Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sony Electronics Inc. and CHISPA To Host "Latino iConnect" a Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego

Sony Electronics Inc. and CHISPA To Host "Latino iConnect" a Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego
The Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce encourages business owners and entrepreneurs to attend the Latino iConnect Conference on February 26, 2014 in San Diego, California. The impressive event will be hosted by Sony Electronics Inc and the CORE Hispanic Sony Professional Alliance (CHISPA).

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) November 25, 2013 -- Sending out a call to all business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce (HISCEC) announces the Latino iConnect Conference hosted by Sony Electronics Inc and CHISPA.

The digital marketing conference will be held on February 26th, 2014 at Sony’s corporate building in San Diego, California and will highlight the latest in internet marketing trends and best practices. Tayde Aburto, Founder of HISCEC said of the conference “It's an honor to work with CHISPA at Sony to organize Latino iConnect. The conference will help small business owners and professionals make the most of their time and resources through the Internet marketing tools that are so necessary in today’s competitive marketplace. Without the integral knowledge the conference will impart, it’s so much more challenging to take a company’s marketing efforts to the next level.”

Speakers for the event include Ramon de Leon who is a social media visionary and a global keynote speaker with a focus on inspiration. Additionally, Neal Schaffer a social media strategist, consultant, and the author of “Maximize your Social” will speak at the event. The founder of the AdAge Top 100 Global Marketing Blog “Maximize Social Business” is also a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer. In the following days more speakers are going to be announced.

Topics addressed at the Latino iConnect Conference in late February will be Advanced Strategies to Content Marketing, How to Boost Engagement on Facebook, Google+ for Business and Twitter Tactics and Strategies. Other engaging topics include LinkedIn for Lead Generation and Networking as well as Visual Storytelling via Instagram and Vine. Careful to offer a broad range of subjects the conference will also tackle YouTube Marketing for Small Businesses and Blog Monetization Strategies among various other needful topics.

Latino iConnect is supported by several organizations such as the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, CANIETI, University of San Diego, San Diego Red, Crowdismo and many more.

For more information about the Latino iConnect Conference visit For more information about the Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce visit If you are interested in exhibiting or becoming a sponsor please contact Tayde Aburto at (858) 768-2483 or via e-mail tayde.aburto[at]

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Latino Startups to Watch in 2014

In this third post in a series on Latino startups, Oxford SBS Seed Fund co-founder Mark Hand highlights the Latino market startups on the path to startup success. Check out the first and the second posts in the series, too.

When Peter Wilkins of New Futuro set out to raise a round of venture capital this year, he found very few investors that understood his target market: US Hispanics. In the VC community, he still says, "there is no one that I know of focused on Hispanic market companies."

That lack of understanding on the part of investors hasn’t slowed down New Futuro. Through its events, resources, and online community, New Futuro now provides educational advice and material it says reaches millions of Hispanics every year. In the footsteps of companies such as HolaDoctor, Xoom, Progreso Financiero, and Consorte Media, New Futuro is part of a new crop of Latino market startups that are raising cash, building teams, and charging into the Latino market.

The most active sector for Latino market startups is financial services. Regalii, led by Wharton MBA and Echoing Green Fellow Edrizio de la Cruz, follows in the footsteps of iSend in allowing families to have some a say in the spending of remittances. Currently in beta launch according to its website, Bucks Bill Pay allows customers to pay their bills in cash at local agents. And Juntos Finanzas, a product of Stanford, empowers Latino customers to track their own expenditures by SMS, similar to India-based social enterprise InVenture.

Along with New Futuro, another crop of Latino market startups focuses on education: YogoMe is an educational app with plans to move into language learning. Backed by 500 Mexico City (which announced its new batch of startups just last week), YogoMe is one example of how companies are pulling in resources from both American and Mexican startup ecosystems. Sleek-geek has three educational tablet apps for teachers, and is one of seven companies in the first Manos Accelerator cohort that includes Antonio Altamirano's InteresantePlaza Familia is another educational venture founded by Latino social media veteran Ana Roca Castro.

Beyond financial services and education, immigration services platform LexSpot has raised over half of its $750,000 convertible seed round. YaSabe, another 500 Startups portfolio company building a bilingual, local search engine, closed a $2.7M funding round in the first half of 2013. AssuredLabor, based in NYC and with operations in Brazil and Mexico, raised $5.5M earlier in 2013 to expand its job-seekers platform.

Keep an eye on these companies in 2014--no doubt at least one of them will soon stand with Xoom and others that have built successful businesses by serving a large and growing US Hispanic market.

Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments.


A couple of notes: iSend is a portfolio company of Gray Ghost Ventures, Mark's former employer. Also, thanks to Barney Santos from Gentefy Media for his help in pulling this list together.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Latino Startup Alliance to Host 1st Annual Innovator Summit in San Francisco

The Latino Startup Alliance, created to encourage the inspiration and cultivation of U.S. Latino led technology startup ventures by providing a strong support network of fellow entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, & mentors, is hosting their 1st annual Innovator Summit at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco.

About the LSA Innovator Summit
The 1st Annual summit in San Francisco that brings together Latino tech entrepreneurs for two days of startup pitches, keynotes, lighting talks, workshops, networking, and the fostering of both partnerships & friendships to help support Latino startups globally.

The LSA Innovator Summit will focus on three principals: Access, Acceleration, and Awareness. This summit will be the catalyst in providing a platform for startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and partners to connect and take action.

The Latino Startup Alliance is holding an open invitation where startups can apply to pitch at the upcoming Innovator Summit.

With a robust set of partners like the Kauffman Foundation, Latinas Think BIG, Lean Startup Circle, and many others, the LSA Innovator Summit is a landmark event playing front and center in today's "Latino Tech Moment."


Monday, November 4, 2013

Latino Startup delivers hip music videos and real-time interaction to musicians and fans of Latin indie music. brings back the nostalgia of watching music videos while using the most up-to-date technology and taking on an international mass appeal.

AUSTIN, TX— is an early-stage Latino startup that provides music lovers with a music video jukebox in the cloud. Along with tapping into the deep nostalgia people have of music videos—remembering the heyday of MTV— is the trusted source of the latest hits in Latin indie music. goes beyond the normal music app by building their collection in the cloud, giving users access to their personal music video collection at any-time and anywhere. Imagine spicing up a dull party by having your music video collection handy online or even from your phone!

“I was tired of the endless Youtube and music blog searches” says founder and developer, Ulises Ramirez-Roche. “I wanted to keep track of my favorite artists and watch cool music videos, so I built a music video robot, who lives in the cloud.”

With the limited resources and competition for the limelight, new artists don’t always have a way to reach their audience; gives musicians a better platform from which to reach their fan base and easily promote their music to their target market. With a lack of industry attention towards international and Latin music here in America, lends itself as a simple and direct distribution channel for Latin music fans around the globe.

“With the growing Hispanic population in the United States, there should be a site or channel devoted to young, hip Latino music” adds Ulises Ramirez-Roche. “A lot of talented Latino musicians go unnoticed because they simply don’t have the resources that American or European artists do.” is a free music app available to users via on their web browsers and mobile devices. features: 

  • Presents trendy, curated music video collection and personal playlist built in the cloud.
  • Gives users access to their personal collection from anywhere on their mobile devices or web browsers. 
  • Like videos from a curated video collection and add them to your personal playlist. 
  • View the latest videos from indie pop artists from Latin America. 
  • Vote for videos and track the real-time popularity of a video on the ‘Leader Board’.
  • Quickly find your favorite videos and add them to your playlist with the quick search feature.
  • Currently in development, is working on a live Twitter feed for each band, to be displayed on each music video page. 
  • Also in development, ‘Late Night Channel’ where it displays the top dance music videos and a list of nearby clubs or concerts near the user location. 

