This weekend, the Kapor Center for Social Impact, Techqueria and Techstars hosted Startup Weekend Latinx in Tech: Oakland. The event was part of a national effort to bring visibility, access and exposure to aspiring Latinx entrepreneurs across the U.S. Three more simultaneous events took place in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

Startup Weekend, a Techstars program 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 final pitch competition was a team called Las Casitas. Using tech to create sturdy building materials from recycled plastic, Las Casitas pitched to build affordable, environmentally-friendly housing that could withstand natural disasters and contribute to relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico. The team was made up of students from Chabot Community College and University of California, Berkeley.

Second place winner, a team of formerly undocumented Latinx entrepreneurs, sought to simplify the immigration process using chatbots. My Little Piñata, a company that celebrates culture through a customizable miniature piñatas online platform, and Camisetas, an online subscription-based t-shirt service that supports manufacturers that pay living wages, tied for third place.

The event brought together a diverse group of Latinx and ally college-aged students and young adults with technical and non-technical backgrounds from across the Bay Area. 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.

📝 About the author

Frances was a volunteer/staff member for Techqueria from April 2018 to May 2022. She previously served as a Technology Director, Executive Director, and Board Member/Advisor.