2 Puerto Rican startups get $1M+ from Silicon Valley investors
Two Puerto Rico-based startups — Raincoat and Beauty 911 — have been selected to receive more than $1 million from Silicon Valley investors for the first time, resulting from their participation in the Bravo Family Foundation’s Rising Entrepreneurs Program.
The nonprofit co-founded by Puerto Rican billionaire businessman Orlando Bravo has an initiative in place to “bring Silicon Valley investors to Puerto Rico,” to put their money into up-and-coming local operations.
The foundation invited several venture capital firms — including Softbank, 305 Ventures, Lux Capital, G2 Venture Partners, Amity Ventures and Salesforce Ventures — to meet the teams and listen to their presentations. Startups that pitched to venture capital firms included Uva, CINCO Engineering, Fitly Health, Kiwi, Raincoat, Beauty 911, Skootel, and Viva Latam.
Ultimately, Softbank and 305 Ventures invested more than a combined $1 million in Raincoat and Beauty 911.
“It’s important for entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico to have access to venture capital firm to drive growth at a larger scale,” said Bravo, chairman of the Bravo Family Foundation’s board and managing partner of Thoma Bravo.
“This initiative provides them the experience to meet, pitch and learn from these funds, which is fundamental to strengthen, develop and scale businesses from Puerto Rico,” said Bravo.
Meanwhile, Carmen Medina, co-founder of Beauty 911, said through the Bravo Family Foundation’s support, they will be able to carry on expanding their operation to Latin America and the continental United States.
“The access and level of mentorship we received in the Rising Entrepreneurs Program prepared us for this opportunity and unprecedented event, allowing us to achieve a real injection of capital to grow,” she said of Beauty 911, which is a platform that provides a network of professionals offering beauty services at home.
Raincoat CEO Jonathan González said, “The effort to expose ourselves to investors with an international track record increases the chances of having a successful capital round, as it forces us to answer difficult questions and strengthen our value proposition.”
“The Bravo Family Foundation’s initiative to bring world-class investors to meet and invest in local companies is a step forward to bridging the gap of scaling more businesses from the island,” he said.
Bravo, who has kept close ties with his hometown of Mayagüez, will offer a webinar today on his perspectives on the opportunities the international market offers to local startups. The virtual event kicks off a new cycle of Rising Entrepreneurs Program conferences.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the great possibilities that digital transformation brings and how new technology firms are positioned to bring innovative solutions to the market.
Rising Entrepreneurs Program is a business acceleration initiative aimed at promoting the growth of high-potential technology and innovation startups with capital and a world class curriculum.
The program seeks to provide critical knowledge and extensive mentoring that teaches company founders how to successfully run a business and how to expand it locally and internationally.
“The level of talent, commitment and desire of the founders and teams that have participated in the Rising Entrepreneurs Program fills us with pride to see the growth through the program. We continue betting on Puerto Rican talent and offering them the tools and access to scale globally,” said Blanca Santos, executive director of the Bravo Family Foundation.
The program provides young, purpose-driven entrepreneurs with the knowledge, capital, and connections they need to successfully launch, manage, and develop a technology company in Puerto Rico and abroad. Program participants get a $30,000 grant.
4th cohort starts in October
The Rising Entrepreneurs Program announced the start of a new application cycle on Oct. 1 for the fourth cohort of the initiative that has already graduated 34 startups. Some of those companies have landed investments and have begun exporting their products or services, the nonprofit confirmed.
Next month, the Bravo Family Foundation will announce the three winning teams that will get an additional subsidy.
The nonprofit selects finalists based on their technical skills, innovation and growth-oriented business model, market proof, and commitment to creating a positive impact on the island, among other considerations.