Founder, Ulises Ramirez-Roche first thought of because he missed regularly tuning into a music video channel and saw the need for a promotion source for Latin music in the United States.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cal Poly Invites Entrepreneurs, Innovators to Oct. 23 TechPitch Event

SAN LUIS OBISPO - Cal Poly invites all entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts to the third annual TechPitch competition from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo.

At the event, eight applicants will pitch their viable technology-related business ideas to a panel of industry experts and investors. One winner will be chosen to receive follow-up services, contacts, and opportunities from affiliate organizations.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to cast their vote for the Viewers' Choice Award.

The event is put on by the Cal Poly Small Business Development Center for Innovation, Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Softec, the Economic Vitality Corporation, and the Business & Entrepreneurship Center at Cuesta College. It is sponsored by Madonna Inn.

"Not only is the program current and relevant - with a crowdfunding expert keynote speaker and updates on new Securities and Exchange Commission rules - but the pitches are entertaining and exciting, and the networking could change the course for your business or career," said past attendee Thea Chase, director of the Cal Poly SBDC.

Sean Read, a Cal Poly MBA student, said, "I'm excited not just for the pitches, but also for the whole night of fun that comes along with them. Dinner, drinks and a night of networking with prominent industry experts appeals to my entrepreneurial spirit and will help my future professional career."

Registration is required. The registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 18. Tickets are $59 person, $400 for a table of eight, and $29 for students.

For more information and to register, go to or call Judy Mahan, assistant director of the Cal Poly SBDC for Innovation, at 805-756-5171.

Tech Pitch Reservations

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The State of Latino Startups: Exploring the Challenges

In this second post in a series on Latino startups, Oxford SBS Seed Fund co-founder Mark Hand explores some of the obstacles that Latino-run and Latino-focused startups face. Read the first post in the series here.

Startup struggles, generally speaking

If there is one topic that entrepreneurs love to talk about more than any other, it is be the trials and tribulations of being a founder. You work impossibly long hours; you wake up with cold sweats knowing that every moment you’re not working on your idea, your competitor is. You spend more time managing people than you do with the product that you wanted to build; you are constantly reminded by more ‘reasonable’ friends and family members that you are sacrificing prime earning years to chase a dream. Money is always in short supply, and no one--no one--can ever truly give you the peace of mind that you are doing it right.

In nearly one hundred conversations about Latino startups over the last eight months, I’ve also heard and identified a handful of other hurdles specific to Latino startups. Some of them are relevant to Latino founders; others are particular to startups whose primary customers are Latinos.

Latino founders' uphill fight for funding?

Latino founders, just like their non-Latino counterparts, point to the lack of high-risk capital as a significant barrier to the growth of Latino startups. Unlike in conversations with white founders, however, hints at racial bias among funders are pretty common in conversations with Latino founders. Few accuse venture capital investors of outright racism. Instead, they make two arguments. The first, voiced by at least one venture-funded entrepreneur, is that venture investors have the same subconscious racial bias that Chicago Booth researchers discovered among hiring managers in Boston and Chicago. Venture capital (VC) investors retort that if they see a strong team with a good idea in a growing market, they don’t care about someone’s race or country of origin. In fact, Silicon Valley is so dependent upon foreign talent that they now lobby ferociously for immigration reform.

The second, related argument is that the nature of many VC investors’ networks is such that black and Hispanic entrepreneurs are excluded not due to racial bias but because of the nature of social networks. In a recent conversation about the opportunity for a Latino-focused startup fund, one VC asked me if I was saying all VCs were racist. “No,” I said, “We’re lazy.” When some VCs proudly trumpet that a resourceful entrepreneur will find the right introduction to them, they are trusting their network to complete the first round of vetting of potential startups. In the aggregate, such a closed-network approach to deal-sourcing means out-of-network ideas are shut out until someone (a “broker” in network theory) connects them.

Before they approach VCs for scale-up funding, however, Latino founders point to another gap in funding. Unlike founders from well-connected, wealthy backgrounds, Latino founders have fewer wealthy friends and family members waiting in the wings to pump $20,000 into their startup. One Latina founder told me that, as the most educated and successful member of her extended family, asking her family for money would be laughable; instead, she is expected to be the one with a steady job providing cushion for everyone else. In this way, Latina founders, already carrying much of the weight of the growing Latino startup community, may be loaded down even more than their male counterparts by familial expectations. 

The Latino market: large, nuanced, tough

What of startups that are not run by Latinos but focus on the Latino market? They too, face special struggles both in financing and execution. In seeking financing from VCs, Latino market startups struggle to get attention from investors rightly inclined to fund what they already know--e.g. tech, life sciences, solar, mass market retail, defense. Why educate yourself on a new, unproven market, exposing yourself to even greater risk? The answer, of course, is that not only are Latinos a large and growing group of upwardly mobile young consumers, but they are early adopters of new technologies and bellwethers for shifts in consumer trends; but as Antonio Altamirano points out, this case has yet to be made in a clear and compelling way.

Even given funding, Latino-focused startups face a special challenge: the Latino market may be huge, but it is incredibly nuanced and diverse. Most obviously, Latino market startups have to balance the needs of English-dominant and Spanish-dominant customers; the fluently bilingual customer support and content creators required to do this are tough to find and harder to retain.

Yet both Latino founders and those interested in the Hispanic market are plowing ahead. One example of such forward momentum is Manos Accelerator, which has recently accepted their first cohort of Latino startups. In our next article, we’ll take a closer look at a few of the Latinos and Latino-focused entrepreneurs blazing the trail--if you know of a few, send them our way!

Mark Hand (@markchand) is the cofounder of the SBS Seed Fund, a student-run startup fund within Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. He spent two years with Gray Ghost Ventures investing in early-stage companies in the US and India. Mark is currently researching startups in the US Hispanic market. Photo by Phil Roeder from Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Latino Startup Alliance Expands Presence to the Central Coast

Latino Startup Alliance Central Coast Launch

Latino Startup Alliance Expands Presence to the Central Coast
Focused on encouraging the inspiration and cultivation of Latino led technology startup ventures

August 21, 2013 -- Latino Startup Alliance (LSA) based in San Francisco, CA is excited to announce that it will be expanding its presence to the California Central Coast.

The Central Coast has been very active in the tech ecosystem with recent Startup Weekends being held in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. Spanning some of the most beautiful coastline in California from Monterey to Port Hueneme, the Central Coast is home to a vibrant collective of change agents, dynamic entrepreneurs, and forward-thinking educators. Highlighting the Latino entrepreneur and tech community's need for a bigger platform is what a global organization like LSA can provide.

In addition, leading LSA Central Coast's (LSA CC) efforts will be Jose Huitron - Founder of Hub 81 and Co-Founder of Crowdismo, the first Latino-focused crowdfunding platform. Jose has been very active in the local tech community through efforts such as Startup Weekend Santa Maria helping to accelerate the conversation on entrepreneurship and increase startup activity.

"The Central Coast is fast becoming a booming tech and entrepreneurship corridor. An opportunity to help foster increased diversity in tech and entrepreneurship is a welcome challenge. The Latino Startup Alliance brings an important bridge to the region with direct access to Silicon Valley and vital support that will help increase the number of Latinos in tech and entrepreneurship locally." says Jose.

