Our mission is to foster a new generation of Latino entrepreneurs by providing access to early-stage capital, mentorship support and resources that will enable them to build and grow their startup companies.
We aim to provide "hands-on" expertise in the areas of product development, design and user experience, customer acquisition, business metrics, and pitch preparation through the 12-week mentorship and investor introductions.
Be recognized as an international hub for all Latino entrepreneurs from both U.S. and Latin American countries to launch their startups
Enable the brightest Latino entrepreneurs with innovative ideas through mentorship
Invest in Latino talent and equip them with today's technical and business skills to turn their ideas into reality
Increase the number of Latino entrepreneurs in the creation process of the startup ecosystem
Many editorials have theorized why so few Latinos are graduating with engineering degrees, qualify for high-tech positions, or are starting their own ventures.
With less than 1% of venture-backed startups founded by Latinos, there is a huge opportunity to develop this community and accelerate the growth of startups through this untapped entrepreneurial talent.
These observations frustrated the founders of Manos Accelerator and it invigorated in them a sense of purpose. They dared to ask a simple question, "What if?" They concluded that the correct response to these studies and speculations was to take action by developing a program that identifies and mentors a new generation of Latino entrepreneurs.
The founders of Manos Accelerator believe changing the world begins with entrepreneurial talent. They seek Latino entrepreneurs who have the following traits - creativity, an innovative spirit, a "can do" attitude and a desire to win. These are components for diversifying the local economy, finding inventive solutions, creating jobs and tackling the age-old perception that Latinos are not capable. Thus, the mantra was created: Dream Big, Believe More, Act Now.
When deciding on a name for the accelerator, the founders did not want something catchy yet culturally insignificant. They wanted a name that identified Latinos as a proud ethnic group that desired and achieved upward mobility. Latino workers and aspiring entrepreneurs do not want to be stereotyped as only taking food service, agricultural, manufacturing, construction, and other blue-collar jobs.
The founders wanted a name to show the world that Latinos are more than just a pair of "hands" (manos), and capable of so much more. As a result, the name Manos was selected as a motivation for all of the accelerator participants to never forget the hard work and challenges that other Latinos have had before them.
Sylvia Flores, CEO
Sylvia Flores is an award-winning entrepreneur and engineer with years of experience. She founded several startup companies and is knowledgeable of the U.S. Hispanic market. In 2003, she worked with the former President of Mexico Vicente Fox to establish a technology incubator for Mexican entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Prior to her career in startups, Sylvia held various engineering positions at IBM.
She has also served as the Regional National Vice President for the Society of the Hispanic Professional Engineers. She was awarded the 'Entrepreneur of the Year' award in 2003 from Latino Style Magazine. She earned a Chemical Engineering degree from San Jose State University.
Edgar Moreno, Manager Business Development for Latin America
Edgar has over 16 years of experience as a consultant focusing on business strategic planning and implementation. He has been a Managing partner at Balanced Process, a Multinational Consulting Company based in Guadalajara, Mexico, specializing in Business Productivity.
He is co-founder of Soluciones Tecnologicas Noobe, a company focused on providing e-learning solutions and content development for various companies and organizations. Edgar is also founder and CEO of GPC Consultores, a Mexican boutique consulting company specialized in public policies and marketing strategies.
Prior experience includes Implementation Consultant at Eclipse Group Consulting and several executive roles in the Public Sector.
Edgar holds a degree in Industrial Engineering, from Tecnologico de Monterrey, a Master in Public Management, cum laude from the same institution, and a Master in Economic Development from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.
Xavier Vargas, Associate Representative Peru
Xavier has over 20 years of experience in the field of entrepreneurship, both in Peru and abroad, he has founded several companies in different industries ranging from advertising, video games, applications, tourism, and pet industry, with the latter was the winner of a national award with one of the most innovative projects, having as main market the United States.
He is creative director of one of the most important companies in Lima, Peru dedicated to entertainment software and external consulting in several companies related to the development of video games and start up projects.
He has studied Business Administration and social science careers as anthropology. He is currently the manager of a tourist platform in his city of Cusco.
Donna Griffit, Partner
Donna Griffit, Corporate Storyteller, has worked globally for over a decade with Fortune 500 companies, Start-Ups and investors in a wide variety of industries. She has consulted and trained clients in over 30 countries, helping them create, edit and deliver verbal and written presentations, pitches and messages. Donna has the ability to magically spin raw data into compelling stories that captivate audiences and drive to results. Through her guidance clients have raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Donna is Co-Founder and CEO of www.invisu.me – a tool that helps startups create their pitch to investors and get the meetings they want!
