OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- This weekend, the Kapor Center for Social Impact and Kapor Capital hosted Startup Weekend Oakland: Latinx Tech Edition. Startup Weekend, a Techstars venture backed by Google for Entrepreneurs, is a 54-hour team competition in which participants design, build and pitch their startup ideas to a panel of venture capitalists and seasoned entrepreneurs.
The winner of the competition was a team called Prezta, a tech solution designed to help friends and family lend and borrow money through an app, eliminating the awkwardness by setting terms in advance and having the app send reminders. Second place winner Tie-In, made up of a group of students from Berkeley Community College, works to build social inclusion in the tech workplace. A company called Latacy, working to build an online network of mentors for the Latinx community, took third.
The Latinx Edition theme is the first of its kind for the Startup Weekend brand. Participants were prompted to ideate tech-based solutions to problems disproportionately affecting Latinx communities. The event hosted over 60 college-aged students and young adults, primarily Latinx, with technical and non-technical backgrounds from across the Bay Area, and as far as Los Angeles, CA. Throughout the weekend, professionals from the local tech, startup and venture capital communities volunteered their time to coach and mentor participants in preparation for their pitches.
"As a Latina in tech and venture capital, I know the challenges of being an "only" in the space. That is why I wanted to launch this event," said Carolina Huaranca, Co-Chair of Startup Weekend Oakland: Latinx Tech Edition and Principal at Kapor Capital. "I wanted other Latinx to see a pathway to tech and entrepreneurship, and find an inclusive community that will help them reach their goals. To see my vision come to life and have others reach out and ask if it can be replicated in other cities across the nation demonstrates the desire for these types of events beyond Oakland."
A total of 10 teams pitched their startup ideas to a panel of judges that included Mitch Kapor, Partner at Kapor Capital and Kapor Center for Social Impact, Monique Woodard, Partner at 500 Startups and Laura Gomez, Founder and CEO of Atipica. Teams focused on creating startups with a positive social impact that tackled social, economic and political barriers faced by Latinx communities. Other startup concepts included:
- Fair lending for small businesspeople in Mexico by US investors;
- Helping homeless women transition out of the streets & integrate into the workforce
- Creating dynamic loans to help stabilize income for wage workers; and
- Uncover interests and inspirations by monitoring social media behavior to help subscribers find a career that matches their interests
"There is so much genius in the Latinx community, and being in a room filled with that genius is enormously gratifying to me," said Laura I. Gomez, Founder and CEO of Atipica. "I signed up to help as a judge, but I walked away inspired and rejuvenated. I hope this is the first of many more Startup Weekends with a specific focus on the Latinx community."
First place winners Prezta received a scholarship to the 2017 Summer Academy of Make School, a college replacement program for founders and developers; a co-working space package at the Impact Hub in Oakland; and 4 office hour sessions with a Kapor Capital investment team member.
SOURCE Kapor Center for Social Impact