To register for this upcoming event visit:

About the Latino Startup Alliance
LSA launched over a year and half ago and has proudly grown to over 400+ innovators. LSA's mission is to encourage the inspiration and cultivation of Latino led technology startup ventures by providing a strong support network of fellow entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and mentors. For more information visit:


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top Gadgets for Business Owners: Guest Post by Tanya Salcido of #LatinaGeeks

Let’s be honest. We all love playing with new gadgets, especially ones that will improve the productivity level in our business or simply for entertainment. As Latinos, it’s no surprise that we are enthusiastic mobile users. Three-in-four (76%) Hispanic internet users say they access the internet on a cellphone, tablet or other mobile handheld device at least occasionally, according to a Pew Hispanic survey. Nothing is growing faster than the adoption of portable devices and the consumption of content on these devices. 

In the U.S., Hispanic consumers’ usage rates of smartphones, television, online video, social networking and other forms of entertainment make this group one of today’s most engaged and dynamic populations in the digital space, according to Nielsen’s recent State of the Hispanic Consumer: The Hispanic Market Imperative report. It’s proven that mobile presents a significant avenue of opportunity for marketers looking to reach Hispanic consumers.

So with all the data presented, it’s comes with no surprise that the go-to gadgets for a majority of savvy business owners or entrepreneurs are a smartphone or tablet. They can definitely help knock out the to-do list, especially with the help of business enhancing apps, such as Evernote, Square and HelloSign. Among Latino adults, half (49%) say they own a smartphone, so you know that cafecito break will be a productive one.

Let’s look beyond the a smartphone or tablet and dive into gadgets that will take business performance and everyday life to a whole other level. Who knows … your tech savviness may even help you seal the deal at your next client meeting.

Leap Motion Software - $79.99
Touch screen? That’s so 2007. This smartphone-sized gizmo by Leap Motion puts touch screen to shame. You will no longer need to use a keyboard or mouse and kiss those smudge marks on your monitor goodbye. With the Leap Motion Controller, all you have to do is wave your hand or lift your finger, and, as if by magic and pinpoint accuracy, stuff moves on your screen. You can even pick something up and put it down. Just like in real life. It’s been called “the best gesture-control system we've ever tested,” by Wired. It’s design is sleek and only 3” long, so it’s perfect for travel or beside your computer. Using this gadget will not only make your feel like you’re on the next level of your tech game, but it will be sure to impress potential clients when presenting your company’s services.

Leap Motion

DOCKr - $149.95
This gadget is a 6-in-1 solution for your iPad. Not only will it protect your iPad, but it works as a battery charger via USB and micro USB port for your smartphone and tablet, has a wireless keyboard, speakers and provides flexible viewing. You also have the option to customize the look of the case by adding your logo. What says, “You rock”, more than a branded case for your team? It’s lightweight and will make meeting note-taking a snap. The DOCKr offers an extra 4-8 hours of extra battery lifetime and will allow you to carry and continue your work while on the go. 


Wi-Drive - Starts at $80.50
Having a wireless portable drive can get you out of a tight spot when running late for a business trip or meeting. Did you forget to load your 32GB video to your laptop? No worries. Add it to your wireless drive in advance for safe keeping. Kingston’s Wi-Drive lets you store and share your content with your colleagues. It gives you up to 128GB of added storage for your mobile device and lets you share photos, videos, files and more with three or more users on their own mobile device. Access the Wi-Drive through any Internet browser or download one of the free Wi-Drive Apps to access and easily share the content. This pocket-sized device offers 4 hours of of continuous use and can handle a few drops, bumps and knocks.

3M™ MP180 Pocket Projector - $399.00
With a 3M Mobile Projector, you can connect to virtually any digital device with digital output and share it with others. They’ve made it so easy to plug in and present. With Bluetooth technology‚ you can access‚ update and download files over the Internet. So you never again have to worry about having the right content for your presentation. Need a projector that supports Microsoft Office suite and Adobe files? They’ve got you covered. Need to connect to an Apple device? Consider it done. You will always be prepared when walking into that corporate office for a presentation.

MP180 Pocket Projector

SlimScan SS100 - Starts at $139.99
This credit card sized scanner packs a punch. It allows you to scan all your receipts into monthly directories, then import to software to view, OCR (Optical Character Reader) into expense database, edit, create Excel report for the period, and also create a report containing Excel and all related expense images together to easily send by email. This device is perfect if you are a frequent traveler or always taking clients out to dinners. No matter where you are, you can bring this scanner with you and capture receipts and business contacts. The best part about this little scanner is it can hold up to 600 images. Remember to pack this device for your next week-long trip.

About Tanya Salcido
Described as the “go-to girl in branding,” a self-professed social media addict and early adopter of technology, Tanya Salcido is skilled in the ways of digital branding, strategic online communications, online community-building, blogger/influencer outreach and formulating successful marketing action plans. As an Inbound Marketing Certified Professional and with professional experience in social media dating back to 2008, Tanya is well-versed in helping companies and non-profits excel in their social and online presence.

While she’s savvy in serving the needs of a wide variety of clientele, Tanya has a particular passion and flair for digital marketing for the Latino market. Her work in this area includes event organizing with an online Latino social media organization, published pieces in Hispanic Network Magazine, Professional Woman’s Multicultural Magazine and co-founding #LatinaGeeks, an online community that aims to empower and inspire Latin women by spreading knowledge of entrepreneurship, social media and technology.

Tanya loves exploring California’s wine regions, cooking, and watching 80’s movie classics like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Valley Girl. She is also an avid baseball fan, which once led to her scoring an Ultimate Fan grand prize from the Angels.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Where are all the Latino Startups?

We are excited to announce a special segment on Vista Hispano focused on shedding some light on the state of Latino entrepreneurship. Joining us is Mark Clayton Hand, an MBA from Oxford University and a cofounder of the SBS Seed Fund, a student-run startup fund within Oxford's Saïd Business School. Mark brings a unique set of investment perspective to the table and is focused on helping to illuminate the dynamics around the current state of affairs that is the exciting state of Latino startups. A huge shout out to Mark for joining Vista Hispano.

Where are all the Latino startups? By Mark C. Hand

The US Hispanic consumer market is big. Really big. $1.3-trillion-dollars-and-counting big. Major corporations like Best Buy, Yahoo, and The Home Depot are paying attention and have piled in, attempting with varying degrees of success to capture a piece of this large and growing market.

Over the course of the last six months, my colleagues and I have researched the Hispanic market with a specific hypothesis: Given its potential, surely there are dozens of startups launching clever, scalable businesses serving Hispanic consumers. As it turns out, we were (mostly) wrong.

Over a series of posts on Vista Hispano, I’ll discuss three elements of the Latino startup ecosystem: What barriers are blocking the creation of a Latino startup market? What startups are already plowing through those barriers? Where do they find the capital they need to start their business?

First, let’s clear up a bit of confusion about what we mean by Latino startups. When people say Latino startups, they mean one of two things: either startups operated by Latinos, or startups serving the Latino market. And when they say Latino startups, they mean either small companies with huge growth potential, or small businesses. The result is a conversation about four different types of companies, often all in the same conversation.

The vast majority of businesses in the US fit into the bottom half of this matrix. Venture capitalists sometimes derisively refer to these small businesses as “lifestyle” businesses. But they are the blood pumping through the American economy, and Hispanics start such small businesses at a faster clip than non-Hispanics.

These companies are very different than the high-growth entrepreneurs on the hunt for venture capital or private equity investment--the companies we're interested in here. Some of those companies, such as Marc Barros’ Contour, are Latino-owned but not Latino market-focused. Others, like pre-paid phone provider MetroPCS, find success by reaching out directly to Latino customers; but they are not Latino-owned. A handful of companies, such as Alicia Morga’s previous company Consorte Media, are both Latino-owned and Latino-focused.

Why do these distinctions matter? Because each type of business faces unique challenges, taps different sources of capital, hires a different type of employee, and demands a different set of skills. If we want to build a Latino startup ecosystem, driving resources to the entrepreneurs who create value and wealth in the Hispanic community, clarity of conversation is key.

