Friday, October 26, 2012

The Muy Interesante Future of Latino Entrepreneurship

There's no denying it, minority entrepreneurship matters in the United States. And for the budding Latino business entrepreneur, embracing technology and social media is invaluable. When it comes to the future of Latino entrepreneurship, why not start them young with an innovative approach similar to

Better yet, why not learn from some of the most dynamic Latino entrepreneurs that are building interesting things and amassing a growing user base while developing innovative technologies.

Say hello to Interesante.

The place to discover and share Latino interests. Interesante is a unique startup in beta focused on immersive cultural shear-ability and fueling diaspora-driven commerce. It's a gateway to cultural interests in its most beautiful visual form. Interesante places a special focus on the deeper cultural nuances of social engagement commanding a user base representing over 41 countries including Argentina, the United States, Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, Brazil, and Peru.

Interesante is the brain child of Rebecca Padnos Altamirano (CEO) who gracefully assembled a team of approximately ten individuals, largely based in Argentina.  These professionals are led by Antonio Altamirano (COO), Pablo Gamba (CTO), Claudio Cossio (VP Marketing), and Leandro Henflen (Design).  Antonio is also the co-founder of virtual postcard startup Dabble.

Our founder Jose Huitron, recently caught up with Antonio, one of the most prolific Latino entrepreneurs amassing a cross-national track record of unique startup activity.

Antonio arrived in the U.S. 13 years ago armed with a keen focus on the huge potential and possibility of entrepreneurship. "I needed to prepare myself to be the best I can be and be ready to launch and test my ideas in the real world. Not only by building a company but helping the community as a whole and in particular, the Latino community," said Antonio.

The allure of possibility combined with a passion for action has fueled an environment where Latinos are the future of entrepreneurship in the U.S. Latinos are now trendsetters, cultural icons, successful business people and are at the core of the American cultural fabric. However, no tool has placed the Latino consumer at the top of their pecking order. Enter Interesante.

"There are huge highs and massive lows. You go from a place where you feel you're going to conquer the world and some days it looks as if you are climbing Everest. Preparation is paramount to succeed in this environment. The fluctuation is so big you have to be careful, but that is what makes it fun." said Antonio.

"Other tools were born out of necessity for a particular need. Facebook doesn't even provide Open Graph in Spanish. We want to be the largest database of interests that are Latino based in the world.

For many budding Latino(a) entrepreneurs, the road to real impact requires a focus on identifying, enabling, and mobilizing champions and committed advisors. A real challenge lies in trying to bridge the gap between Latinos who want to do something big and Latinos in the U.S. who can invest and nurture the nascent Latino startup community. Interesante is a benchmark in how to bridge this gap and move inspired Latinos with bold ideas to a place where passion meets action.

Rebecca and her team at Interesante are a legitimate force to be reckoned with. They stand as a great example of an innovative startup that is built for Latinos by Latinos.

For Antonio and his team, Interesante is much more than a hub of diaspora-driven commerce. It is also a rallying cry for Latino entrepreneurs to step into the arena of innovation with confidence and a belief that your identity fuels the prolific.

The future of Latino entrepreneurship is already here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Coming Storm of Latino Startups Has Arrived

Where are all the Latino innovators? That's a popular question but the answers may be closer than they appear. There's a storm of Latino entrepreneurship activity happening in the U.S. and south of the border. Perhaps, the collectivist nature of Latinos may be a unique factor contributing to the somewhat quiet rise of startup dominance.

Hispanic entrepreneurs opened twice as many businesses as the national average in the 2000s, according to U.S. Census data. And recent data from the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity highlights an interesting surge in entrepreneurship activity by Latinos.

The American dream is alive and well.  In 2010 immigrants accounted for nearly 30% of new business owners, versus 13% in 1996, according to the Kauffman Foundation. No matter how you cut it, Latinovators are enjoying their share of the entrepreneurship pie.

Of particular note, is the work of Jesse and Edwardo Martínez who founded the Latino Startup Alliance which was launched New Year’s Day 2012, now a budding network of over 240 innovators. However, the question remains. Where are the rest of the Latinopreneurs?

