly look for angel investments, if needed.

 

If you are part of a Latino owned startup and would like to be featured and connect with our Cultura Ambassadors please reach out to us via our website or any of our social media channels.

Dream Tuner empowers unsigned Musicians

 

We had a chance to visit with Dream Tuner and ask them about their startup being accelerated at Manos Accelerator in San Jose.  Are you a closet musician waiting to be discovered?

  • Is this your first start-up venture? You could say that it is at this scale. I had a couple of businesses in college and during my MBA that would generate extra income such as getting web designers in South America to develop pages for US companies at a lower rate (2006-2010).

Dream Tuner

What inspired you to do your start-up? I can say that music plays an essential role in my life, I still remember listening to The Beatles White Album and Let It Be with my mom and brother in our house when I was 7 years old, while She and my dad were getting divorced. Music became an outlet for my brother and I. He picked up the drums and I the bass guitar and for many years I guess that kept us sane from all the craziness that was going on.  Later on we had to go to college, get jobs and basically grow up, and left behind the instruments but we never left the music. The Aha moment came when I was visiting my family and my kid brother (ten years younger than me, from my mother’s second marriage) asked me to give him a ride to the local college station so that he could drop off a demo of his band to a DJ. That is when I realized that so much had changed thanks to technology and the internet but musicians were still dropping off their demos as had been done by young musicians since the early 60’s and 70’s.  I knew that I had grown up and had given up on the dream, but why should so many others follow that same path.

 

  • How do you see your star-up disrupting the space it’s in? Dream Tuner wants to empower the unsigned musician. We want to help them achieve their dreams while making it easier for their music to be discovered. At the same time we want to target listeners that label themselves as trendsetters, evangelists mavens. That one friend you have that is always promoting new music. We feel that both of these, the artists and these types of listeners are under served. We want music to be for the people and by the people.

 

  • What type of impact do you envision your start-up having in the market? We want to be the place to go for unsigned musicians to catapult to the next level. In baseball terms, we want to be the farm to help them make the leap to the big leagues. What product hunt is to app discovery we want to be to music discovery.

 

  • How did your team come together? Our team is composed of 2 brothers. A drummer and a bass player. I came up with an idea and called my brother in Los Angeles ( I was in Austin TX) to tell him that I had an idea in my head for about a month. it made sense to talk to him since he had studied music production and now worked at a music production company. We took it from there and kept developing the idea to a business plan even after I moved to Miami. After that, it just made sense that I should move to LA where my co-founder is and where so many musicians arrive every day with huge dreams and hopes.

 

  • How has your star-up journey been so far? It has been quite a ride. From a simple idea in Austin Texas, to winning a pitch contest in Miami, to developing the idea and then being in Silicon Valley. We never thought we would make it to where we are and the journey has always been uphill but exciting. We have learned a lot and have been questioned by many and have even been called naive by others for pursuing this dream, but we carry on. You learn to think fast, adapt, be persistent and know that for every 1 startup that makes it there are thousands that fail, in a way, it resembles musicians, for every one band that makes it there are thousand that see their dreams crushed.

 

  • What would you like to achieve during your time with Manos? Learn and keep learning. The ecosystem in Silicon Valley is like no other in the planet. The ideas that are generated here change the world and we want to be a part of it. We want to take full advantage of the opportunity Manos has given us to create a great product and at the same time collaborate with other startups. We hope to share our vision at Dream Tuner with the world soon.

 

  • What type of funding are you looking for? We are currently looking for angel investors to help with seed funding.

Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off Event images

 

Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event

Manos Accelerator welcomed their 3rd Cohort of startups

Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event
Manos Accelerator 3rd Cohort kick off event

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!

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?

launchcard

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.

 

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?

 

 

LSA 2nd Annual Global Innovator Summit 2014 San Francisco

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.