Parallel18 announces its first all-Puerto Rican P18 cohort
The acceleration program’s eighth generation made of 14 Puerto Rican companies will be paired up with an alumni initiative.
San Juan, Puerto Rico (April 17th, 2020): In order to continue to fulfill its mission to support high-impact entrepreneurship on the island, even in the midst of a pandemic, the international startup initiative parallel18 announced today the selection of 14 Puerto Rican companies that will make up the eighth generation of its accelerator, P18
The group of companies showcases the growth from parallel18’s pre-acceleration program, pre18 alumni Outcome Project, Fitverz, Beauty 911, Raincoat, LabbGo and affiBox; while it welcomes startups Barras Jabón Artesanal, Guardian Systems, Homebase, EventRay, STRAIN, The Pop’d Shop, Tasty Smart, and Dealer App Center.
Initially contemplated to be made of up to 40 international and local companies, Gen.8 will mark the four year-old program’s first-ever fully Puerto Rican cohort, which will kickoff their acceleration process remotely next May 18th.
The decision to only select companies from the island came after it became evident that the COVID-19 outbreak was becoming a worldwide threat. Because of this new reality, the international aspect of the program had to be readjusted to take into account the seriousness of the pandemic while still looking for ways to keep providing entrepreneurs with the kind of business education and connections that could help them move forward with their startups. Not knowing when travel restrictions would be lifted in many countries, and to ensure the well-being of the P18 staff as well as the startup founders, only local companies were selected.
“We had to reinvent ourselves. It was a tough decision, but one that we felt needed to be made given the times we’re living. Nonetheless, I have to admit that I’m very happy with the companies selected for this cohort. All of them complied with the program’s most demanding criteria: traction, diverse teams, and solutions that can grow beyond Puerto Rico,” highlighted parallel18’s Executive Director, Sebastián Vidal, about the upcoming Puerto Rican generation which will also serve as business contuinity opportunity for startups that had participated in pre18.
“What we’ve been able to witness in the four years the parallel18 has operated, is that major challenges ignite creativity and make the way for crisis-relieving and long-standing solutions. We are certain we will thrive through the innovation-driven minds of entrepreneurs like the ones that will be participating in P18’s Gen.8. That is why we are excited as ever to continue with our commitment to support these companies in any way we can,” said Lucy Crespo, CEO of parallel18’s parent organization, the Puerto Rico Science Technology and Research Trust.
“Something to highlight is the fact that the virtual character of this generation provides parallel18 and the Puerto Rican innovation ecosystem an opportunity like no other when it comes to the mentorship we’ll be able to provide,” added Vidal, who elaborated on the idea that the program can now reach out to even more experienced mentors.
By inviting them to impart digital mentor sessions rather than having them have to travel to the program headquarters in San Juan, parallel18 is hoping to create a more on-demand and flexible exchange between experts and the program’s startup founders. Something they explored with success during the last week of its Gen.7.
Apart from tailor-made and handson mentorship, Gen.8’s companies will receive a US $40K equity-free grant, as well as access to a broad business network through parallel18’s Corporate Innovation Program, P18Connect. The results of this subprogram so far are well-documented on the parallel18’s latest Impact Report.
The fourteen companies will also be completing the acceleration curriculum as they come close to the chance of qualifying for additional funding from P18Ventures’ follow-up fund. The investment portfolio now sums up a total of US $1.35 million awarded to 19 program alumni since 2016.
Tapping into the full global experience
As the global economy tempers with a major crisis, parallel18 is set on leveraging its strengths to help take their startups and alumni ventures afloat. Since the accelerator will have a smaller cohort, they have some room to play around the budget and help the more than 190 companies that already went through the accelerator.
To make it happen in the midst of this global economic halt, a pioneering Alumni Program with topics related to growing startups and adapting to tough times is being designed by parallel18’s Operations Manager, Eduardo Padial. Said project will include individual sessions to work on specific topics related to the companies’ industry needs, and is also meant to integrate P18’s foreign graduates with the local Gen.8.
“The idea is that we’re able to give Gen.8’s startups the full international experience that parallel18’s acceleration program is meant to provide,” said Padial. “At the same time, we’ll be supporting the local and international companies that already went through the process and now have different needs due to the pandemic. By forging a connection between them and the new companies selected to participate in the latest cohort, we saw that we had a chance to create the right conditions to foment business relationships as well as further learning and growth opportunities for both the earlier stage local companies, from Gen.8, and the more mature ones, from past generations,” further explained the program’s Operations Manager on his vision for the joint programs.
The news comes in the wake of many recent initiatives and accomplishments from the program’s startups, some of whom have announced partnerships with fellow alumni from the program in order to strengthen their offers. Namely local startups DameUnBite with BrandsOf Puerto Rico, and Uva with Entregameds.
Additionally, last April 3rd, P18’s recently wrapped up seventh generation celebrated the accelerator’s first virtual DemoDay which included the participation of 11 investors and more than 150 viewers.
More so, parallel18 is getting ready to launch its third open call for pre18, which through a pre-acceleration curriculum is meant to create a network pipeline that helps local startups get to the market, grow their traction and develop a global mentality that can later on help them qualify for P18.
The pre-accelerator’s open call arrives at a time when entrepreneurs are rapidly coming up with and developing new ideas to aid the COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts in various ways across different industries. Programs like pre18 offer the funding and business guidance these founders will need.
Puerto Rican companies that are interested will be able to apply for this preparatory curriculum starting on May 11th for a chance to receive a US $20K grant, as well as high-quality business training in the form of connections, mentorship and the possibility of entering Gen.9 of P18, who’s application period is expected to open this November.
Parallel18 is a top-level, performance-driven international startup program with a social mission: offering entrepreneurs from all over the world access to high-quality business training, funding, and networks to help them scale globally while working to position Puerto Rico as a unique hub for innovative businesses and technology.
About the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust:
The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, as described in Public Law 214, is a nonprofit
organization created in 2004 to promote the participation and creation of jobs in the Island in the global knowledge economy by promoting investment and the financing of research and development of science and technology. By investing in technology research and commercialization, the Trust serves as a catalyst for the creation of jobs and the retention of highly qualified and often bilingual residents of the Island. It is also responsible for the public policy of Puerto Rico science, technology, research, and development. For more information: www.prsciencetrust.org.