Puerto Rico based accelerator, Parallel18, announced Wednesday its third global open call for startups with the vision of expanding their businesses in the United States and Latin America.
The call targets innovative startups with a global vision that have a functional prototype, and are working to increase their sales or expand their operations, the nonprofit said.
The accelerator will choose up to 40 startups from around the world, all of which will receive an equity free grant of $40,000; mentorship, guidance, and work space for five months in its San Juan headquarters.
In addition, the selected companies will have access to a wide range of corporate contacts, mentors, and investors. Interested companies must complete the online application on or before Dec. 13.
“Our experience over the last two P18 open calls led us to identify a series of common qualities among the entrepreneurs,” said Sebastián Vidal, Executive Director of P18.
“These qualities inspire us and we want them to inspire Puerto Rico and entrepreneurs around the world. This is what we call the generation of innovation, people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities who show their compromise to improve the country and leave their mark in our society with their entrepreneurial values,” he said.
Generation Innovation became the main message of the campaign for its third cohort. In addition to recruiting high-impact startups, the campaign aims to promote Puerto Rico as the perfect place to innovate and being an entrepreneur, he said.
“In the startup jargon, people talk a lot about having a ‘secret sauce,’ something that makes them unique and makes your different from others in your market. One of P18’s main objectives is to create the conditions so that the local and global entrepreneurial communities connect, collaborate, and exchange knowledge. That’s our secret sauce,” Vidal said.
P18 is an international accelerator for high-impact, innovative startups that see Puerto Rico as a platform to expand their businesses, particularly in the United States and Latin America.
Since its launch in December 2015, 64 startups from more than 15 countries have participated in the program. In its last two open calls, the accelerator received 922 applications from more than 40 countries.
“One of the main challenges for startups is to get the attention of high-level executives for pitching their company or get their advice,” Vidal said. “This is precisely what we do with P18 Connect, take startups to the meeting room of big companies to get them to know each other and begin their business relationship.”
As an additional incentive, startups that stay in Puerto Rico after completing P18 are eligible for a follow up fund of up to $75,000. This incentive works as a matching fund for the companies that raise private investment while in the program.
P18 selects up to 40 companies twice a year using a competitive process in which companies are evaluated by close to 100 international judges. Eligibility depends on a series of requirements, for example, startups must be innovative companies, have three years or less, be beyond concept stage, have sales or a proven product, and global scale.
During the open call, P18’s team will offer in-person orientations in and out of Puerto Rico. Orientations will begin next week — Nov. 14 18 — at 1p.m., and Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m., in the accelerator’s Santurce headquarters.
Other stops include San Francisco, California and New York City on Nov. 30, and the accelerator’s international festival “Switch” in Leon, Mexico.