A mere 20 results show up for "US Hispanic Market" on AngelList which is the de facto standard for keeping tabs on the burgeoning startup arena in the U.S. and beyond. What does this mean? Perhaps, there's a ton of Latino startups listed on the site but are working under the radar with their profile hidden as they move close to launch or a point of desired product/service development. The truth? We need more Latino startups who are not afraid of their identity and the arena of possibility. has its own list of Top Latino entrepreneurs who've achieved some striking marks of success and are actively blazing a trail of entrepreneurship activity.

There's no denying it, the Latino startup crowd is here and it's kind of a big deal capturing the attention of many, including some of Silicon Valley's most engaged venture capitalists as confirmed by the recent purchase of by 500 Startups. If we look closely, there's something much bigger in the works. There's a real dynamic taking place where Latino innovators are playing the lead role in the U.S. and beyond.'s only just beginning.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Best Practices: US Hispanic Search Marketing

A recent video released by Google offers insights into using search marketing to target Hispanics online. The recorded training provides useful tips for increasing user intent with relevant content.
US Hispanics are very active information seekers. Bilingual and bicultural tendencies make them a very appealing audience to target through search platforms. Learn about account basics, lifestyle targeting, basic translation traps, cultural nuances best practices and getting started. This training is recommended to help day-to-day account teams, campaign managers, and strategic thinkers enter, expand and optimize their online Hispanic search presence.
Here's the video: 

Key takeaways:
  • One of out every 3 new suburbanites is Hispanic.
  • 93% of US Hispanics report using Google as their primary search engine.
  • Spanish queries remain important and demonstrate year over year double sometimes triple growth.
  • Hispanic campaigns demonstrate improved campaign efficiency.
  • Hispanic search marketing is still relatively new and less crowded.
  • Test two campaigns as a way to capture user intent.
  • Include accented and unaccented keywords.
  • Language pathways impact performance.
  • Best-in-class clients tend to allocate roughly 10% of their overall marketing budget to Hispanic investments.
Join the Conversation

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mobile and Latino Empowerment

Mobile broadband is connecting America's Hispanic community in empowering new ways, resulting in greater economic, educational, health, and civic opportunities for Latinos.

In fact, a recent report by the Hispanic Institute and Mobile Future reveals that the 50.5 million Hispanics living in the U.S. today are increasingly turning primarily to mobile broadband rather than wired connections as their main on-ramp to the Internet.

The report, "Hispanic Broadband Access: Making the Most of the Mobile, Connected Future," shows Hispanics are among the most active users of mobile broadband among all demographic groups in the U.S. They also tend to be more geographically mobile than the overall U.S. population and rely more heavily on wireless services generally. Today, 90 percent of Hispanics ages 18-29 own cell phones; 70 percent have laptops, more than 51 percent have smartphones, and almost 20 percent have tablets.

These astonishing technology adoption rates by Hispanics are driving equally rapid uptake in the use of mobile broadband for promoting education, health care, access to financial service and civic engagement. And during this presidential election year, mobile technologies are offering the Hispanic community a bullhorn for civic engagement. (Source: Hispanic Trending)

Friday, July 13, 2012

10 More Must Follow Prolific Latinos on Twitter

Building Latino Connections

"Mend your speech a little, lest it may mar your fortunes." - Shakespeare, King Lear

We have the good fortune of highlighting some of the most dynamic Latinos causing shockwaves of influence and engagement across the digital landscape. Twitter is a valuable tool for staying on top of your interests. As a follow up to our 10 Must Follow Prolific Latinos on Twitter post here are an additional 10 must follow dynamic Latinos and Latinas tweeting their way to social, adding value to the conversation stream. Celebrity is not a prerequisite for true impact. The following individuals help their followers and interested parties with unique insights that help move the Latinosphere forward.

1. Chiqui Cartagena
Chiqui Cartagena is a seasoned journalist and a Hispanic market guru. She is the author of LATINO BOOM and has done ground-breaking work in Hispanic media.

