Silicon Valley has a diversity problem, and it's bigger than just the staffing demographics at major technology firms. In particular, there is a dearth of Latino-founded tech startups that grow beyond the initial stages, but Manos Accelerator, in partnership with Google, is seeking to change that.

Manos Accelerator is a startup accelerator supported by Google for Entrepreneurs that mentors and provides resources for promising startups led by Latinos and Latinas.

The incubator, founded by Edward Avila, Sylvia Flores and David Lopez (who happens to be Jennifer Lopez's dad), began its first round fostering Latino startups in 2013. Now Manos Accelerator has announced its fourth class of startups for fall 2015.

Five startup companies made the cut out of approximately 85 applications, according to the organization's release, after going through a screening process by business and technology leaders in Silicon Valley. Two are Latin American imports and three were selected from the U.S. this time around.

Here are the five startups that Manos Accelerator chose:


New York City, NY

(Photo : Manos Blog)

Led by CEO and founder Diego Lafuente, who came up with the idea as a second-year law student working in the immigrants' rights office in New York, Abogadazo is a web platform that connects Latinos in the U.S. to a network of vetted attorneys.

The company seeks to use the web and mobile platform to make it easier for Latinos to obtain legal information, while also creating efficiencies for lawyers looking for clients. The site operates on a free question and answer forum-style principle.

For Latinos seeking legal advice or a lawyer, the first step in the process is simple: visit the site and ask a question in Spanish. The prescreened lawyers, who pay for access to the platform, answer the question, which can serve as a catalyst to start a relationship with the client. Or it could simply help the visitor with their problem.

Aerial Backup

Guadalajara, Mexico

Seeking to take advantage of the blooming UAV industry, Aerial Backup is a mobile platform for drone owners who have more visual data from their UAV cameras than they can handle.

The company dubs itself as the "first computer vision analysis adding value to UAV" and promises to sort through and analyze the hours of video or large-scale aerial pictures proliferating from the $6 billion drone market. Users upload their data and Aerial Backup uses computer vision algorithms tuned to recognize objects, which the company can customize for clients depending on specific camera types, sensors, or analytic needs.


San Francisco, California

This startup is also based on data analytics, but not visual data. Instead, the startup captures data from consumers at the level of individual purchased items. It then anonymized it and aggregates the data to help form insights into market strategies and trends. This is the end product that Amitee then sells to organizations and firms who are looking for mass-aggregated market research based on data from the most granular level of consumer activity.


Mexico City, Mexico

(Photo : Manos Blog)

It's kind of like Angie's List mixed with Uber for home repairs and maintenance. Seeking to capitalize on the high-end home care niche in Mexico, which according to Monkier represents a $3.4 billion monthly market, this startup is seeking to provide quick and simple solutions for finding, scheduling and hiring home maintenance professionals.

The startup has its eyes on those daily maintenance emergencies that crop up out of nowhere, like a toilet that suddenly stops working. Rather than searching online, looking up yellow pages, asking for recommendations from friends, and then calling around and waiting for the professional to show up several hours later, Monkier thinks it can disrupt the home repair market by streamlining the process, making it stress free and much faster.

People Spread

Palo Alto, California

Finally, the fifth entrant into Manos Accelerator's fall 2015 batch is People Spread, an online marketplace that connects social media influencers with advertisers.

These high-profile social media personalities often put together tens of thousands of followers that People Spread analyzes for customer demographics and social authority, coming up with a price per promoted post that marketers can shop around to meet their needs.

Advertisers can request promoted posts and either accept and pay for one proposed by the social media influencers, or decline. The platform is meant to be fast and mobile, and on the other side of the equation, the social media personalities receive push notifications on their smartphone when there's an opportunity to make some money with a post. For connecting these two sides of the market, People Spread keeps a five percent commission.

Fall 2015 Starts, Spring 2016 Open to Applications

These five companies will receive mentoring, technical education, and other resources during the 12-week Manos Accelerator class, which ends in a demo day that enables them opportunities to finance further growth.

"What we are seeing is a wave for impressive Latino technologists and innovators who are creating cutting edge, game changer and technology solutions," said Sylvia Flores. Manos Accelerator has so far received over 200 applications in its two year history, but if you have a startup and think you've missed a big opportunity, think again: Manos is now accepting applications for its spring 2016 class here.