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Parallel18 programs distributed $2.2M in grants to 75 co.’s in ’21

Parallel18, a program of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, distributed $2.2 million in grants to 75 companies that participated in the ninth generation of its P18 international acceleration program and the third cohort of the local pre-acceleration startup program, pre18.

On the investment’s side, P18 raised $6.7 million from 35 of its companies of Gen. 9, while 40 startups in the Gen. 3 cohort of its pre18 program raised $255,000. The total valuation of the investments was pegged at $167.7 million.

The acceleration programs took place between January and December 2021.

The results of the organization’s Impact Report were presented during a virtual panel led by the parallel18’s Operations and Investment Director Héctor Jirau, Science Trust Chief Financial Officer Gilberto Márquez, parallel18’s Program Manager Natasha Martínez, and parallel18’s Business Development Manager Mónica Rocafort.

“The emerging impact collaborative effort of parallel18 goes further than the metrics present. The development, growth, and progress of Puerto Rico’s innovative ecosystem is linked with each of these achievements materialized by the emerging companies of the accelerator and the excellence of the team that executes this effort,” said Jirau.

“Before, it was a force of creation, today it is a growth force, allowing capital investments to the ecosystem and to Puerto Rico,” he added.

The virtual event highlighted successful stories of past alumni that are part of the business portfolio of the subprogram parallel18 Ventures, where some are mentioned on the Impact Report. Among the companies acquired was the platform for readers Booksloth (pre18 Gen. 1/P18 Gen. 5) and the digital tool to optimize strategy with tailored short-term rental data insights Transparent (P18 Gen. 3). Also, the facial recognition solution Trueface (P18 Gen. 3) and the personal trainer marketplace Entrenarme (P18 Gen. 3) were also acquired.

Additionally, of the sustainable cleaning products Cleancult (Gen. 3) raised an investment round of $25 million in capital and the local agricultural company PRoduce (pre18 Gen. 1/P18 Gen. 5) raised $1.8 million from the Semillero Partners investment firm. Likewise, the local financial platform KIWI (P18 Gen. 9) raised $3.5 million from Advent-Morro Equity Partners and its subsidiary Morro Ventures.

The subprogram parallel18 Ventures boosts startups to create a robust investment strategy that connects them with high-quality investors networks. This initiative invests in startups through the matching fund, designed for co-investing in startups that recently graduated from P18.

“Once more, parallel18 shows off solid and positive results for the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. The stories highlighted in this report are a leading example of the economic impact on the island’s ecosystem,” said Márquez.

Meanwhile, the corporate innovation subprogram, parallel18 Connect, was a key element for last year’s growth of parallel18 companies, officials said.

Parallel18 Connect achieved 110 unique interactions with P18 companies and 17 unique interactions with pre18 startups. Consequently, these connections achieved the closing of six negotiations between both programs.

This corporate innovation initiative helps startups grow on the island and encourages large industries in Puerto Rico to become more competitive by integrating the latest innovations in the market, the panelists said.

This is achieved by connecting large corporations with relevant startups that provide corporations with the necessary tools to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

To date, parallel18 has graduated 138 companies in its four generations of pre18 and 248 startups in the nine generations of P18.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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