Puerto Rico’s parallel18 names its 12th cohort of international startups

June 19, 2024


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Parallel18 (P18), part of the entrepreneurship pillar program from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust (PRSTRT), announced this week its 12th cohort of international startups that will aim to scale their businesses internationally while also contributing to the economic development of the island.

Startups for P18‘s gen-12 include companies from Puerto Rico, United States, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Norway, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

“Once again, parallel18 demonstrates the importance of supporting local and international entrepreneurs since they are one of the main sources of economic development for our country,” said Eng. Lucy Crespo, CEO of PRSTRT. “At the Trust, we are proud to have a robust entrepreneurial pillar capable of providing valuable and relevant resources for each participant who goes through our programs. Every year, the ecosystem continues to evolve, and parallel18 remains at the forefront.”

The latest acceleration program will begin in July, and companies will receive mentoring for 20 weeks in Puerto Rico, be provided with business connections, access to parallel18’s network of investors, and receive a $40,000 grant and an investment of $20,000 from the Trust, according to a company statement.

Furthermore, P18 participants who raise private capital will be able to benefit from the parallel18 Ventures initiative and its “Matching Fund”, a co-investment fund designed to match the capital they raise.

Startups accepted into the gen-12 batch include:

“We are very excited to welcome this international generation in our new space: the Forward Center located within the Science City at the Trust. We want each participant to enjoy and benefit from this new facet of our organization.  Likewise, the selection process was very competitive since we received applications of very good caliber and were evaluated by international judges. Gen. 12 promises to be a great cohort, with the diversity and innovation that has always characterized our alumni,” said Dr. Héctor Jirau, executive director of parallel18.

Dr. Héctor Jirau. Image credit: parallel18

parallel18’s history of accelerating startups

Since 2015, parallel18 has aimed to enrich Puerto Rico’s business ecosystem by providing funding, specialized mentorship, business connections and investment opportunities for underrepresented founders from around the world.

In addition to announcing its 12th generation of startups, P18 also released its annual Impact Report, which summarizes its initiatives and contributions to the island’s business ecosystem in the previous year, taking into account the organization’s various programs including, pre-acceleration (pre18), acceleration (P18) and post-acceleration (Xpand).

With 161 Puerto Rican companies graduating from pre18, the local pre-acceleration program is the starting point for Puerto Ricans seeking to immerse themselves in entrepreneurship full-time. Currently, more than 70% of local companies are still in operation and have generated revenues amounting to $4.1 million.

P18 has supported a total of 279 companies to date with opportunities that encourage global expansion while contributing to local economic development. P18 alumni have created more than 800 jobs, and 75% of these companies continue to operate, according to the report.

As local businesses progress to a more advanced stage, Xpand is a community-driven program that supports Puerto Rican businesses toward sustainable and global growth. This post-acceleration curriculum, subsidized by Banco Popular, has graduated 19 companies (Gen. 2 and Gen. 3) with sales amounting $9.6 million.

According to the impact report, between January and December 2023, the organization distributed $1,347,500 in grants to the 23 participating Gen. 5 (Pre18) companies and the 19 Gen. 11 (P18) startups. 

Regarding the private capital raised by the companies, it was detailed that Gen. 11 companies raised $675,000 during the program, while Pre18 Gen. 5 companies raised $912,000.

Additionally, the parallel18 Ventures subprogram that helps startups create an investment strategy while connecting them with a curated network of more than 600 investors, has a portfolio of 64 companies, which have raised a total of $85,113,800 in capital in the last seven years (cumulative), the report stated.

Last year alone, around $605,000 in capital was invested in 23 companies, of which $380,000 was invested in startups of P18 Gen. 11; $125,000 that was awarded in a “Matching Fund” to the company RedAtlas and $100,000 that was invested in 3 companies of Xpand Gen. 3 (Konti Design, PRoduce, and Libros 787).

Finally, the report highlighted success stories from the accelerator, such as the Puerto Rican microinsurance company Raincoat, which raised $6.5 million, bringing its total capital raising to $11 million.

Additionally, Konvex, a Colombian company from their portfolio, secured an investment of $700,000. The company has facilitated over 500,000 accounting reconciliation transactions, impacting more than 80 e-commerce stores.

Image credit: Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust.

Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.


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