CINCO Engineering, DataWifi, and Dokimi, Inc — owner of both EduSynch and Levely — are the latest companies to join P18Ventures, a follow-up investment portfolio of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust’s international startup initiative that includes a business accelerator and various sub-programs.
As part of the fundraising ecosystem’s ongoing growth, the Science Trust has invested a total of $225,000 in three startups that come from Puerto Rico (CINCO), Colombia (DataWifi) and the U.S. mainland (Dokimi Inc).
These companies were among the alumni that participated the sixth cohort of parallel18’s acceleration program, known as P18.
The fundraising sub-program aims at speeding up the growth of promising ventures that have been through the accelerator. With its newest addition, the portfolio now totals $1.35 million awarded to 19 companies since 2016, three of which went on to individually raise more than $1 million in subsequent fundraising rounds, the nonprofit said.
To achieve its mission, the fund, under the Science Trust, matches private capital raised by entrepreneurs up to $75,000, in exchange for stocks or convertible notes.
“When parallel18 was founded in 2015, the Trust was looking for ways to address one of the biggest challenges Puerto Rican and Latin American entrepreneurs were facing, which was the lack of access to investment opportunities,” said Science Trust CEO Lucy Crespo.
“What we’ve seen since then is how, along with P18Ventures’ maturity, the amount of investment raised in the island has grown as well as the number of investors paying attention to these promising endeavors,” she said.
Enhancing investment support infrastructure
In response to P18Ventures’ results so far, the second half of P18’s acceleration curriculum is now deep-diving into tapping fundraising opportunities for companies with innovation at their core, the nonprofit said.
To achieve this, parallel18’s Director of Operations, Lucas Arzola, has been heading the program’s shift in investment focus, and since last year has been working on expanding its local and international investors network.
“A few years ago, being able to raise capital on the island was almost unimaginable for startups,” said Arzola, adding that entrepreneurs are experiencing a shift in mentality and learning more about fundraising strategies to appeal to investors on the island.
“Today, these companies’ valuations are living up to those we’ve seen in big innovation hubs and our mission is to keep fostering that fast-growing quality by nurturing P18’s companies with the best investment education and opportunities,” he said.
Meanwhile, CINCO’s founder, Rubén Morales, said the Science Trust and parallel18’s support has motivated them to “knock it out of the park.”
“What happens when a reputable organization such as the Trust invests in these companies is that investors — who perhaps previously didn’t contemplate putting their money on high-risk ventures — can develop the confidence of knowing that they’re betting on some of the fastest-growing startups in Puerto Rico and Latin America,” said Sebastián Vidal, executive director of parallel18.
“We’re ecstatic to continue our relationship with parallel18 as a part of the P18Ventures portfolio,” said Sean Kilachand, co-founder and CEO of Dokimi Inc.
“This investment, along with the relationships and opportunities that come through the P18Ventures network, will allow us to reach our next objectives and set us up for sustainable growth over the next few years,” he said.
P18 closed applications last month for its eighth generation, set to kick off in May 2020. Startups interested in applying to the program’s next cohort for a chance to get P18Ventures funding will be able to do so in November.