International startup accelerator Parallel18, based in Puerto Rico, closed its first global call for startups last week with more than 400 applications from more than 30 countries.
Of these, 40 companies will be selected to become the first generation of the program focused on innovative projects with global potential. The winners will be announced in March.
“I think we had a successful call based on the local and international interest, both in the program and in Puerto Rico as a platform to scale startups,” said Sebastian Vidal, executive director of P18.
A total of 802 companies registered to participate in the call on the YouNoodle P18 platform. Of these, 415 applications were generated, of which 26 percent are Puerto Rican enterprises. The same amount was received from startups around the U.S. mainland.
“We were surprised to see projects from Africa, India, Asia, and northern and eastern Europe because we didn’t do any outreach efforts in these places. Of course, in the world of entrepreneurship, the information spreads easily through social networks and from person to person, so we’re happy to see these projects,” Vidal said, noting most startups are in the areas of software, e-commerce, and health and biotechnology.
P18 is an international accelerator for high impact innovative enterprises that want to scale their businesses from Puerto Rico. It offers $40,000 in seed funding, mentoring, support and training, and workspace for five months; as well as access to valuable networks to help them scale into international markets. Those who decide to stay in Puerto Rico, once the program ends, may be eligible for a follow-on fund of up to $75,000 to match investment raised from private sources.
P18 is a program of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust in collaboration with the island’s Department of Economic Development and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company.