In our next post, we'll take a look at some of the challenges--both real and imagined--faced by Latino startups.

Mark Hand (@markchand) is an MBA from Oxford University and a cofounder of the SBS Seed Fund, a student-run startup fund within Oxford's Saïd Business School. He spent two years with Gray Ghost Ventures investing in early-stage companies in the US and India. Mark is currently researching startups and investors in the US Hispanic market.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Understanding the Ebb and Flow of Biculturalism Can Help Elevate Your Latino Marketing Strategy

Image credit.
Successful excursions in marketing often arise as a result of an orchestrated collision of research, relevance, information, and creative genius. A winning campaign regardless of the medium, purpose, and audience works because of one simple truth.

It matters.

When an idea strikes a chord something tremendous happens. The right idea presented at the right time and place is like a key. It unlocks something magical. It's amazing what happens when you give the people what they want.

That's the ultimate end game.

Ideas that matter.

For everyone involved in marketing to Latinos, what matters is often a construct of culture.
Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.
To understand the ebb and flow of biculturalism is to explore the arena of motive, values, and passion. The right Latino engagement strategy is one that speaks to the cultural nuances of an audience and drives relevance across technology, geography, and language.

Enter the dynamics of narrative and brand story.

An integrated marketing campaign has a chance to thrive when it speaks to the interests and ideals of an audience and has a chance to feed off one or even several big ideas.

Tools like strategic positioning statements and venn diagrams can help uncover both the rational and emotional factors of a product or service's existence helping marketers move closer to discovering the aha moment of truth that only the champions of branding are made of.

Uncover ideas and ideals that matter.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Feria de Salud scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 17, 2013.

Food For Thought…
Hispanics are more likely than the general population to develop diabetes. It is estimated that 2.5 million, or 10.4 percent of Hispanic and Latino Americans aged 20 and older have diabetes. Hispanics also are more likely to have undiagnosed diabetes than non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. Nearly half of Hispanic children born in the year 2000 are likely to develop diabetes during their lives. Risk factors include: being overweight; having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes; being older than age 45; having had diabetes when pregnant; and being Hispanic/Latino, Alaska Native, American Indian, African American, Asian American or Pacific Islander. [source]

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is preparing for its largest Latino event of the year Feria de Salud, scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 17, 2013. Every year in New York City the ADA holds this free health event for Latinos in St. Mary’s Park, Bronx, NY the average attendance is about 4,000 people. The goal of the Feria is to illustrate the importance of learning about preventing and managing diabetes and making healthy lifestyle choices. This is accomplished through fun and informative workshops and activities, which take place throughout the day. Feria de Salud has well over 4,000 participants; Volunteers are needed to make this event a success!

Join the conversation by following the #portufamilia hashtag on Twitter.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Verizon and J. Lo Team Up to Sell Smartphones to Latinos

Will it work?

Verizon and Jennifer Lopez team up to open 15 Viva Movil retail locations in Hispanic neighborhoods throughout the U.S. by the end of 2013. The mobile giant is placing a big bet on these niche shops by focusing on the elements of language, familiarity via crossover appeal, and custom shop design to market to Latinos.
"Targeting Hispanic-American consumers was the result of Verizon recognizing the importance of phones among Hispanic-Americans, according to Jeetendr Sehdev, the branding expert hired to spearhead the Viva Movil launch. Hispanic-Americans use their phones more than the general population and are more celebrity-focused, Mr. Sehdev said, thus making Ms. Lopez a natural fit."
Read more on How Verizon Is Using J.Lo, Kids' Playgounds to Sell Smartphones to Hispanics.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Crowdismo Unveils Pioneering Platform Aimed at Launching Innovative Ideas Throughout the Latino Community

Crowdismo Powering Latino Genius Everywhere via Crowdfunding 
Crowdismo Launches Pioneering Platform Aimed at Launching Innovative Ideas Throughout the Latino Community

The Heartful Giving Project, Crowdismo's first crowdfunding campaign. 

SANTA BARBARA, CA - June 18, 2013 - Crowdismo, an online crowdfunding platform, today announced the launch of a new online website aimed at helping the Latino community activate creative and innovative ideas.

Maintaining an overall positive outlook on the economy and future of America, Latinos are champions of possibility and agents of change placing a priority on collective impact. Crowdfunding is a mechanism of activation allowing today’s tinkerers and inspired inventors an opportunity to launch fresh ideas of global relevance.

Recent data outlines a Latino audience that starts businesses two to three times the rate of non- Latinos. However, access to capital and traditional barriers in the financing sector comprise a serious threat to creativity, invention, and entrepreneurship. Crowdismo hopes to change that by offering a unique bilingual and bicultural online destination.

“It’s imperative that we foster a community of synergy and build both intellectual and financial capital driven by access to powerful economic resources that will enable continued momentum throughout the Latinosphere in the U.S.,” said Jose Huitron, Co-Founder of Crowdismo. “Crowdfunding levels the playing field in an arena where only 1% of VC money goes to African Americans and Latinos.”

On the cusp of a unique opportunity to take idea investment and new venture priority to another level, Crowdismo is aimed at leading the charge in innovation funding, idea powering, and community impact. Crowdismo eliminates barriers to entry by providing a mechanism for collective financing via the collaborative web.

Crowdismo is founded by two individuals with similarly identifying characteristics but diverse and dynamic talents. Together, Jose Huitron and Jose Guevarra comprise a powerful duo combining a robust technology skill-base and integrated marketing communications prowess.

Crowdismo’s mission is to power bold ideas throughout the Latino community across the arenas of culture, education, social impact, entrepreneurship, music, design, technology, and creativity.

Leading the pack of unique purpose-driven Crowdismo campaigns, is the Heartful Giving Project, a crowdfunding project aimed at supporting international folk art by providing a community arts center where local artisans can practice and teach their skills in Sua, Ecuador.

“The Heartful Giving Project is an example of the type of creative and globally relevant projects that we hope to activate and serves as a landmark of hope and possibility.” said Jose Guevarra, Co-Founder of Crowdismo.

Crowdismo is a disruptive online platform aimed at powering creativity and innovation within the Latino community via modern collective financing known as crowdfunding. As a fresh destination for launching bold ideas, Crowdismo allows individuals to join a groundswell of people driven by inspired genius and help power projects in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, social impact, music, film, technology, and more. For more information, visit

Jose Huitron 805.214.8281


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Upscale Hispanics Immune to Total Market Strategies - Reach Hispanic

Latino Purchasing Power
An article featured in the Wall Street Journal highlights findings from a recent AHAA report, which positions upscale Latinos as an economic force to be reckoned with. WSJ goes as far as calling upscale Hispanics the most “influential segment since the Baby Boomers.” While these findings come as no surprise to economists and ethnographers (and is still music to Hispanic marketers’ ears) upscale Hispanic media consumption could represent a challenge for marketers looking to target this group by way of a “total market approach”.

A total market approach to media buying means that by targeting the general population, there will be a certain amount of Hispanics targeted as a given. According to AHAA’s findings, upscale Hispanics’ cultural assimilation (as evidenced by their media consumption) isn’t a one way street, and thus could pose problems to marketers looking to reach this group as a side effect of reaching out to the general market.

In 2012, upscale Latinos (belonging to households that earn 50-100k annually) accounted for 29 percent (15 million) of the U.S. Hispanic population — a number that is expected to double by 2050. The WSJ states that “this viable and sophisticated market boasts 40 percent (or $4 out of every $10 Hispanic dollars spent) of Hispanic spending power, lives in a world of cultural duality, and provides lifetime value and upside opportunities for many high-end and luxury brands.”  According to the article, this “cultural duality” fuels media consumption and purchasing trends, stating that “deeper pockets do not translate to increased assimilation.”

