It was a packed house last night at The Redd for Pitch Latino 2023. And startups weren’t the only ones landing money. The organization behind Pitch Latino — Latino Founder — secured grants for both the organization and the Latino accelerator program it runs. That was a huge win. But the big win on the startup side was Barro, a traditional Mexican bakery which walked away with crowd adulation and $10,000 in prize money.
Malia Spencer at the Portland Business Journal provided some great descriptions of the eight other companies that shared their pitches, so I’ll let her run it down:
- 360Sierra: Founder Paola Restrepo Tafur and Andres Valejo have created a lightweight travel trailer that can be towed with a small car or an EV. The trailer has a bed, pull-out kitchen, power ice chest and solar panels. They launched sales three months ago and have sold four units.
- Ballroom: Founder Fernando Rojas is developing a new social network that is designed around local discovery and real social connection. He is aiming at helping people who move to new towns find not only activities but new friends in a video-first platform. The app is in private beta.
- Parra Wine Co.: Sam Parra is a winemaker focused on giving visibility to Latinos in the industry. He told the crowd the U.S. has 7,762 wine brands but only 105 are Latino-owned. He launched his brand in 2019 and has a canned wine under the label Vino de Oregon that sold out its first offering. He is set to release a hibiscus-infused wine.
- Life Stages: Founder Zulma Terrones is developing a science-based wellness app to help people build sustainable skills for better managing mental health. The app will be direct-to-consumer and generate revenue from subscriptions. The startup has participated in REI’s Path Ahead Ventures.
- Love Preferred Coffee Co.: Founder Enrique Sanchez-Rivera is building a coffee company focused on also helping the farmers who grow the beans through tips and revenue share. The company focuses on coffee from four regions of Columbia. The company also has a radical transparency ethos and allows customer to track where the tips and revenue share money goes.
- Nico’s Ice Cream: Founder Nico Vergara is introducing New Zealand-style soft serve to the U.S. The ice cream is made from a vanilla base that has fresh fruit mixed in using a special machine. The company started two years ago with a pushcart in Portland and now has grocery distribution in Oregon and Washington and two retail stores.
- Future Gen: Founder Eddie Mazariegos is building an online tool to help young people — read: Gen Z — explore careers that is more dynamic and video-focused than current tools. The app is designed to help match personal interests and talents to career paths.
- Loco por la Aventura: Founders Maria Teresa Lopes and Anibal Rocheta are working to be a bridge between the Latino community and outdoor activities. They organize outdoor activities like hiking, camping and climbing and offer how-to information in Spanish. In the last three years they have built a reach of 5,000 people and held 35 activities this year. Rocheta is a veteran mountaineer and climbing instructor and is the first Latino climbing leader for Mazamas.
Every participant received $2500. Barro also secured the $7500 top prize.
All told, Latino Founder revealed $325,000 in grant funding, $200,000 from Oregon Community Foundation and $125,000 from Prosper Portland.
For more, read “Mexican bakery takes top prize at Pitch Latino.”