This time, the accelerator received almost 100 applications more than its opening group in January
San Juan, Puerto Rico (June 14 2016) – The international accelerator based in Puerto Rico, Parallel18, closed this week its second round with 507 applications from 44 countries. This number represents an increase of 22%, compared to the 415 from 30 countries in the opening cohort.
“Once again, the response to the call for applications exceeded our expectations,” said Sebastian Vidal, Executive Director of Parallel18. “This shows that Puerto Rico has a value proposition that is attractive to startups that see the island as a unique platform to scale their businesses to the United States and Latin America.”
P18 supports up to 40 startups in each of the 2 cohorts Vidal leads every year. There is an international call for applications that target high-potential, fast-growing innovative companies founded in the past three years, and with a vision to reach global markets. Each of the selected startups receive a $40,000 grant and coworking space in P18’s Headquarters at Santurce, while they participate of a 5-months acceleration curriculum with top-notch mentors.
P18’s short-term goal is to position Puerto Rico as a world-known innovation hub, and help foster an entrepreneurial mindset in the island. In the long run, the accelerator projects an economic impact with the creation of more local high-impact companies creating local jobs to service global clients.
The opening call for P18 launched in December 2015, and received 415 applications that later on turned into a first generation of 36 startups, which started the program this past April. The second cohort is expected to start August 31.
“The quality of the current startups and founders in the program is very good, and we can see it in the progress they’ve made since starting the program 2 months ago,”mentioned Vidal about the companies. Of the 36 startups, 12 are from Puerto Rico, 13 come from different parts of United States and 11 moved to the island from 7 different European and Latin American countries.
These companies are operating from Puerto Rico, have already started hiring local employees, and during the Summer are offering internships to college students in the island.
Vidal is confident that the second cohort will also have a significant participation of startups founded by Puerto Ricans in the island or living abroad. The statistics for this recent applications show that most of them came from Puerto Rico, followed closely by founders in the United States, Chile, Argentina and Spain.
Vidal, former Executive Director of Start-Up Chile, runs the program funded by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, the local Department of Economic Development and Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company. The initiative is part of the efforts to diversify and propel a knowledge-based economy in the island.
About Parallel18 and the Puerto Rico Science Trust
Parallel18 is a startup accelerator in Puerto Rico that helps build and scale local and international companies while also spurring innovation and economic development on the island. Parallel18 is an economic development initiative operated by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust in collaboration with Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce, and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (Pridco). For more information visit: www.parallel18.com.
The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, as described in Public Law 214, is a private nonprofit organization created in 2004 to maximize Puerto Rico’s participation and creation of jobs in the global knowledge economy by promoting the investment and financing of science and technology research and development. By investing in research and the commercialization of technology, the Trust serves as a catalyst for creating and retaining the Island’s highly qualified, well educated, and often bilingual residents. The Trust is also responsible for Puerto Rico’s public policy for science, technology, research and development. For more information log onto http://www.prsciencetrust.org.
About Sebastian Vidal
Sebastian Vidal was previously the executive director of Start-Up Chile, a similar program launched by the Chilean government in 2011. The accelerator succeeded in attracting world-class startups to Chile, diversified the economy, and turned the country into an innovation hub. Through Parallel18, Vidal aims to have the same positive impact on Puerto Rico by inviting innovative and globally scalable startups to the island.