What is Manos Accelerator?

Manos Accelerator is a mentorship-driven accelerator program that provides "hands-on" education, business resources, infrastructure, capital, and guidance for promising startup companies led by Latinos, moving them onto a fast track to success. Manos Accelerator is a first of its kind accelerator targeting Latino entrepreneurs who are generally under-represented in early-stage ventures.

What is your vision?

Manos Accelerator's vision is to develop a generation of Latino entrepreneurs by accomplishing four complementary goals:

  1. Enable the brightest Latino entrepreneurs with innovative ideas through mentorship.
  2. Be recognized as an international hub for all Latino entrepreneurs from both U.S. and Latin American countries to launch their startups.
  3. Invest in Latino talent and equip them with today's technical and business skills to turn their ideas into reality.
  4. Increase the number of Latino entrepreneurs in the creation process of the startup ecosystem.

What is your mission?

With a close-knit community of industry-leading mentors, organizations, and investors, Manos Accelerator aims to disrupt the traditional accelerator model by accelerating the growth of the technology ecosystem while filling a critical talent gap currently in the startup market: the development of Latino entrepreneurs.

How does the program work?

Manos Accelerator identifies and develops Latino entrepreneurs by offering an intensive 3-month mentorship program that nurtures skills and relationships to enable Latino entrepreneurs to build remarkable companies. It focuses on building innovative solutions serving both the Hispanic and general markets.

After an online application/selection process, 6 to 8 startup teams will be invited into our co-working space in downtown San Jose. Our program kicks off with an intensive design thinking and entrepreneurship bootcamp followed by a structured approach of design reviews, mentoring sessions, guest speakers, and workshops that build up to a final Demo Day.

The overall mentorship program is designed to provide "hands-on" guidance and coaching from highly engaged mentors, experts, and advisors in the areas of sales, product development marketing, and technology.

How long is the program?

The entire duration of the program is three months.

Where are you located?

Manos Accelerator's co-working space is located in the heart of downtown San Jose at 189 W. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 95113. We are within walking distance of the VTA Light Rail, the Highway 17 Express Bus, Caltrain and Amtrak's Coast Starlight trains at San Jose Diridon Station. Metered street parking is usually available right out front on Almaden Ave.

Downtown San Jose has plenty of things to do and places to go. From a world-class convention center, HP Pavilion, several museums, and a performing arts center, there is something to do for everyone.

When does the 3-month program start?

Applications for Manos Accelerator is open year-round and we are always talking to potential participants. However, we typically make an extra announcement 90-days prior to the beginning of a cohort.

How can I learn more about the program?

Once the application process opens, we will regularly hold information sessions and office hours. Check out our Facebook Fan Page or connect with us via our Contact page for upcoming opportunities.

What type of companies are you looking for?

We are looking for companies that are led by Latino entrepreneurs in the high-tech industry. Specifically, this means that at least one of the founders is of Hispanic-Latino origin/descent. We are interested in product-focused companies in the consumer internet, mobile space, and cloud computing space.

Can I apply if I am outside of San Jose, California?

Yes, however all applicants must relocate to San Jose for the duration of the 3-month program.

May I apply if I don't have a prototype yet?

Your prototype may be semi-functional, completely functional, or even exist as mock-up designs that explicitly describe what you plan to create. Having said that, we are only interested in startups that have the capacity for execution. Having a prototype is very important in the evaluation process of your idea and ultimately your admission into our accelerator program. Please DO NOT apply without a prototype to show.

Do you pay for travel or housing expenses in the selection process or program?

No. We strongly prefer to interview in-person but can do a video conference if necessary. Startup teams are responsible for their own travel, room, and board during the 3-month program.

Do you take equity?

Yes, a 4% equity stake.

Do you charge the startups a fee to participate?

No. We do not charge a membership or enrollment fee. However, Manos Accelerator does not offer a stipend for incidentals so you are expected to cover all personal expenses during your participation in the 3-month program.

Do we have to work out of the Manos Accelerator office during the 3-month program?

Yes. We expect that at least one of the founders work and participate full-time during the 3-month program. The workspace is free and you have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with other startup teams in the accelerator program.

Do you provide funding?

Not at this present time. However, we hope to provide funding in the very near future. We do leverage our connections in the investment community to provide our startups with direct access to funding.

What if we've already taken some funding?  Can we still apply?

Yes, please reference this on your application.

Why should I participate?

Manos Accelerator is here to help Latino entrepreneurs take their startup to the next level. We are a team of passionate entrepreneurs, with an interest in stimulating positive change in the startup ecosystem. Our mentors and speakers are some of the best in their industry. We also have some great perks and benefits for each startup team.

What do I get from Demo Day?

Simple. You get the opportunity to pitch in front of some pretty impressive people. If you are on your game, you will rise to the top. Whether you are on your game or not, being an entrepreneur is about initiative and tenacity. We encourage startup teams to embody this spirit not just on Demo Day but throughout the 3-month program.

What type of commitment do you require?

We require a full-time focus during the 3-month program so that the startups teams can successfully launch or scale their companies. The first few months in a startup's lifespan are often the most productive and can make or break the company.

What stage should my company be in?

Our target companies have an existing team of 2-3 people and have built an early-stage prototype. However, entrepreneurs at all stages are encouraged to apply.

Do I need a technical co-founder?

No, but it's HIGHLY encouraged. Ideally, we are looking for startup teams with at least one very talented technical member.

Can I apply if I am not a U.S. Citizen or green card holder?

It depends. We want to identify and support the best Latino entrepreneurs in the world. However, Manos Accelerator does not sponsor individual(s) to obtain authorization to work in the U.S. If this applies to you, let us know the situation in your application and we will deal with it on a case-by-case basis and engage one of our partners that specialize in immigration law.

Do I need to provide a business plan?

No. Although a good thing to have, a business plan is not necessary. We are more interested in your team, prototype, and readiness to execute.

Will Manos Accelerator sign an NDA?

No, we cannot sign an NDA due to the large number of applications we receive, but we do not share applications outside of our selection committee. The more details you are able to provide about your startup and its plan, the higher the likelihood of you being accepted into the 3-month program.

How can I stay up-to-date on what's going on at Manos Accelerator?

The best way to stay up to date with Manos Accelerator is to sign up for our mailing list, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and our blog. We plan to share accelerator news, events, and media entrepreneurship insights.

I'd love to be a mentor.  How can I help?

Mentors participate with one goal in mind: to help our entrepreneurs. They take time out of their busy lives to hold regular office hours, attend accelerator events, give feedback at monthly design reviews, give educational talks, take phone calls, and make connections. If you care about innovation and working with promising startup companies led by Latinos, then we want you to be a part of the family. Please contact us through our Contact Form if you would like to participate.

Are you looking for investors?

Yes. Our goal is to create a fund which will invest directly in the startup teams that we promote. Please contact us through our Contact Form if you would like to participate.