Tech startup Ooyala is a Mexican-American success story

by Dave

Bismarck Lepe, co-founder of Ooyala and one of Silicon Valley’s more improbable success stories, addressed his audience in Spanish, explaining why his startup is opening an operation in Guadalajara, the city that might be considered the valley’s Mexican outpost, starting with eight employees.

For this delegation of 65 prosperous Mexican executives on a five-day pilgrimage to Silicon Valley, including visits to the likes of Apple, Google, Tesla Motors and Stanford University, the visit to Ooyala’s Mountain View headquarters on Wednesday struck a cultural chord.

Eighteen months — not a short time in the Internet business — have passed since I first wrote about Bismarck and Belsasar Lepe. They are the overachieving sons of migrant Mexican farmworkers who attended Stanford and worked at Google before partnering with fellow Stanford/Google alum Sean Knapp to launch their Internet video infrastructure startup in 2007. Silicon Valley may think of itself as a meritocratic melting pot, but tech entrepreneurs from the Latino laboring class are rare.

When I heard that the executives — on a trip organized by IPADE, Mexico’s leading business school — were visiting Ooyala, I figured it was a chance to catch up on the company and the Lepe brothers.

So far, so good: Ooyala has become a leader in its video platform niche, battling rival startup


Brightcove. Guadalajara adds to a global profile that already includes offices in New York, Los Angeles and London, with others planned for Tokyo and Sydney. Its work force has roughly tripled over the past 18 months and is expected to reach 100 employees by the end of the year.

Ooyala now helps 600 customers operate 5,000 websites and do business in more than 100 countries