latinoTech Hosts 5 NYC Startups to Tell “Shark Tank” Style Stories at Winter Pitch Night

“Before we pitched at the latinoTech, I was planning to get a job. But after this experience, we feel more confident to send our deck to investors. From the interest we got from pitching, there is the potential we might raise a round of funding — which means I can work on my company full-time.”

That’s the founder’s dream, right? Those are just a few words from the winner of latinoTech’s Winter 2017 Startup Pitch Night at Microsoft on March 2nd. If you weren’t there you missed out — big things went down in the heart of Times Square.

Our pitch night was hosted by Microsoft — photo by REUTERS/Mike Segar

latinoTech put out a call to our community for founders to share their story. The response was overwhelming, so we were able to showcase the most unique and emerging innovation in the Big Apple — including five companies, four venture capitalists, one CTO, and a whole lot of people passionate about bringing more visibility to Latinxs in tech. Representing the best of NYC’s diverse startup community, founders told their story to win a suite of prizes: one month of co-working at Workville, custom notecards from Bond, and, of course, bragging rights as the winner of the latest latinoTech pitch night!

So how’d it all go down and more importantly, WHO WON?

Read on to find out — and how YOU can be a part of our next NYC event!

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

WE KICKED THINGS OFF WITH A TALK FROM MIGUEL GAMIÑO, CTO OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

As the CTO of NYC, Miguel is on a mission to ensure every New Yorker and NYC business will have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband service by 2025. As the former CIO of San Francisco and El Paso, as well as the founder of two IT companies, Miguel’s overview explained why he believes diversity is our greatest asset to innovation — and how excited he is to bring that spirit to NYC.

MEET OUR PANEL OF JUDGES

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Four venture capitalists brought their knowledge and advice from all over the startup spectrum to share — and challenge— our founders with. Gracing us with positive, constructive criticism was:

Ramphis Castro, the co-founder of ScienceVest, a fund and platform for hard-tech and life science companies, as well as Impact Science Angels. He is the founder of the largest student-led latino hackathon in the U.S. — HackPR, and recently executed the first Startup Weekend in Cuba. In 2016, Ramphis was part of the US delegation with President Obama on his historic visit to Cuba.

Daniel Vasquez, CBE, an economist and the founder Vasquez & Co., an investment holding company where he invests in opportunities across several industries and markets. As the former Vice-President and Portfolio Manager at Hamilton Lane Advisers, he helped deploy $500 million in private equity capital throughout California, undoubtedly with all he’s learned in his studies at Harvard Business School, Oxford, Berkeley, and University of Chicago.

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

McCall McIntyre, an Associate at SamsungNEXT Ventures based in New York. She partners with innovators to build ideas that leverage and transform the Samsung ecosystem with the help of a $150M fund established in January 2017. Prior to joining SamsungNEXT Ventures, McCall was a Senior Product Manager at Simulmedia where she led the team that built one of the industry’s first cross-channel media activation prototypes.

David Segura, an angel investor and the Head of Revenue and Partnerships for Roomi. Before that, David was the Founder & CEO of Giant Media, a Native Video Advertising platform serving clients like that included Toyota, Johnson & Johnson, American Express, and Dollar Shave Club. As an angel investor, David’s portfolio includes numerous startups including Shop Jeen, Laurel & Wolf, Skedaddle, Peer5, Showroom, and many others.

With a panel of judges in place to observe, we were ready to bring out the real superstars of the evening…

THE PITCHING STARTUPS

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Sharing their passions with the crowd was…

ARCANE REALITY

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Arcane Reality took the microphone to explain how they’re building the country’s largest multi-player VR arcade, as well harnessing virtual reality to transform everything from business to medicine.

HAYO

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Hayo took the stage to give us their take on augmented reality. They shared how they’re using patented spatial analysis technology to create countless virtual remote control combinations for your home.

KLUSTERA

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Next up, Klustera wow-ed the crowd with their product — a massive 24/7 market research study that connects customers and brands with one simple step — just plug it into your router and begin getting insights.

OUR AUDIENCE FAVORITE, LOTERIA

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Then we heard from Loteria — with over 200k downloads and counting, this app is taking Mexico by storm with this digitized version of the traditional Mexican bingo board game. It’s no wonder they won our audience favorite vote — congrats Loteria!

Adan Ortiz, creator of Loteria, said this was his first time pitching the app.

“I was nervous, but I knew this is something I needed to do to take the app to the next level.”

His advice for people thinking about pitching?

“Just do it.”

(More info on pitching at our next competition at the end of this article…)

OUR JUDGE’S PICK, HARVEST YIELD!

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Last but not least, Harvest Yield shared how they’re transforming the way farmers manage equipment fleets and track the work done in the field.

In fact, the judges were so impressed that they picked Harvest Yield as the winner of latinoTech’s 2017 Winter Startup Pitch Night!

“It’s been two years since we pitched. When we first did it, we didn’t have paying customers.”

Juan encourages anyone — no matter if you feel ready or not — to get up and pitch.

“I think it never hurts to try it out because the whole experience of being in the room and getting feedback is worth it. From one simple action — just applying to this event — it’s already snowballing.”

In just two weeks after our pitch night, Juan has been hard at work:

“Through winning the free month of coworking, I’ve met angel investors and other entrepreneurs. I’ve been invited to pitch at another competition. I wouldn’t have had that if I didn’t do one simple action — filling out the application to pitch at latinoTech.”

Worth it indeed.

“I don’t know where this could lead. I’m going with the flow!”

Words of wisdom — congrats to our winners! Keep reading to find out how you can pitch at our next event and have the chance to expand your network like Juan did.

Stories like Juan’s are why latinoTech produces these events. Our team of organizers are proud to have created this opportunity for people to connect…

THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEER ORGANIZERS:

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

latinoTech is run by a small group of volunteers that believe in diversity and inclusion in tech. This event was made possible by the efforts of:

Elizabeth Vilchis (above)— engineer and tech community organizer extraordinaire

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Rico Oyola — co-founder of latinoTech, social innovation expert

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Carlos Aquino, co-founder of latinoTech, product manager, and Nintendo Switch addict

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Sam Popp, event producer and creator of Networking Sucks, who also MC’ed our event, and

Manny Ramos, the reigning king of all things tech HR, who managed to evade our photographer all evening.

But we could not have done this without…

A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Endless gratitude to…

Workville for providing both of our winners with one month of free coworking at your beautiful Times Square location.

John Demato for capturing the photographic magic of this evening.

Castillo Restaurant, for keeping our bellies full with a full spread of Ecuadorian food.

And Marlen Amaro of Microsoft HOLA, who helped our event find a home. Without her, none of the above would have been possible, so for that, we are deeply appreciative of her support.

INTERESTED IN PITCHING AT OR BEING A PART OF OUR NEXT EVENT?

Photo by John Demato — http://www.johndemato.com

Calling all founders, techies, and innovators — come pitch at our next competition! Or join our team of volunteers and make an impact on the NYC tech and Latinx community. Contact us at team@nyltm.com

Please follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and join our Meetup here.

If you were at this event and would like to leave a review, you can do so here.

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