2. Melanie Edwards
Working mom blogging since 2006 on parenting & life balance. She is also the Owner of Ella Media. Not to mention she was part of a select few of Latina bloggers who had the awesome opportunity to chat with Michelle Obama!

3. Andy Checo
PR pro, US Hispanic market insider, and social media enthusiast. He is the founder of #hprchat (Hispanic PR Chat) a fabulous resource for all things related to connecting more effectively with the burgeoning Latino demographic.

4. Eliana Murillo
Hispanic Community Outreach Lead at Google and the CMO for Tequila Alquimia. She is a Harvard grad and an advocate for social change. A direct connection for Latinos into the world of Google technology.

5. Eva Smith
A prolific entrepreneur, foodie, innovative engineer and the CoFounder of Latina Mom Blogs (@LatinaMomBlogs. Her focus is on education, startups, advocacy, and technology. Her tweets bring a bicultural and bilingual flavor to the digital landscape. She also tweets some of the most stimulating visual images of food you've ever seen! Foodies unite!

6. Miguel Corona
Passionate about helping organizations tap the Latino workforce. He is an educator, researcher, mentor, entrepreneur, father, and one of the best resources for insights on how to understand, reach, and develop Latino talent.

7. Engel Fonseca
Futurist blazing trails from Miami to Mexico and back. He is a public speaker, marketing professor, techpreneur, and the Founder of Neurona Digital and the man behind, a research platform for finding the best data about the U.S. Hispanic Digital Advertising Market.

8. Ariel Coro
A technology expert and the author of El Salto. His passion for education and clear vision of the future has helped ordinary people embrace technology and capitalize on its limitless benefits. He is the founder of and the man behind Tecnifícate.

9. Aurelia Flores
Founder and Host of a powerhouse of wisdom focused on leadership and empowerment. Her work fosters a community of Latinas re-imagining culture together by blending a mix of personal empowerment messages with community involvement and current, relevant information for the modern Latina woman.

10. Claudia Havi Goffan
A true motivator and recognized expert in Latino Marketing by CNN en Español. She has been named one of the Top 48 PR professionals by the American Express Open Forum. Her stream is rich in valuable information for understanding and connecting with Latinos. She is the Founder of Target Latino. Her energy is contagious.

We could literally be here all day showcasing some of the best and brightest but we understand that you  have work to do so we'll save it for another post. Stay tuned for follow up posts on additional game changers, motivators, influencers, and genuinely friendly prolific Latinos(as) doing big things on Twitter and beyond.

Monday, July 2, 2012

10 Must Follow Prolific Latinos on Twitter

The following is a breakdown of the most dynamic, inspiring, engaging, thought-provoking Latinos and Latinas in the digital space who not only add value to the conversation but also make the new media arena fun, exciting and informative! (By no means does order convey rank, importance, etc.)

Follow these awesome gente on Twitter and be inspired to make big things happen:

Frankie is a consistent voice of knowledge and know-how. He is a specialist in SEO, Social Media, Wordpress, Cyberculture, and all things digital. 

Social innovation and communications specialist with a genuine interest in helping people achieve and move past the status-quo. He brings a fresh perspective to the meaning of groundswell activity.

One of the most dynamic entrepreneurs on Twitter. He is not only the founder of Dabble and Tangelo but a resource for staying on top of all things related to startups between Silicon Valley and South America. 

Perhaps, one of the most dynamic Latinas in social media. She is the CEO of Speak Hispanic and the Vice-Chair, Marketing at LATISM. Her name says it all. She's the Universe's 1st and only geek goddess. It's hard not to be inspired by her activity and efforts across the Latinosphere.

He literally wrote the book on connecting and engaging with Latinos online. Joe is the author of Latino Link and a social/digital marketing advisor. His tweets offer unique insights into the areas of storytelling, cultural branding, and digital marketing.

A window into the sphere of cultural expression. Follow Juan and have a blast with fresh perspective that is sure to engage the senses. Think awesome blog posts about Manzanas Enchiladas and the art of doing 'Nada' among other topics most easily classified under the Hispanic Lifestyle umbrella, but by no means exclusive for only a Latino audience.