Bob Kroon, Partner
For more than 25 years in his career, Bob served in general management roles such as President, Group Vice President, COO, and CEO in companies ranging from startups to $300M enterprises.
Bob's most endorsed skill is new product development. In the course of his career he has introduced over 1000 new products. He has experience with market research, pricing strategies, product management, design, product engineering, and market positioning.
He is often a Top Ten most viewed writer on Quora (Profile) in categories such as Startup Advisors and Board Members, Lean Manufacturing, Mentors and Mentoring, Startup Advisory Boards. He is also Top 1% on LinkedIn's Social Selling Index for Management Consulting.
His first general management assignment was as Division President for HNI Corp. His career included 18+ years and six promotions with HNI. Bob came to Silicon Valley for an opportunity with APW Enclosures during the dotcom era. As Division President, he was responsible for 12 facilities which made technical cabinetry for electronics OEMs.
Matthew Schwab, Partner
Matthew Schwab helps startups incubate sales and then transition sales from the founders to a dedicated sales team. He joined the Manos Accelerator in 2017 to build out and teach our entrepreneurial sales and sales management curriculum. He has been selling software and IT services for over fifteen years, mostly with ambitious entrepreneurial ventures, and often as an early, first or first North American sales executive.
Mr. Schwab is currently working as a consultant/advisor to three startups. Fivetran enables fully-automated cloud-based data warehousing. GrandCanals provides fulfillment analytics for the supply chain. And DemandMatrix delivers market intelligence, leveraging the power of big data, machine learning and Narrow AI. He is also the Founder and Chapter President (Pro Bono) of the Outreach.io Bay Area Users Group. He is passionate about seeing expertly built, game changing solutions succeed in the marketplace, and thrives collaborating with creative, brilliant, emotionally intelligent professionals.
He holds a Bachelor's Degree (A.B.) in Economics from Amherst College and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He lives in Santa Cruz, California with his wife Kathleen, his daughter Priscilla, and his son Nathanael. Mr. Schwab is a firm believer in giving back, particularly to couples and single parents raising children in disadvantaged circumstances, and has taught life skills classes at Rebele Family Shelter in Santa Cruz.
Paul Charlton has over 25 years of industry experience. Diverse background in high technology business formation, venture funding, business administration, digital and analog hardware design and architecture, software design and architecture, bio-tech, retail and investment banking, building construction, and real estate.
Extensive experience with numerous modern programming languages, development methodologies, related tools, testing, and management of large-scale projects. Extensive experience with hardware design/debug. Extensive experience with numerous project management methodologies and philosophies.
Numerous quality software products which are used by hundreds of millions people on a daily basis, consisting of over 1,000,000 lines of concise source code which I wrote. US Patents 5,825,359; 5,875,354; 5,949,434.
Conceived and founded numerous high tech companies including one which was sold in 1998 for over $150MM. Designed and implemented over 20 products for numerous startups and well known companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Chase Manhattan Bank, Apple Computer, Sun Microsystems. Hired by, and worked for Jeff Bezos (founder, Amazon.com) and Charles Ardai (founder, Juno.com.) Technology portfolio review, including copyrights and patents, which resulted in injunctions against large public companies, and ultimately resulted in over $500MM of settlements in favor of my Fortune 500 client.
Julian has more than 20 years experience as an operating executive in international payments and banking, and is and independent advisor to startups, small and medium size companies, and investment firms. Julian has deep expertise in risk management, financial planning, strategy, corporate development, and is active in the angel investing and startup community.
As the Founder and Managing Director of Maacama Advisors, Julian has helped many companies in strategic planning, pricing, competitive intelligence, fundraising, market entry, governance, partnerships and M&A.
Julian spent 16 years with Visa, most recently as the Global Head of Enterprise Risk Management. He worked on the merger and reorganization of Visa's six global entities and IPO in 2008. He led the design, strategy and implementation of Visa's enterprise risk management capabilities, and led risk diligence efforts for all acquisitions, joint ventures and divestitures from the company's IPO until his departure in 2015.
Prior to Visa’s IPO, Julian led various teams at Visa Latin America and Caribbean, including Treasury, Financial Planning, Credit and Enterprise Risk. He was responsible for reporting to the Audit Committee of the LAC Board.
He began his career with American Express Bank, where he worked in Private Banking, Structured Credit, Corporate Banking, Syndications and Treasury.
Julian is from Miami, Florida and speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently. He holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business.