Looking to continue to fulfill its mission to support high-impact entrepreneurship on the island, even in the midst of a pandemic, international startup initiative parallel18 announced the selection of 14 Puerto Rican companies that will make up the eighth generation of its P18 accelerator program.
The group of companies showcases the growth from parallel18’s pre-acceleration program, pre18 alumni Outcome Project, Fitverz, Beauty 911, Raincoat, LabbGo and affiBox; while it welcomes startups Barras Jabón Artesanal, Guardian Systems, Homebase, EventRay, STRAIN, The Pop’d Shop, Tasty Smart, and Dealer App Center.
Initially contemplated to be made of up to 40 international and local companies, Gen 8 will mark the four year-old program’s first-ever fully Puerto Rican cohort, which will kick-off their acceleration process remotely on May 18th.
The decision to only select companies from the island came “after it became evident that the COVID-19 outbreak was becoming a worldwide threat,” organizers said.
“Because of this new reality, the international aspect of the program had to be readjusted to take into account the seriousness of the pandemic while still looking for ways to keep providing entrepreneurs with the kind of business education and connections that could help them move forward with their startups,” said parallel18’s Executive Director, Sebastián Vidal, about the upcoming Puerto Rican generation which will also serve as business continuity opportunity for startups that had participated in pre18.
Not knowing when travel restrictions would be lifted in many countries, and to ensure the well-being of the P18 staff as well as the startup founders, only local companies were selected.
“We had to reinvent ourselves. It was a tough decision, but one that we felt needed to be made given the times we’re living. Nonetheless, I have to admit that I’m very happy with the companies selected for this cohort,” Vidal said.
“All of them complied with the program’s most demanding criteria: traction, diverse teams, and solutions that can grow beyond Puerto Rico,” he added.
Lucy Crespo, CEO of parallel18’s parent organization, the Puerto Rico Science Technology and Research Trust, said “what we’ve been able to witness in the four years the parallel18 has operated, is that major challenges ignite creativity and make the way for crisis-relieving and long-standing solutions.”
“We’re certain we will thrive through the innovation-driven minds of entrepreneurs like the ones that will be participating in P18’s Gen.8. That’s why we’re excited as ever to continue with our commitment to support these companies in any way we can,” Crespo said.
Apart from tailor-made and hands-on mentorship, Gen.8’s companies will receive a $40,000 equity-free grant, as well as access to a business network through parallel18’s corporate innovation program, P18Connect.
The 14 companies will also be completing the acceleration curriculum as they come close to the chance of qualifying for additional funding from P18Ventures’ follow-up fund. The investment portfolio now adds up to a total of $1.35 million awarded to 19 program alumni since 2016.