“Upscale Hispanics live in two cultures, with three-quarters speaking both English and Spanish. While they are slightly more English-dominant, their strong cultural duality and bicultural behavior is reflected in their media consumption.” For marketers that are keen to target upscale Hispanics, this distinct cultural reality poses an interesting challenge. According to the AHAA study “over one third of upscale Hispanics watch content in both languages (with English-language comedies, documentary-style programming and children’s weekly programming as the most watched) but switch to Spanish-language television for cultural events, concerts and sports.”

While there is no cut and dry method to engage Hispanics, AHAA’s study does reiterate the value of courting upscale Hispanics and stresses the benefits of anthropological insights when attempting to do so. According to the study’s findings, the increasingly popular “total market approach” to target upscale Hispanics (which are defined by their cultural duality as expressed in their media consumption) is inadequate to say the least. As Hispanics continue their economic assimilation in the US, their cultural assimilation will be on their terms.

Article by Sergio Guarin of Reach Hispanic.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How to Make It In the EdTech Startup Sector

"Don't pitch anything related to Education."

It wasn't that long ago when I read an article about the art of startup pitching and exploding sectors. That was exactly the advice. Don't pitch anything related to education. Really? Anybody that's ever worked in the field of Academics understands that there is definitely room for innovation and fresh ideas. 

EdTech is an arena where individuals have an opportunity to address some real pain points across classroom delivery, access to academic resources, learning management, global collaboration, and administrative procedures. For example, here's an idea: How about removing the classroom walls all together allowing students to focus on breakthrough results? It's already happening! Thanks in large part to growing technology and startup activity.

Following is some excellent advice from on how to make it in the edtech startup sector. is a leading online education resource. It is owned and privately funded by contributors and researchers who have volunteered their time to create this resource and other resources within the site. Its mission is to build a free web resource rich with highly relevant educational materials for those interested.

How to Make It In the EdTech Startup Sector by
If you’re in business school, wondering which industry is ripe for innovation and rife with investment and consumer dollars, just take a look around and you’ll have your answer. Education, that bastion of methods, materials, and mediums from yesteryear, is finally being rebooted. The educational technology, or edtech, market could be looking down on the trillion-dollar mark by 2015, and now is the time to jump in with a new business idea.

Of course, every market has its own foibles and idiosyncrasies that can become roadblocks to the entrepreneur who is unprepared, and edtech is no different. More than a few pundits are already prognosticating a pop of the edtech bubble before too long. So before you join the fray with your own startup, check out where innovators are making their stands and what their advice is for joining their ranks for the long-term.

(Check out a second article in the How to Make It in the X Startup Sector on environmental startups.)

Hot Areas
Even people with the vaguest awareness of edtech developments have heard the names of the edtech companies offering digital alternatives to brick-and-mortar institutions, thanks to the funding they’ve obtained, the users they’ve attracted, or both. Cases in point: Udacity and its $15 million in funding, Coursera and its 2.8 million users, and the Minerva Project and its mission to create the world’s first Ivy League-caliber online school, armed with $25 million in venture capital.

A burgeoning area of the industry is the service market. Into this category would go learning management systems (LMS), classroom management systems, badge providers, online tutors, and much more. For years, Blackboard has been a dominant name in the LMS space, but since 2011, edtech startup Instructure has been cutting into its customer base, winning over 350 colleges and K-12 school districts and counting with its Canvas LMS, which Cisco picked to power the World’s Largest Classroom. Since 2007, lecture video capture company Panopto has grown from a research project at Carnegie Mellon University into a powerhouse service provider with 3.5 million users in 60 countries.

Finally there’s the closely-related product market, all those gadgets, tools, software, games, and even eyewear that will revolutionize the way kids and adults experience education. TechStars Boston graduate Testive recently announced a $500,000 round of funding that will help put its adaptive testing products in front of thousands of students this year. Top Hat Monocle, the maker of a platform that turns students’ mobile devices into educational gear, recently brought its funding level to over $9 million.

Know Your Audience
Every edtech startup founder and exec we talked to made one point abundantly clear: you have to know exactly who your customer is and what they want.

Instructure co-founder Brian Whitmer told us, “A lot of traditional systems in education were built for the administrator, because if the school buys, that means you have the administrators who are going to make the decisions for purchases. But what we’ve discovered and what a lot of other people are starting to see is that what really matters is that end user experience. And if you can build something that can solves peoples’ problems and saves them time and helps them be more successful, then the administrators will love it even more than if it’s easy for (just) them to use.”

Before they wrote a single line of code, Whitmer and his co-founder hit the road for a “product validation tour,” presenting PowerPoint mockups of what their platform might look like and asking educators at 17 institutions what their ideal LMS looked like. By the end of the tour, they felt confident enough that Blackboard could be unseated from its throne. “We didn’t pretend to know all the right answers,” he said. “We had to work with those guys to make a good solution.”

Miro Kazakoff took a similar approach to Whitmer. The Testive CEO and his cofounder Tom Rose took the MIT break known as “January term” to interview 40 people in two weeks. Based on those interviews, Kazakoff says, “we came up with this idea that there’s a lot of technology out there that can help people learn faster and more effectively, that isn’t being commercialized and isn’t being deployed effectively.”

Simeon Schnapper is the CEO and cofounder of classroom management platform Youtopia. The software uses gamification through badges, points, and “level-ups” to encourage students to engage in their communities. He said it is crucial to his company to always be aware of its audience. “We might not introduce leaderboards and harsh competition with incredibly introverted, developmentally-disabled second-graders, but it might be great in college for hardcore MBAs.”

Go Bottom-Up
The factors that have kept education behind the times for so long — bureaucracy, miles of red tape, strained budgets — are the very things that make edtech difficult to get into. The “top-down” approach of targeting principals, school boards, and superintendents is a sensible if time-consuming way of getting your product into classrooms. But several entrepreneurs told us using a more grassroots style can be a powerful method of attack.

Jeet Banerjee said his company, StatFuse, has had its hands full figuring out how to get its Web application that helps high school seniors calculate their odds of getting into specific colleges and find information on schools in front of the target audience. One tack they’ve settled on is pitching the product to high school guidance counselors and banking on them to get on board and endorse the program to the principal. The other group they’re focusing on is parents of high school seniors, making their presence known at college nights and workshops.

Although Youtopia employs a top-down approach also, Schnapper said his company uses its free version to market to teachers directly. “Two or three teachers start to use it, they see the power of it, and it becomes very easy to then go to the principal or the superintendent because then they have data and they see the results,” he said. “And with their teachers telling them how great it is, it becomes easier to break in.”

Work the Network
Although several of them found partners and even investors without having to leave their own campuses, the edtech entrepreneurs emphasized the importance of not simply putting the product out there and hoping someone likes it, but actively building a base of contacts. As Schnapper put it, “I wish it was just sitting back and writing code and watching the money roll in, but there’s still a lot of human networking.”

Kazakoff took Testive to the Boston branch of the incubatorTechStars, a move he called “life-changing and course-altering.” “The chance to have three months with access to and feedback from lots of different people who built lots of different kinds of businesses really forced us to think deeply about the assumptions that we had,” he said. “We (built on) the ones we really felt were correct and threw out some of the ones that we weren’t sure about and made a much stronger business.” He added that not only did they meet most of their investors through the accelerator, just being a TechStars graduate gave the company a kind of “seal of approval” that greased the tracks for attractive additional investors.

Schnapper said he and the other executives of Youtopia are constantly going to tech conferences, like the Digital Media Learning conference in Chicago and the “Beyond the Textbook” forum hosted by Discover HQ. Having just returned from South by Southwest in Austin, Schnapper mentioned how ironic it was that he’d had to go to Texas to get in front of venture capitalists from Chicago, where he lives, but that until Youtopia becomes more well-known, such appearances are vital. He also said has been great for networking with other entrepreneurs.

