Manos Accelerator Makes Room for the Ladies, Goes South of the Border for Inaugural Class

An unprecedented initiative geared towards Latinos and Hispanics, Manos opens doors for a demographic that is underrepresented in the entrepreneurial scene.

In July, Manos Accelerator launched its first call for projects. An unprecedented initiative geared towards Latinos and Hispanics, Manos opens up doors for a demographic that is largely underrepresented in the entrepreneurial scene (less than 1% of venture-backed startups were founded by Latinos). For a new set of entrepreneurs, the tides are about to change.

manos1Yesterday, Manos Accelerator revealed the identities of the seven startups that will join its inaugural program, which will take place this fall. The companies were selected out of roughly 75 submissions from sectors like e-commerce, entertainment, digital media, enterprise, mobile and the cloud.

Eduardo Avila, Co-founder and CEO of Manos Accelerator, expressed satisfaction with the first call’s results:

This is exactly what I wanted to see – big, bold and creative solutions. I know there are Latino entrepreneurs out there doing amazing things and I’m pleased to have such a diverse group of startups both in technology and backgrounds as our very first batch.

Not only will the chosen projects benefit from the support of Manos, but they’ll also receive the backing of Google for Entrepreneurs, a global initiative to empower entrepreneurs through partnerships, programs and products. Mary Grove, Director of Global Entrepreneurship Outreach at Google, commented:

Our mission with Google for Entrepreneurs is to grow entrepreneurial communities and equip them with the resources and technology they need to tackle big ideas and build great companies. We’re very excited to be partnering with Manos on their first cohort and we can’t wait to see these startups pitch their products at Demo Day.

Of the projects selected, two are international (both hail from Mexico). Three are based in Silicon Valley, and two are from outside of California. And talk about girl power – five of the seven companies have at least one female founder.

The Manos Accelerator startups will officially be presented tomorrow. You can get to know them here:

  • Blyve (San Jose, CA): Blyve is a real-time marketing platform for live events that allows brands and publishers to increase engagement with consumers and attendees.
  • BoomZip (Raleigh, NC): BoomZip is a provider of cloud-based data backup and restoration services that help companies to manage their cloud utilization in a fast, affordable and secure way.
  • Hemheist (Phoenix, AZ):  Hemheist is an e-commerce startup that sells new and vintage clothing for women.
  • HostSpot (Mexico City, Mexico): A simple tool that helps shops and restaurants measure customer behavior, HostSpot does for brick and mortar stores what Google analytics does for the online world. We covered their AngelHack win earlier this week.
  • Interesante (Menlo Park, CA):  Interesante delivers news, images, products, people and videos to mobile phones in real time based on each user’s interests.
  • Qritiqr (Mexico City, Mexico): Qritiqr is a crowd mystery shopping network that provides insights regarding services, products and market opportunities in real time.
  • Sleek-geek (Oakland, CA):  Sleek-geek is a teacher-led software company that builds mobile solutions for teachers, students, parents and schools.  They won first place at the AT&T Mobile Education Hackathon in 2012.

So there you have them. The startups have already kicked off Manos’ 12-week acceleration program in San Jose, which will culminate with Demo Day at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View in late November.

Spotlight on HostSpot

We reached out to Abraham Cornejo of the HostSpot team to get the scoop on a startup that is proving to be quite the shooting star.

Emily Stewart: You’re making a lot of waves in the U.S. tech scene right now. What would you say is your secret to what seems to be at least initial success?

Abraham Cornejo: There’s no secret. Actually, what you need is written everywhere, and that’s constancy.

We have the talent that is needed on board to start, and we’ve been polishing it through a lot of effort. This is the result of an endless trial and error process that we’ve been perfecting with patience and learning.

ES: You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to accelerators. Why Manos?

AC: We chose Manos because they can help us with the initial process. They have the credentials and connections that we need to grow our product.

Above all, we chose them because they are part of a bigger message. Manos is trying to change the way that people think about Latin America, and we want to be part of that message to all growing countries.

ES: You’re one of two teams from outside of the U.S. to be selected for the program. What do you think you’ll add to the mix as such?

AC: We think that one of our biggest tasks is to inspire the people back in our countries and put forth the right example so they can realize that it is possible to fulfill your goals with the right focus.