Along the path of unstoppable productivity comes a necessary voice of reason and reminder to stop, sit back, relax, and enjoy life. Jes knows the meaning of paying it forward and offers her followers gems of wisdom, motivation, and information. She is the Director of LATISM Los Angeles.

We all need a bit of creative inspiration. He is the VP-Multicultural Marketing at EB Lane, an artist, speaker, writer, self-proclaimed Nopalista, and the Director of LATISM Phoenix. Joe offers a bit of reality and artistic flair to the conversation. "Tweet tweet little birdies..." - Recent tweet.

Project Manager at Mozilla, S.H.P.E. Region 1 Vice-President, and edu tech fan. As one of the faces behind @Latino_Startups, she offers those looking to start something fresh real-world experience in a 140 characters or less.

Entrepreneur, author, and public speaker on organizational leadership, marketing, and social technology. We can talk about his articles over at ClickZ and Forbes but the real value comes from Giovanni's affinity with the intersection of marketing and human empowerment.

We couldn't compile a list without leaving perhaps one of the most prolific and successful Latinas on Twitter...

+1 Ana Roca Castro
Ana is a social entrepreneur and the founder of Latinos in Social Media (LATISM), the largest organization of Latino professionals engaged in social media. She is also a serial entrepreneur, education tech developer, proud Latina, and is genuinely interested in helping others make big things happen.

These are just a few of the many dynamic Latinos and Latinas in social media. We know we left off tons of talented gente and will follow up with subsequent posts highlighting some of the best and most prolific Latino voices on Twitter and beyond!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Latin America Leads as the Most Socially-Engaged Global Region

A recent comScore report on social networking in Latin America shows that more than 127 million Latin Americans ages 15 and older visited a social networking destination from a home or work computer in April 2012, with the average visitor spending 7.5 hours social networking during the month. The report also provided analysis on emerging social network, which saw its audience increase eightfold in the first four months of the year to reach 1.3 million Latin Americans in April.

“Not does nearly 100 percent of the Latin American Internet population visit social networking destinations each month, but they also spend a lot of time on the sites,” said Alejandro Fosk, comScore senior vice president of Latin America. “While social networking isn’t a new phenomenon, we are still seeing strong market growth, changing dynamics among the leading players, and the emergence of new social sites that make it an especially interesting market to watch right now.”

Latin America is an ideal and burgeoning market for technology, social media, and startups. 

For the full article, visit comScore.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

For Hispanic Americans, a Mega-Boom in Homeownership is Revving Up

"Hispanics are enthusiastically angling for the American dream of a home to call their own. Predictions indicated that between now and 2020, Hispanics  – the second largest ethnic group in America — will account for  50 percent of new buyers . Currently, 75  percent of first time buyers are white while Hispanic home buyers constitute 11 percent, a 38 percent increase over 2010 figures.  And as their purchasing power increases, a “mega rise” may be on the way."
We are currently at a crossroads where Latinos are impacting almost every industry in some form or another and recent data regarding homeownership speaks to the growth and influence of Latinos in America. The collective whole of the Latino population segment has presented both marketers and curious onlookers with a prime window of opportunity to create synergies that foster positive growth for America across virtually all forms of industry.
"In general,  Hispanics hold fast to the American dream. According to national housing surveys, despite worries over jobs and the economy, they  are more eager to become homeowners for both emotional and financial reasons.Though only 32 percent of all Americans consider owning a home a symbol of success, 56 percent of Hispanics believe that it is. Additionally, 68 percent of Hispanics versus 57 percent of all Americans are more likely to think purchasing a home is a sound economic decision. And 73 percent of Hispanics compared to 57 percent of all Americans feel that home ownership is a good path to building family wealth for future generations."
For the full article, visit Hispanic Americans Holding Fast to the American Dream

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 Awesome Must Have Tools for Latino Startups