Set Them Free
Because the edtech market is already becoming so crowded, and because it involves competing for the limited time and money students and parents have, making your product or service free (at least temporarily) is one of the tricks of the trade seemingly no edtech company can stand to forego.

Whitmer said he’d witnessed other startup founders try to charge teachers directly, only to find that the approach was not sustainable. To him, building a customer base via a freemium model presents a much better option. “Then (entrepreneurs can) go to the district or the institution and say, ‘Look, your guys are using this. If you pay for it you get these additional features and functionalities.’ That makes a lot more sense to me in the education space; teachers are already so strapped for cash.”

Schnapper said he also had not seen a single edtech company not employing a freemium model, because it’s a way to test the product and market it and prove to investors that you have something of value. Other ways companies use freemium is to simply “get traction in sheer numbers” and find advertising revenue, sponsorship opportunities or affiliates, or other revenue streams.

Catch the Fever
The one thing all startup founders have in common is a passion for their product and their market, and this is perhaps even truer in the edtech world. All our founders expressed how they came into the industry with a commitment to changing education for the better, and the belief that they could do so.

Schnapper said, “Find that niche that really makes you happy and you’re really passionate about, because whether it’s cognitive assessment or testing or anything under the sun in education, it’s an industry that’s changing and being disrupted very quickly. And if you want to get into it, find the thing that you love because there’s just no lack of areas that are going to be innovated overnight like in the world of education.”
As it is one of the older companies we spoke with, Panopto had to power through the economic downturn. Bixhorn told us that during the recession, the company required all of its employees to take a pay cut while “working around the clock” to build up the product and pump up its sales. “The engineers were living off what they call the ‘college student diet’ of Ramen noodles,” he said.

Both Banerjee’s and Panopto cofounder Eric Burns’ journeys into edtech began from within academia. StatFuse was the result of Banerjee and cofounder Supan Shah’s debate in gym class one day over Shah’s chances of getting into certain colleges. When they couldn’t find a program to give them the odds, they decided to make one themselves. Burns was approached by one of his professors at Carnegie Mellon University to create a platform for recording lectures for a disabled student to watch at home or in the hospital.

Closing Remarks
Instead of taking the words out of their mouths, we’ll leave you with some pearls of wisdom straight from the professionals.

Bixhorn: “Start off with a rock-solid architecture. There’s often a tendency with startup companies to want to build as many new features into their product as quickly as possible, and sometimes that comes at the cost of having a solid foundation that will allow them to scale up their product over time.”

Kazakoff: “I think the big mistake that I see a lot of edtech entrepreneurs make is not thinking about how they’re going to get their product into the hands of their user. And the best software that isn’t used by users has very little chance of succeeding. I would push almost all edtech entrepreneurs to think a lot about how they are going to get people using their software.”

Banerjee: “Being young was a challenge in the beginning, but now I’ve gotten accustomed to it and it’s gone from being a liability to a great asset.”

Whitmer: “We’ve gone from 0 to 350 schools in basically two years because we found a pent-up need and we addressed it. And there are plenty more opportunities out there for disruption and innovation. There are so many I wish I had time to go address.”

Even with such a hot market, tech startups fail at a rate as high as 90%. Some are killed by a lack of innovation, some by moving too slow or too fast, and some by plain old bad luck. But by following the advice of those who are making it to know your customer inside and out, to get the product in front of them, and to be passionate about helping them, you will be well on your way to edtech success.

(Article by Image credit.)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

URBAN TxT’s Secret Sauce Turns Teens Into Tech Entrepreneurs

“I guess we’re used to a teacher coming in and telling us what to do. When it was just us, nobody really knew what to do.” This answer resonated with everyone of the 31 teens accepted into URBAN Teens eXploring Technology (URBAN TxT) summer program, also known as the Summer Hackaneer Academy. The new participant was explaining why some teens stepped up to the plate and others did not during a teambuilding activity that happened earlier in the day.

URBAN TxT students during first program activity.
Creating an environment that allows young adults to explore their talents, insecurities, attitude towards leadership, reflect on daily achievements and failures, and openly discuss these amongst the entire team takes a lot of work. Interestingly enough, South Los Angeles’ URBAN TxT has that environment. More importantly, the organization is using computer programming to develop the best and brightest minds in the inner city into technology entrepreneurs.

Founder, Oscar Menjivar, and Bagel, URBAN TxT mascot.
This unique environment comes out of a curriculum based on peer-to-peer and projectbased learning. Oscar Menjivar, co-founder of URBAN TxT, has been perfecting the curriculum for more than a decade. The program’s secret sauce needs many ingredients. The ability to teach technology concept without technology is key. For the first few weeks it’s all about team and leadership building. On the first day of the 2013 Hackaneer Academy the teens were given a problem. It was up to them to find the solution. The only rule was no verbal communication. Along the way students learned about communication, trial and error, troubleshooting, the frustration that small errors bring about and the satisfaction a coder gets after finishing a perfectly crafted project.

As students and staff get to know each other, basics of computer programming are incorporated into the activities that make URBAN TxT the only South LA technology organization that does leadership development. URBAN TxT’s secret sauce also needs personal investment from every member of the leadership team. None of the directors, coaches or volunteers are in it for a paycheck. They put in their time, creativity and commitment because they believe in the organization and, more importantly, the teens that are in it. This “students first” mentality helps the leadership team overcome obstacles, grow their own leadership and technological skills and push the boundaries of creativity.

Now, don’t think you know all there is to URBAN TxT, though. After all, the secret sauce remains secret for a reason. If you get to know the organization enough you might learn a little about the other ingredients, like a talking duck, furry hat, foam ninja or the pup named Bagel.

Blog written by Juan Vasquez, Communications Coach for URBAN Teens eXploring Technology. URBAN TxT is a nonprofit organization that encourages inner city teen males to become catalysts of change in urban communities. The organization develops teens from South LA and Watts into a new generation of leaders through technology. To learn more about URBAN TxT visit Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanSVas and URBAN TxT at @URBANTxT.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Meet Cíbola: South Side Chicago's Innovation Center Fueling Diversity in Tech Innovation

Fresh off 54 hours of startup ideation via Startup Weekend Santa Maria, the excitement and energy still remains. Questions arise as to how we can keep the momentum going in the area of moving viable ideas forward. Enter Cíbola, a prime example of a focused collective effort aimed at helping drive the number of everyday innovators. The Rainforest by Victor W. Hwang and Greg Horowitt identifies several important aspects of the 'Innovation Funnel' including:
  • Ideas
  • People
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Organizations
  • Coordinating Infrastructure
Cíbola, founded by Mahrinah von Schlegel and Emile Cambry, Jr., is an interesting example of coordinating infrastructure focused on launching new ideas and lasting companies of all kinds in South Side Chicago.

Cíbola is a hub for startups innovation, collaboration and creativity in Pilsen. Our mission is to help Chicagoans become everyday innovators, solve complex challenges, promote diversity and create a community of support for all of us to build our dreams. Cíbola is dedicated to building companies of all kinds, with a focus on tech entrepreneurship, social enterprise, and growing both Pilsen and Chicago's entrepreneur communities.

About Pilsen
Just three miles from downtown, Pilsen has been a port-of-entry community for more than 130 years. The eastern section of Pilsen has attracted been home to artists and galleries for more than 20 years. This arts district, along with the expansion of the nearby University of Illinois at Chicago and is less than five minutes from the Illinois Institute of Technology and Depaul University’s downtown campus.

