Manos Accelerator, Catalyst for Latino Startups, Announces Second Round Finalists
Google may have released unflattering diversity figures recently (in a move that at least got the conversation started about the lack of minorities in Silicon Valley), but the tech giant is at least trying to bring about change. And one initiative, a continuing partnership with Latino startup incubator Manos Accelerator, has just announced its second round of startups for its program.
Manos Accelerator is focused on helping Latino and Latin American entrepreneurs get their high-tech startups off the ground. Two experienced Silicon Valley insiders, Edward Avila and Sylvia Flores, along with David Lopez -- whom you might know better as Jennifer Lopez's dad -- founded the startup accelerator, which has the motto "Dream Big, Believe More, Act Now."
With less than 1 percent of venture-backed startups founded by Latinos, Manos Accelerator addresses the dearth of Latinos in the technology industry by providing a three-month program which includes mentorship, workshops, networking, pitch presentation training and other essential support. The program is capped by a graduation Demo Day where Manos's partner, Google for Entrepreneurs, invites industry insiders, venture capital and angel investors to view the class's startup demos at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California.
After a successful first class of Latino startups graduated in 2013, Google and Manos entered an ongoing partnership early this year to run the program two times a year for at least the next two years. Here's the official lineup of Latino startups for Round Two of Manos Accelerator.
Manos Accelerator's Round Two
Manos picked seven startups for round two, this time with four of them coming out of Latin America, out of a total 83 applicants. Here's a breakdown of the application pool and the seven startups that rose to the top.
Meet the First Class of 2014
Bandbazaar (San Jose, Calif.): Bandbaazar connects music enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. It is a web app that's pioneering a new way for people to convert their skills, musical instruments, gear and space into a source of income. It's represented by Alex Murillo and Sophia Boettcher.
Cuestiona.me (Palo Alto, Calif.): Cuestiona.me is an Internet platform that allows users create questions addressed to leaders, organizations or people of influence.
By supporting these questions, they become more visible and relevant, leading to those leaders providing answers. It's represented by Alejandro Quintero.
FashionTEQ (Aliso Viejo, Calif.): FashionTEQ is a fashion-forward, wearable technology company, created by Zazzi, a smart and stylish jewelry collection that allows women to remain connected to their smartphone. This stunning line of smart jewelry disguises your tech as a fashionable accessory and offers a discreet way to stay connected while allowing you to leave your phone inside a purse, bag or back pocket. It's represented by Judy Tomlinson.
Bridgefy (Mexico City): Bridgefy is a mobile messaging app that works offline based on Wi-Fi Direct technology, using a mesh network that amplifies the app's reach. People can stay connected during times of natural disasters, large entertainment events, rural areas and places where phone signal and Internet data are hard to reach. It's represented by Jorge Rios, Diego Garcia and Roberto Betancourt.
Cycle Money (Ecuador): Cycle Money is a web and mobile application that helps people to recycle their electronic waste. It directly connects the recyclable elements from people's e-waste with the recycle companies, redefining in this way, the concept of Urban Mining. It's represented by Luis Bajaña.
My Bigame (Bogotá, Colombia): My Bigame is a company that enables your API users to bet on your favorite platform game in multiplayer mode. My Bigame is the unique system that offers the possibility of realizing bets for multiplayer -- in different games and on different platforms. It's represented by Jesus Contreras, Roger Diaz, Jorge Meneses, and Armando Saenz.
saySquare (Honduras): saySquare is a payments platform that allows fast social-electronic transfers and lets small businesses accept money using mobile devices as a POS. Its founders are Cristian Garner, Leonardo Amador and Armando Alvarado.