Ruben Hernandez is co-founder & CEO of DevLabs, an Oakland based company that accelerates tech start-up companies founded by outlier entrepreneurs from small cities and rural towns around the world.
Speaker 1:Method to the madness is next. You're listening to method to the madness of biweekly public affairs show on k a l x Berkeley Celebrating Bay area innovators. I'm your host, Lisa Keifer, and today I'll be interviewing Ruben Hernandez, cofounder, CEO and resident rainmaker at Oakland based Dev labs. Welcome to the program Ruben. What is Dev labs?
Speaker 2:Dev labs is [00:00:30] what we called an accelerator. Fun is a combination of supporting entrepreneurs, identifying, supporting entrepreneurs to become investment ready and then invest in them actual cash, so we do a lot of support services for innovators and entrepreneurs all over the world and then we're also provide investments of anywhere between 25,000 to a hundred thousand dollars.
Speaker 1:Okay. I read a lot about these kinds of organizations. You're Oakland based. Maybe you could explain how are you different from all the other vcs [00:01:00] and other people trying to raise money for these entrepreneurs?
Speaker 2:Yes, we're different because it's our own money. Dev labs was founded by two people who, myself and Jose Lopez and we had a software development company and we took the profits from our software development company to create our own fun because we felt that there was not enough VC or angel capital money going into first time entrepreneurs from what we call ally or communities outside. That's why we're in Oakland. [00:01:30] Oakland is considered an outlier communities outside of San Francisco and by Silicon Valley. Right. So Silicon Valley doesn't consider Oakland as part of the silicon valley ecosystem. But so we're just outside of of that. And with that premise, we have recruited entrepreneurs from cities like Fresno, Phoenix, Houston, uh, we go as far south as a southern Chile where, um, you know, 600 miles south of the main hub in South America, Santiago where 600 miles south of that. [00:02:00] So we don't go to those major hubs where there's a lot of overvalued and overhyped businesses or entrepreneurs. And also the, the, the VC industry is, is fighting for the sort of the same entrepreneurs. Right? No one is really looking at that first time entrepreneur that is solving problems in a very different way. Then there's third or fourth time entrepreneur.
Speaker 1:It also opens opportunities for people who haven't gone to MIT and Stanford where they've been trained either in business or engineering or software development, whatever. [00:02:30] Doesn't it open it up to people who maybe don't even have high school or college education
Speaker 2:delivery? We actually have a few startups in our portfolio that are founders are and they didn't even get high school degrees. Right. Um, a lot of our founders are from public universities, like you said, cal state universities, the Arizona State University system, the public university system in Chila and Columbia. We don't, we don't recruit from the top universities.
Speaker 1:Do you recruit from only universities or can it be anyone? It
Speaker 2:[00:03:00] could be anyone that is solving a problem and using software to solve that problem. Your software only. Only software. I'll tell you why that is important because it has become so cheap to develop a low cost, I should say to the developed companies that you software to solve problems. And we focus on four major industries, agriculture, education, health and finance. So anything that deals with access to those four major things. If you look at just the GDP of the United States, about one and a half trillion dollars go [00:03:30] to health care one, one point $1 trillion goes to education. The finance sector is huge. So when you lo