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15 Puerto Rico co.’s to participate in Unlock Capital cohort

The Community Development Venture Capital Alliance (CDVCA) announced the first 11 of a total 15 companies that will participate in the Unlock Capital Investment Readiness for Business Growth cohort program that will combine a series of workshops and webinars through August.

The program kicked off May 11 with an initial meeting at the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, when entrepreneurs participating in the program made brief introductions of each business. Four more companies will be selected but have yet to be identified.

Representatives of key partners and stakeholders also spoke at the event, including the Puerto Rico Department of Housing, Invest Puerto Rico, and the Department of Economic Development and Commerce. 

Ultimately, the program aims to become a five-year partnership with the Puerto Rican government, for which they hope to select 15 companies annually, free to its participants. The initiative will offer individual mentorship as well, said Ernesto Villarini, executive manager for the Unlock Capital Program and vice president of CDVCA.

The program will work in a hybrid modality and the six webinars slated to complete the first cohort will discuss a growth capital overview, equity investments, debt investments, how to engage with investors, learning how to pitch their business and creating a readiness plan for their business, he said.

“The plan is meant to identify needs that can be addressed in the short term, meaning in around six months to help that business improve or become more ready to attract private capital, whether that is from an angel investor or venture capital investor or maybe a private equity firm or alternative lenders that can make financing available for these businesses,” said Villarini.

After hosting a poll for interested participants, more than 100 people expressed interest and 56 applied, of which the first 11 of 15 businesses have been chosen to participate in the free program, as Villarini explained.

The first 11 selected companies are:

  1. Abacrop — Farm operation management software developed to help small farmers keep all operational data management in one place.
  2. Artesano Rum Corporation — Created and owns Ron Artesano, a super-premium rum brand distilled and handmade in the mountains of Jayuya, Puerto Rico.
  3. Cuela — Connects the specialty coffee growers of Puerto Rico to consumers around the world through its e-commerce website, providing visibility and accessibility to the specialty coffee of Puerto Rico.
  4. Dame Un Bite — On-demand logistics for businesses via an online platform, offering an e-commerce app and a B2B platform.
  5. Entre Panas — An agribusiness dedicated to creating value-added products like gluten free bread using breadfruit from its farm
  6. Gasco Industrial — Manufactures products for health (disinfectants, detergents, hand sanitizer) and flavor (seasoning blends, vanilla flavor, vinegar). Gasco also makes private label products for large companies.
  7. Omics Global Solutions — Innovative technology to identify the risk of developing diabetic kidney disease to set preventive approaches to avoid patients ending dialysis.
  8. Quibble — A SaaS 9 (software as a service) company that does pricing and revenue management analytics for property managers of short-term rentals.
  9. RumRatings — A CaaS (community as a service) technology platform where users are brought together by products and passions that inspire them.
  10. Terra Nostra — A family business dedicated to agriculture and manufacturing of frozen food products from the west side of Puerto Rico.
  11. Trito Agro-Industrial Services (Tais) — provides services for domestic, commercial, and industrial recycling of food scraps and vegetative material.

The CDVCA manages $45 million for the Puerto Rico Fund for Growth for investing in Puerto Rico based funds.

Author Details
Author Details
Yamilet Aponte-Claudio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She graduated from Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Providencia and is currently a junior at Sacred Heart University. Majoring in Journalism and adding a minor in sustainable development and foreign languages, she aspires to study law after obtaining her bachelor’s degree.

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