Latinos are passionate, driven, and fully engaged in driving their own measure of success. Entrepreneurship across the Latinosphere is hot as confirmed by dynamic activity taking place on Twitter, the blogosphere, and beyond. Some of the startups that come to mind include Refleta, Gizmo, and Dabble.
The number of small Hispanic businesses is set to keep growing, say experts. The Hispanic population is expected to triple in size by 2050, according to the Pew Center. And the revenue from Hispanic businesses is expected to surge more than 39 percent, to more than $539 billion in the next six years, based on estimates by HispanTelligence, a market research firm.
And we're not even talking about the drive of Millennials.  Fifty-four percent of the nation's Millennials either want to start a business or already have started one according to the Kauffman Foundation. Considering that Latinos are the youngest demographic in the U.S. this makes perfect sense and helps to explain why gente are so passionate about changing the world, giving back, and commanding the proverbial entrepreneurial ship.

Young Latino Startups

Perhaps this trend fueled by Millennial and Latino entrepreneurial passion is also the result of the hot bed of activity taking place in Latin America. Joe Kutchera, author of Latino Link, recently talked about how Latin America’s Internet entrepreneurs are ramping up.

With all this fabulous activity, we thought it would be a great idea to share our five must have tools for Latino Startups. Consider the following a starting point or merely some of our favorites that have proven to be user friendly, cost-effective, and just plain cool.

Setup a social launching soon page in minutes.

An online tool for creating, tracking and sending invoices.

Always have your stuff when and where you want it.

Remember your stuff and keep it in a simple easy to use digital notebook.

Google+ Hangouts
Collaborate all in realtime.
Google Hangouts

We love these tools because they help entrepreneurs focus on what matters...making big things happen.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bringing Hispanic to The Mainstream

What we need to focus on is how social media and the communication tools before us can open up a gateway of commonality and erase barriers of misunderstanding. Latinos are active, social, empowered, and genuinely interested.

It doesn't take a genius to recognize the growing influence of Latinos both online and offline. With over 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S. and over 32 million online, you'd think marketers nationwide would clamor to connect with this growing population. Latinos aren't just present but instead command a sphere of influence that exudes with accomplishment, impact, celebration, and cultura.

The proof is in the pudding and apparently marketers are still reluctant to request their piece of the pie. Mobile and digital spend overall is only a small portion of total ad spend.
Even when brands recognize the importance of reaching Hispanics with social media and mobile technology, some say, efforts are misguided.
To many, this news comes as no surprise. An approach to capture the attention of the Hispanic market is oftentimes based on assumptions rather than insights and tends to be built on the status quo. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing marketers isn't justification of an immense opportunity for impact and engagement but instead consists of moving decision makers towards a recognition of the immense responsibility, rather, opportunity for retro-marketing.

Instead of marketing to Latinos, why don't brands and influencers seek out ways to bring Latino to the mainstream? The likes of Q'Viva! serves as a perfect example of what it means to answer the challenge of building bridges instead of silos.

We are challenged to be the ambassadors of all that is good, beautiful, and empowering about the Hispanic culture. To shift the attitudes of the mainstream, one must focus on commonalities, synergy, and the windows of opportunity for cultural fusion.

The possibilities are numerous.

Those who answer the challenge are sure to find a wealth of benefits and reap significant rewards.

There's no denying it. The time for individuals, organizations, and brands to think beyond the bottom line is now!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Culture Differences Create Gaps

Overcoming trust gaps and experience gaps are vital to the success of brands and their ability to create memorable customer experiences. A recent video released by Univision highlights the impact of cultural differences and how they create a gap for the overall customer experience. In this case, the healthcare industry is put in the spotlight as being an arena where practioners have a unique challenge yet awesome opportunity to close these gaps.

Read the original post and see the video here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Saying "Sí" to Business Opportunities

Found this interesting post over at Hispanic Trending which paints a nice picture into the growing influence of Latinos in Minnesota.

Manny and Vicky Gonzalez are reminded each day that it isn’t only Spanish speaking people who stop to purchase Mexican (“tortas”) sandwiches at their two restaurants in Minneapolis.

“A lot of Minnesotans have learned that there is more to Mexican food than tacos,” said Manny, who with his wife started Manny’s Tortas along Lake Street in 1999.

