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Parallel18’s alumni shine bright at SXSW 2017

Sebastián Vidal (Credit: José R. Madera)

Global accelerator Parallel18 (P18) and five of the startups that have been through its program will have highlighted participations at the SXSW (South by Southwest) innovation conference, which begins this week in Austin, Texas.

The companies that will be represented are: Abartys Health, ALEX, UAV-IQ, Brands of and PowerSiesta.

SXSW celebrates innovation by combining startups, technology, music and film, and has been a launching platform for well-known companies, such as Twitter.

More than 150,000 people attend the conferences, exhibition and independent music and film festivals, throughout the two-weeks event.

Sebastian Vidal, P18’s executive director, will lead the panel “Se Habla Spanglish: A Bridge for Latino Startups,” where Puerto Ricans Ramphis Castro, Giovanni Rodríguez and Nancy Santiago-Negrón will discuss the Hispanic market potential in the U.S. as a portal for Latin American and Caribbean entrepreneurs.

The panel will be held Mar. 11 at 5 p.m. and is part of the official SXSW 2017 schedule in the Startup Village track.

“The idea for the panel is to combine the lessons we have learned at P18 working with so many international startups, with the experience Nancy, Giovanni and Ramphis have with latino entrepreneurs in the U.S. to present the opportunities and resources that could help open the door for them,” said Vidal, about the panel organized by the accelerator.

SXSW’s official schedule includes conferences, workshops, panels and keynote speakers about diverse subjects, including business, culture and public policy.

The process to curate the content starts eight months prior to the event with a call for sessions and speakers, that are then submitted to the public vote and later on vetted by an internal committee.

International exposure
In addition to the accelerator’s panel, at least 5 P18 alumni will have different interventions throughout the conference. First up is ALEX – Anyone’s Learning Experience, who will be pitching today at the pre-event SXSWedu.

The startup co-founded in the U.S. by Puerto Ricans Alana Matos and Sergio Marrero is 1 of 10 finalists selected for a “lightning pitch” competition.

While on SXSW’s official first day, Mar. 11, Dolmarie Mendez and Lauren Cascio will make Abartys Health the first startup founded in Puerto Rico to pitch on the “Release It” competition, one of the main events of the Interactive festival.

SXSW Release It serves as a platform for 10 startups to release new and innovative products. A panel of judges comprised of technology industry experts, venture capitalists and high-profile media select the product or service most likely to succeed in the marketplace.

“We will be officially releasing our new product, ‘InsureLynk’, on stage at SXSW and will be judged on the viability of the product in its respective market. We’re excited to represent Abartys Health and Puerto Rico in Austin,” said Dolmarie Méndez, CEO of the startup.

Abartys Health has created a unified system for the three major components of healthcare —patients, doctors, and insurers — streamlining services, communication, and treatment. Its technology is moving healthcare from the existing disjointed state to a centralized hub.

A second P18 Alumnus might be in the same competition, since ag tech startup UAV-IQ, is an “alternate” for Release It, which means they should be ready to pitch in case one of the finalists can’t make it at the last minute.

Ready to win some customers
SXSW also includes a trade show, Mar. 12-15, where startups, established companies and delegations from cities, states and countries exhibit innovative products and services. This year, Puerto Rican P18 alumni Brands of and PowerSiesta will be there.

“We’re honored to be at the SXSW Trade Show, since we’ll be launching our new sites Brands of El Paso and Brands of Mexico,” said Alan Taveras, cofounder of Brands of.

“My team and I are thankful to the Borderplex Alliance and the city of El Paso, Texas for inviting us to be part of the Mexico pavilion,” he said. “Brands of was born in Puerto Rico, but since the beginning, our goal was to develop a scalable tool, that connects the world with local brands and entrepreneurs.”

Meanwhile, PowerSiesta is one of 12 products that will be showcased at the “Powered by Paper” gallery at SXSW 2017. Luigi González, cofounder of the local startup, explained that the Paper and Packaging Board wanted to take to SXSW commercial innovative products made with paper and packaging materials.

“The PowerSiesta caught their eye because we use corrugated carton in a novel way, making a product that is light, compact and portable,” said González about the solution his team created to help travelers get a better sleep on the go.

“We’re proud of the local startups and the international startups with links to the island that will be participating in this year’s SXSW, since they’re spreading further the message that Puerto Rico is a productive platform to scale globally,” concluded Vidal.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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