After an eight-week open call and a comprehensive evaluation process, parallel18 has announced that 42 Puerto Rican startups will participate in the third installment of its pre-acceleration program, pre18, starting Nov. 9th.
The business curriculum operates under parallel18’s wing, an international startup entity that supports innovating ventures by helping them grow through two main programs: P18, a global acceleration program, and pre18, which exclusively prepares Puerto Rican companies for the latter.
Both initiatives are part of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, an organization that seeks to position Puerto Rico as a global hub for technology and innovation.
A group of judges made up of international and local alumni, entrepreneurs, and experts evaluated the 330 startups that applied to the preparatory program. The companies selected are: Cuela, Salón Boricua, BASED LLC, Corewell, Remora, BOON AutoParts, Evocare, Löfte Natural Care, VitaRx LLC, Caproni, Seed Law LLC, HALLÒ App, Pintá, Pal Muakiti, A MEDIAS, Zeerez, WindowME, VeoVeo Studios, Materia Madura, Paperwork, Vestigium Environmental, Cacao 360 (Semila), TerraFirma, Vive la Van, RumRatings, Arrecife Beachwear, Maranta Power, 9millones, Patria Tours, VITAL, Little Things, TALE, CRANEeH, Surgical Nutrition Solutions, Poltags, Equal Love, Bana, Pryze Piloto Mail, GearPrices, Don Rifa, and Genzier.
These startups are focused on different industries such as e-commerce, tourism, media and advertising, health and biotechnology, manufacturing, IT, and gaming, said Eduardo Padial, parallel18’s director of operations.
With this selection, the pre-accelerator aims to close the gap between business education and financing, allowing Puerto Rican entrepreneurs to dedicate themselves full-time to their projects.
To achieve this, selected companies will participate in a 12-week training curriculum. Additionally, each startup will receive a $20,000 equity-free grant, business connections, and ongoing support from a team expert in high-level entrepreneurship.
“Pre18’s mission has been to support entrepreneurs who use innovation as a tool to solve local problems that, at the same time, have a global reach,” said Padial.
“That’s what we’ve seen come alive during this third open call: diverse projects led by equally diverse teams that are prepared to commit full time and take their solutions beyond Puerto Rico. Our compromise with local entrepreneurship only strengthened with the pandemic,” he said.
Padial admitted that it was a very competitive selection round due to the high quality of the companies that applied. This led to the selection of 42 companies instead of the usual up to 40 spots.
“Pre18’s first two generations have proved Puerto Rico to be an engine of innovation in continuous evolution. The quality of the companies increases with each new group,” said Science Trust COO Lucy Crespo.
“To witness how companies graduated from the program stand out because of their ability to satisfy the different needs that have arisen during the pandemic, confirms that pre18 has become a fundamental starting point for local entrepreneurs with proposals that revolutionize the market,” Crespo added.
To be eligible for pre18, applicants had to meet the program’s basic criteria: be a Puerto Rican company with an innovative component and an exportable product with its MVP ready to launch. These requirements guide companies to qualify for P18 eventually.
The main goal is that the startups participating in the preparatory curriculum can complete a full acceleration cycle through both programs.
As of now, 33 companies have participated in the two curriculums, and, in total, more than 70 Puerto Rican businesses have graduated from pre18 alone. By the time the preparatory program wraps up, companies should have developed a global vision that allows them to start thinking about their projects on an international scale.
“We’re very excited about the results of our third open call. Our team is more than ready to nurture these Puerto Rican entrepreneurs with all the education and tools they need to continue the development of the company even after the program,” said Padial, adding that the new virtual format the program will adopt will allow participants to connect and work virtually with parallel18’s global network of collaborators, such as graduate entrepreneurs and mentors from all over the world.
The next call for pre18 opens in mid-2021, while applications for P18 open this coming November. For further details about the programs, send an email to email@example.com.