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.
Jennifer Lopez might have garnered the most attention from an audience not used to hearing business pitches from global pop superstars last week at the Venture Capital Association's VentureScape conference. But it's her father David, co-founder of the Latino startup-focused Manos Accelerator, who most challenged the assumptions of those investors in budding businesses.
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. One initiative, a continuing partnership with Latino startup incubator Manos Accelerator, has just announced its second round of startups for its program.
Manos Accelerator, a Latino-focused startup accelerator, announced this week that it was extending its partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs, after a successful first 2013 round of supporting Latino and Latin American startups.
Ever since the recession, tech startups, and in particular Latino tech startups, have faced difficulties with finding funding, networking with venture capital, and simply getting their idea out into the market place, with less than 1 percent of venture-backed startups founded by Latinos.
Google-backed Manos Accelerator held its inaugural Demo Day last week, an affair that Google hosted at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. Seven startups showed their stuff to a panel of Latin American entrepreneurs, technology experts, business leaders and, especially, venture capital.
Being an entrepreneur in an already competitive landscape may seem daunting to some, especially for many Latinos who aren't graduating with engineering degrees or start-up mentalities, but with a different outlook and approach, you can foster an entrepreneurial spirit.