In the past century, long-time Minnesota families learned there was more to Italian cuisine than pizza, and that Chinese food is regional and far more complex than chow mein. Now, Minnesotans with newly acquired tastes for the Gonzalez’s Mexican sandwiches drive from throughout the Twin Cities metro area to their two shops in Minneapolis’ Mercado Central and Midtown Global Market.

U.S. Census data from 2010, anecdotal evidence about immigrant entrepreneurship, and a recently released study from the Immigration Policy Center show Minnesota is rapidly changing. Days of sputtering along and resisting change should be behind us. New Minnesotans are changing the demographic portrait of the state and communities. New ethnic entrepreneurs are changing the mix of businesses and the products and services being offered in commerce.

Hector Garcia, executive director of the Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC), refers to the benefits of this commerce as “cultural complementarities.” The long established Minnesota society learns from immigrants and refugees entering the state in search of opportunities, he said, and new arrivals learn from established businesses, groups and people.

What’s more, new Census data show that immigrants now comprise 8.3 percent of the Minnesota workforce. From them, Garcia said, existing Minnesota businesses and its large corporations gain knowledge for opening even more trade and business relationships with countries and businesses abroad, paving the way for even more economic activity.

The never-ending task for CLAC and other government agencies, nonprofit organizations and community leaders is to educate people to see new arrivals to the state and to business activity as “assets,” and not “liabilities” that need services, he said.

This year, 2012, is the next scheduled survey of business owners in America by the U.S. Census Bureau. Its findings should reveal explosive growth by ethnic entrepreneurs since the last survey in 2007.

Data on this growth is mostly anecdotal but was examined in a Minnesota 2020 November report. It showed the Hispanic/Latino community is reviving business activity in Willmar, Worthington and various other rural Minnesota communities, as are ethnic entrepreneurs throughout neighborhoods in the Twin Cities metro area.

Tom Webb, writing in Sunday's Pioneer Press, observed that the combined Hmong Village and Hmongtown Markeplace in St. Paul have more merchants and service providers on site than the Mall of America, for instance. Garcia said the 2012 survey of business owners should provide similar information for Hispanic/Latino owners. The 2007 survey showed Latino-owned businesses had $1.6 billion in revenue and employed 5,970 people. Both figures are expected to swell in the coming study.

From anecdotal evidence, business startups from the ethnic communities are believed to be young and within the five-year range from the last business owner survey. That makes Manny’s Tortas, now entering its 13th year, a long established enterprise both by restaurant standards and by ethnic ownership experience.

That baker’s dozen of years experience in Minneapolis gives Manny Gonzalez a perspective on how economic activity builds and how markets change. When the Gonzalez family first opened shop in Mercado Central (1515 East Lake Street), most of the customers were fellow Hispanics, he said. Now, the customer base is “a good mix of everyone who wants a good, different sandwich.”

This mix of customers spills over on Minnesota and Minneapolis economies. Manny and Vicky Gonzalez now employ 12 people.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

When it Comes to Reaching Latinos Online, Marketers Have Room for Improvement

Creative that appeals to race, background is key to engagement

Brands that want to reach ethnic minorities online are not doing a very good job, according to some research. An April 2011 survey by Yahoo!, Mindshare and Added Value found that according to Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans, digital advertising does not engage them. When asked for three brands doing a good job reaching them, most said they couldn’t name even one.

One big reason was that respondents felt their ethnic groups were poorly represented in messaging. Some 78% of blacks, 74% of Hispanics and 72% of Asians surveyed agreed that diversity in ads is the best reflection of the real world. And nearly as many in each group said ads should show more of that diversity.

Reaching these groups and building resonance is about understanding the unique interests of today's multicultural audience and the important element of authenticity.

One way to be authentic is to reflect consumers’ core values and interests. The study found particular cultural “drivers” important to ethnic groups. For about half of blacks surveyed, music and beauty were significant. For Hispanics, a big driver was food and recipes, and for Asian-Americans, restaurants that reflect their tastes were key.

Source: eMarketer