Manos Accelerator, Backed By Google, Hosts Demo Day for Latino Tech Startups at the Googleplex

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.

Manos Accelerator, as Latinos Post reported previously, is a startup incubator for Latino entrepreneurs founded by Edward Avila, Sylvia Flores, and David Lopez, who happens to be Jennifer Lopez’s father. Manos’s mantra is “Dream Big, Believe More, Act Now,” which it hopes to carry forward by developing the growth of Latino technology-related startups and foster entrepreneurial talent in the community.

The organization offers mentorship-driven programs to provide hands-on education on aspects of starting up one’s own company, and with the help of sponsors like Google, it also provides business resources, infrastructure, capital, and guidance for Latino and Latina entrepreneurs hoping to launch a company or service.

Google supports Manos Accelerator as part of its initiative to foster diversity in the technology and startup business world, according to head of Google for Entrepreneurs Mary Grove. “Building communities is one of the core tenets of our mission,” said Grove. “Google believes in accelerating diversity in entrepreneurship.”

With less than one percent of venture-backed startups currently founded by Latinos, according to the San Jose-based Manos Accelerator, fostering a place to display some of the best of what Latino startups have to offer the tech world is essential. It also, of course, gives Google an early look at fresh ideas. 

The first Demo Day for Manos Accelerator featured Latino and Latina-founded startups hoping to crack into high-tech business fields such as social media discovery, education technology, e-commerce, and cloud services.

“We definitely had it in mind to target Latino entrepreneurs in the high tech area,” said Edward Avila, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal. “If you look at entrepreneurship in general, a lot of Latinos are doing stuff in the space but they’re more service oriented. We wanted to focus on high tech early-stage ventures.”

Manos, according to Avila, wants to bring more attention to San Jose, where the startup accelerator operates. “San Jose may not be very sexy, but there’s a buzz here,” said Avila. “We’re trying to create an environment that startups can launch in… when they get funded, they may go elsewhere but hopefully they establish roots in San Jose.”

With seven strong teams for its first ever Demo Day, Manos Accelerator is off to a good start. “We’re really happy with this first batch,” said Avila. “We’re hoping it leads to more in 2014.”

The Manos Accelerator event, according to Forbes contributor Giovanni Rodriguez, featured touches of Hispanic culture – maracas, “Vino Latino,” and “the United States of Hispanic Cupcakes dishes” and one unusual circumstance. “There were a lot of guys in blue,” reported Rodriguez, referring to security personnel stationed for the event -apparently more than might seem appropriate for that kind of gathering, even given the number of influential or wealthy people in attendance.

Reportedly, a rumor that David’s daughter (JLo, herself) might have appeared or was in the house might have triggered the extra security. 

Originally published at Latin Post.