Why Now?
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) reports that less than one percent of venture capital dollars invested annually has been directed to the country’s 5.8 million minority business owners, who represent 29 percent of all businesses in America. Between 2002 and 2007, the number of minority-owned firms increased 46 percent, compared to 18 percent for all U.S. firms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2002 and 2007, the number of people employed at minority-owned businesses jumped 27 percent, while job growth for non-minority-owned firms increased less than one percent. The MBDA asserts that closing the funding gap between minority-and non-minority-owned startups, based on the share of the adult minority population, would add $2.5 trillion to the economic output of the U.S. and create 11.8 million new jobs.

Cíbola, a coworking space, aims to create an intimate, engaging environment for entrepreneurs to learn actual lessons from actual experiences. It’s hard to do that with 3,000 people spread out in a giant auditorium at a keynote full of theory and fluff. What we need is an environment of accelerated and directed effort towards product and idea development.

Starting in the mid to late 2000s, hackathons became significantly more widespread, and began to be increasingly viewed by companies and venture capitalists as a way to quickly develop new software technologies, and to locate new areas for innovation and funding. Some major companies were born from these hackathons, such as GroupMe, which began as a project at a hackathon at the TechCrunch Disrupt 2010 conference; in 2011 it was acquired by Skype for $85 million. The software PhoneGap began as a project at the iPhoneDevCamp (later renamed iOSDevCamp) in 2008; the company whose engineers developed PhoneGap, Nitobi, refocused itself around PhoneGap, and Nitobi was bought by Adobe in 2011 for an undisclosed amount.

We need more spaces like Cíbola and innovators to help set the tone for ongoing ideation and exciting entrepreneurship.

Learn more by supporting Cíbola on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NORTEC Collective and Composing New Technology Tune.

NORTEC collective and composing new technology tune.

Mexico is experiencing an economic renaissance. The country's explosive growth has fueled a new wave of technology startups that are betting on the Mexican market. is one that has been able to fuse culture and technology into a service that allows users to publish, share and discover millions of interests in Spanish and English.

Interesante users are a highly mobile crowd. To support this, we are regularly releasing improved versions of Interesante for iPhone and Interesante for mobile web. Our users can explore different categories, create collections and get recommendations.

Colors, sounds, location, content and type, play a crucial role in the recommendations we serve users and our highly sophisticated algorithms are making this happen. The algorithms work diligently in the background and simplify the user’s actions.  We show our users the best content as fast as we possibly can.

Discovering new musical tastes through video

NORTEC Collective, a collective of avant-garde artists in electronic music lead by Ramón Amezcua (Bostich) and Pepe Mogt (Fussible) and twice Grammy nominated artists, are now part of the group of advisors to Interesante. NORTEC collective provides the artistic point of view and opens the doors for up and coming artists to be a crucial part of the discovery engines of the future, where the crowd discovers the hidden gems in platforms like Interesante. Video is key in the discovery of new artists and music and we are committed to taking video discovery to a new level. Interesante has integrated YouTube’s API, enabling video content recommendations

NORTEC and Interesante are working to understand the needs of musicians and solve the problem of how to be discovered among a sea of noise.  Interesante wants to let artists and musicians find their core audience and increase the initial engagement by bringing their music directly to them.

Interesante, Inc.
Menlo Park, CA

Monday, April 8, 2013 Hosting Developer Bootcamps for Women and Minorities

How can we encourage more diversity in the arenas of entrepreneurship and technology? It begins with a sense of identity and community where each of us play an important role in recognizing that talent and possibility know no boundaries. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas and we must take advantage of opportunities to turn our passions into rewarding careers. Advocates of Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) and proponents of technology and innovation in the startup arena are charged with the task of providing pathways for increased diversity in tech. As we speak organizations like March for Innovation are pushing for smart immigration reform to attract and keep the best and brightest to fuel innovation and American jobs. This is a great step forward. However, we must recognize that women and people of color are continually faced with unique challenges in the tech space. At least, that was the featured topic of a recent Diversity in Tech Panel at the LAUNCH Festival in San Francisco. Below is the video of a pioneering discussion on increasing diversity in the technology space.

Open discussion is a catalyst for idea generation, societal reflection, and community development. Collaboration and synergies among women and people of color is a token for advancement, innovation, increased creativity, and awesome ideas.

Several Latinos and Latinas come to mind who are doing some great work in encouraging open collaboration and opportunities for all in the startup and technology arena. Pioneering communities like Ellas 2.0, a unique content platform where female founders, investors and innovators share their startup stories, tips and tricks and guidance, is a prime example of progress and fundamental fairness.

"If the U.S. wants to maintain its current economic standard of living it's got to figure out how to use all of the talent available..." - Freada Kapor Klein, Ph.D.

Our goal at Vista Hispano is to highlight those who are addressing these issues and championing possibility and diversity in the entrepreneurial and startup environment. is a perfect example of what can be when individuals come together to promote diversity in tech and create new pathways for sustainability.

Sabio was born out of necessity, desire and hope. The necessity to bring more women and minorities into the world of programming through developer bootcamps. A desire to see a superior and more diverse workforce. And a hope to uplift the communities that suffer from the highest rates of unemployment and worst educational resources.

Developer bootcamps are basically accelerated learning programs where you take someone with little to no programming experience and in a short period of time (3-6 months) make them employable as an entry level programmer.

Perhaps, one of the most exciting aspects of a career in technology is that we have the ability to create our own success and (in the case of a startup) be part of a unique team environment and overall industry that is charting the future of America's place in the global arena.

Kudos to the team at Sabio who are beginning a journey in real possibility and positive outcomes for women and minorities. Interested in supporting Sabio? Check out their profile here or visit

Friday, March 22, 2013

Latinos in Social Media to Partner with LEAD to Connect Summit Participants via Social Media

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.-The Latino Education and Advocacy Days project has named Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) as its ambassador for this year's LEAD summit. The day-long summit will take place at Cal State San Bernardino, on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, from 8:00 a.m - 5:30 p.m. at the Santos Manuel Student Union. LATISM and LEAD's social media team will solicit and train interns from CSUSB, University of La Verne, and East Los Angeles College to assist with twitter, facebook, and instagram traffic the day of the summit. Participants are encouraged to use the hashtags #LEAD2013 and #LATISM_LA when participating via social media.

Jessica Valle, the director for LATISM Los Angeles will collaborate with Jose Rivera, adjunct faculty at CSUSB's Communication Studies department, in the selecting and training of interns. Student participants will learn the principles of social media engagement and put said principles to use during the summit.

"LATISM Los Angeles is very happy to partner with LEAD in helping develop young professionals and help educate in the realm of technology and social media," said Ms. Valle.

Interns serve on the Social Media Team as "Ambassadors" to enhance, brand, and expand external online communications, and build an engaged and vibrant member community around Latino Education.  The interns actively represent the team on social networking sites such twitter, facebook, and instagram...

Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) is a 501(c) 4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community. LATISM has been hailed as the most influential online movement in the new multicultural Web. For more information about LATISM Los Angeles contact Jessica Valle at

The LEAD Summit's purpose is to promote awareness of the crisis in Latino Education and to enhance the intellectual, cultural and personal development of our community's educators, administrators, leaders, parents and students. Online registration for the free Summit is now open at the LEAD website at

Friday, March 15, 2013

Q&A: Leading Author on Hispanic Marketing & Digital Engagement, Joe Kutchera

Vista Hispano held a recent digital Q&A with Joe Kutchera, a true thought-leader on how to connect with and engage today's Latinos. If you haven't read or at least perused his book by now you deserve a chancletazo! Seriously.

Hello Joe. It's not everyday that I get to connect with a top Hispanic marketing guru. You literally wrote the book on the subject of how to engage today's Latino market. Thank you for joining Vista Hispano!

