Parallel18 Ventures adds 4 startups to its portfolio
In the past 3 years, parallel18 Ventures has deployed $1,115,000 in 16 companies, that have raised an additional $15 million from local and foreign investors to scale their businesses.
San Juan Puerto Rico (September 9th, 2019)– Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (PRSTRT) invested US$225,000 in 4 startups through the follow-up fund parallel18 Ventures, created to speed up the growth of promising young companies that complete parallel18’s acceleration program and raise additional capital.
The fund carries the name of accelerator parallel18 (P18), which is a program of the PRSTRT. This round, the funds were awarded to 4 companies, from Puerto Rico, Colombia and Canada that were part of Generation 5, which completed the program in December of 2018. The fifth round of parallel18 Ventures included
Go Panza and Molcajete Foods (Puerto Rico), Vozy (Colombia), and Adventure Bucket List (Canada).
Parallel18 Ventures is a follow-up fund designed to co-invest in promising startups that complete the acceleration curriculum. With the program, the PRSTRT matches private capital raised by the entrepreneurs in exchange for stocks or convertible notes. As a condition to receive the funds, each startup is required to keep operations in Puerto Rico and hire at least 3 full-time employees on the Island. In the past 3 years, parallel18 Ventures has deployed $1,115,000 in 16 companies, that have raised an additional $15 million from local and foreign investors to scale their businesses.
Fostering a community of investors
Recently, the PRSTRT received a $609,135 grant from the Economic Development Agency (EDA) that will be channeled through parallel18 Ventures to launch the Investor Bridge Project. This initiative will enhance the investment support infrastructure of Parallel18 and capital access to Puerto Rican startups. The goals of this project are to expand the local and international investor network, launch an investor education curriculum, and implement a formal investment fund with a target size of at least $10 million to acquire capital to invest in startups and other companies from the Puerto Rico tech ecosystem. Over two years, the Investor Bridge Project anticipates facilitating investments in at least 10 companies and supporting the creation of over 50 jobs.
“Parallel18 Ventures and the new Investor Bridge Project are important elements to continue strengthening Puerto Rico’s innovation ecosystem. With these initiatives we are working to solve one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs in the island, the lack of alternative funding for high-tech companies, that is key to allow their full development and the future contribution to the island’s economy,” said Lucy Crespo, CEO of the PRSTRT.
Parallel18 Ventures was created to address 4 main objectives: foster retention of the entrepreneurial talent attracted and developed by parallel18; incentivize the investment of local capital in startups; educate the local community about the best practices related to investment in high-impact startups, and generate direct and measurable economic impact by enabling the hiring of talent in Puerto Rico.
Sebastian Vidal, Executive Director for the accelerator, mentioned that since creating the fund, the organization has been able to invest in some of the fastest-growing startups in Puerto Rico, including Burea, Abartys Health, BrainHi, and Brands Of, among others. “We’re seeing deals today that were unimaginable five years ago and most of these companies didn’t exist then either. To see local investors betting on the success of Puerto Rican companies, with valuations comparable to other innovation hubs in the United States, proves that the ecosystem is moving towards maturity.”
“Our goal is to create a robust deal flow of startups with strong teams and innovative scalable solutions, and a community of investors ready to jump on the opportunity to be part of their growth,” added Lucas Arzola, Director of Operations at P18.
Other companies in parallel18 Ventures portfolio are Burea, Cinemad, Be Better Hotels, Brands Of, Abartys Health, Quiena, StageBoom, BrainHi, Workep, and Wisboo.
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. 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 Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust.
More info about the startups:
- Go Panza provides technology to brick and mortar grocers to help them transform into e-commerce businesses and to enable grocery delivery and pickup. They are currently supporting 7 Econo supermarkets in Puerto Rico (Altamira, Levittown, Humacao, Caguas, Campo Rico, Saint Just and Plaza Carolina), and expect to expand their presence to a total of 15 stores by the end of 2019.
- Molcajete Foods manufactures and sells authentic and high-quality Mexican food products using organic corn and original recipes under the Doña Lola brand. Their products are currently available in 100 local stores from supermarket chains including Econo, SuperMax, Walmart, Amigo, Selectos, Mr Special and Ralph’s, as well as online platforms EconoToGo and Supermax Online. Molcajete Foods expects to double their points of sale in Puerto Rico to a total of 200 stores by the end of 2020.
- Vozy provides voice technology and artificial intelligence to help businesses from diverse industries in Latin America automate communication with customers, engage in productive conversations, and create personalized customer experiences at scale. They have over 200 small business customers in 15 countries, and corporate clients in Puerto Rico such as MAPFRE and Infopáginas.
- Adventure Bucket List provides online booking and reservation software to help tourism and activity operator businesses save money and increase sales. They have 246 total clients from 9 countries spread around North, Central and South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia, with 55 tour operator clients in Puerto Rico including Spotin, 21 climb and tours, Pine Groves Surf School, MBTION Tours, Inland Express Tours, and Caribbean H20 Rentals.