First of all, thank you Jose for inviting to have a conversation on your blog. And also, thank you for including me on your top 40 list.

In your book, Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content, you talk about why U.S. Hispanics use social networking sites. Please tell us more about what you consider to be the leading factors driving one of the most socially active online population segments in the U.S.?

While writing and researching Latino Link, I read a book called “The Culturally Customized Website,” by Professors Nitish Singh and Arun Pereira. It had a big impact on my book. The authors outlined successful website design techniques based on culture, utilizing four matrices of differences between cultures, based on the work of Geert Hoefstede.

One of those differences in culture is Individualism vs. Collectivism.

Social networks present a much more welcoming environment for collectivistic cultures, most notably, Latin American cultures. Prior to social networks, the Internet was a much more 1-to-1 experience. Search, for example, is a very individualistic experience. A person types in what they want and they receive an answer. Social networks on the other hand present a much more collectivistic experience, not just on Facebook and Twitter but for all of the websites that utilize the sharing and login functionality from social networks.

The other important factor today is access to the Internet via mobile devices. We need to look no further than the new report from Pew Hispanic Trust to see that the end of the digital divide is here. Cell phones present an opportunity for everyone to access information that they want and need. And of course applications from the major social networks are consistently in the top most downloaded and utilized applications.

Why do you feel it's important for today's marketers to link to social networks where Latinos participate to facilitate interaction and self-expression?

It boils down to where people spend time. Young people especially spend a majority of their free time on social networks. This applies not only to Latinos but to all cultures and areas of interest, where people want to share their “passion” e.g. sports and music. The art of communicating with any group today on social networks is listening to them and then identifying the content that most appeals to that audience. Once this is in place, companies can develop content on social platforms to attract and facilitate conversation with their target audiences.

What kind of role do you think "self-identity" and "community" play when it comes to Latinos making a product/service decision?

The companies that can build online communities successfully can keep in touch and stay top of mind with their fans. It is not for every brand or category though.

That being said, it’s amazing how even in the insurance category (something that most people never want to think about), Allstate maintains contact with its Hispanic “fans” on its “Soy La Mala Suerte” character page with over 172,000 likes. While its 1% engagement rate is low relative to other categories, that percentage is 100’s of times better than banner advertising click-thru rates in the insurance category for example.

A lot of talk centers around the idea of 'revolucionarios' and/or 'influencers'. For brands and causes striving to engage the Latino market, what kind of dynamics or selection criteria should guide the selection of such influencers as a means of fueling Latino online engagement?

Great question. There are two types here.

One, influencers like Ana Flores, author of the book “Bilingual is Better,” serve as “hubs” for Latina moms. She is an advocate among Latina moms for raising a child to be bi-lingual.  And, she has a huge following to show for it: over 4,800 fans on Twitter @LAFlowers. (Spanglish Baby, her book that she co-authored, has over 9,000 followers on Twitter.)

Two, influencers like Chef Rick Bayless, bring Latino culture and food to the masses. Rick is the chef of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and Xoco as well as author of eight cookbooks. He has over 301,000 followers on Twitter. You could call him a #GringoLatino.

You recently blogged about your experiences this past summer putting together a pioneering research project with the migrant farm worker advocate Peter Eversoll, the co-founder of the non-profit NC Field, which “empowers farmworkers through education and leadership development of their children.” Please tell me more about this exciting project:

That’s actually a sample chapter of my new book in Spanish, a five-step process to marketing in the age of social/mobile media. Its important for companies to develop new products, services and marketing communications for the next generation of Internet users, many of whom may skip the laptop and jump right to the small screen of the mobile phone.

Our book will come out this June and be distributed in Latin America, the U.S. and Spain. All of the author proceeds will go towards One Laptop Per Child. Here are the five steps:

  1. É – Escuche a su audiencia (Listen to your audience)
  2. X – eXperimente como usuario, a través de “perfiles” (Put yourself in the shoes of the user and write your marketing plan using “personas”)
  3. I – Integre sus canales de comunicación (Integrate your communication channels)
  4. T – Transforme su audiencia en comunidades (Transform your audience into a community)
  5. O – Optimice los resultados (Optimize the results)

The book offers some great stories from 3M, Banamex (Citibank) Cinépolis (the leading movie theater chain in Mexico), Google, Grupo Expansión (Time Inc), Kimberly-Clark, LG, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble,, Sears, Unilever, and a number of startups from across Latin America.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s recent report with BIGinsight, “Digital Hispanic Consumer” shows that when Hispanic consumers go online, they are more likely to do so via a mobile device: more Hispanics own an iPhone than the general population (27 percent vs. 20 percent), an Android (34 percent vs. 26 percent), or an iPad tablet (21 percent vs. 16 percent), according to the study. Yet, unsurprisingly, the IAB report finds that Hispanic users are less likely to own a desktop (40 percent) compared to general consumers (48 percent). (Read more on Technologies of Liberation)

One of the most exciting and explosive areas of marketing and communications centers around the accelerated pace of digital media. How are trends in entrepreneurship and the ever-popular wave of startup activity impacting how marketers engage consumers both online and offline?

Great question Jose. PepsiCo has done a great job addressing that issue. The beverage and snack marketer invited startups to participate in its PepsiCo10 competition where startups compete for funding and a chance to work with PepsiCo’s brands. It allowed the company to generate more marketing ideas far more quickly as well as develop a competitive advantage via new technology.

Here’s another preview from my new book that highlights what Pepsi did:
Pepsi invited start-up companies and students to apply for the Fall 2012 phase via a tab on PepsiCo Brazil’s Facebook page. Pepsi evaluated proposals based on an applicant’s ability to partner with PepsiCo brands and commercial viability. Judges included executives from PepsiCo, venture capital firm Highland Capital, and PepsiCo’s advertising agency partners iThink and Omnicom. The PepsiCo10 Brazil winners were then offered an all-expenses paid trip to New York City in 2013 for the opportunity to meet with PepsiCo’s marketing leadership team and network with US-based digital influencers.
Appreciate the valuable perspective. Sounds like you're working on some innovative projects and leading the charge in Latino engagement. How can our visitors keep in touch with you?

Everyone can sign up for my email updates from my blog/website or send me an email at Joe [at] Kutchera [dot] net.

Joe, it's been awesome having you join Vista Hispano for a Q&A. Thank you again for this outstanding opportunity. Wish you all the best in your continued projects and look forward to staying in touch!

Joe was kind of enough to provide me with 3 signed copies of his book, Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content featuring a special-edition cover designed by Andrew Kutchera (Joe's brother).

How to Participate
Vista Hispano will be giving away one signed copy of Joe's book on Twitter, Facebook, and the comments section of this blog post. Here's how to win your copy:

On Twitter:

  1. Follow @VistaHispano.
  2. Tweet the following: Win a signed copy of Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content by @JoeKutchera

On Facebook

  1. Become a fan of Hub 81.
  2. Post this message on the page's wall: I want to win a signed copy of Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content by @JoeKutchera

Comments Section

  1. Post a comment on this post linking to a video reply of why you want to win a signed copy of Joe's book. (Hint: Try Vine, Tout, YouTube, and any other video app you can think of. Get creative!)
  2. Comment with your email address.
Winners will be randomly picked and announced Friday, March 22nd at the bottom of this blog post.

Note: Increase your chances of winning by doing all three of the steps above. Please, only one entry per step.

Have fun!

Congratulations to the following people. Besides being cool gente, you all are the new winners of a signed-copy of Joe Kutchera's book Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content.

Albert Ornelas (OCGente)
Daisy Garcia (Daisy_Garcia)
Maria Lopez (LopezMarealopez)

Felicidades! - @JoseHuitron