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Grupo Guayacán Launches New Startup Accelerator

By on August 30, 2016

SAN JUAN—This past weekend, Grupo Guayacán, Inc. (GGI), a private sector-drive nonprofit, kicked off SPRINGBOARD, an entrepreneurial development offering touted as the first program in Puerto Rico geared at preparing local start-ups to raise early stage capital.

The program, which is sponsored by the Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Prize, is delivered through a partnership with the Angel Resource Institute (ARI), a n on-profit created by the Ewing Marion Kauffmann Foundation and based in Kansas City, Mo.

SPRINGBOARD will provide ten high potential start-ups, selected through a competitive process, with the knowledge, tools, and resources to build and scale successful investable ventures through a series of educational workshops, coaching sessions, and one-on-one mentoring, said Laura Cantero, GGI’s executive director.

The participants represent a variety of industries and include graduates from other local entrepreneurial development programs, such as EnterPRize winners AgroTropical, Aseguratec, Semila, and Join-a-Join, as well as Parallel18 participants School Climate Solutions, Stellup and Tix.By. OBA Learn, grantees of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust, Codetrotters, and Pick My Stuff complete the group.

The program’s custom curriculum, developed by ARI in collaboration with GGI, includes six workshops and multiple pitching practices with feedback from ARI’s network of angel investors.

Guayacan Executive Director Laura Cantero presents Troy Knauss

Guayacan Executive Director Laura Cantero presents Troy Knauss

SPRINGBOARD concludes with a Demo Day in December, where top startups will pitch their ventures to a panel of local and international early stage investors. At Demo Day, Guayacán will also grant up to $50,000 in equity-free funding to top ventures.

“As Guayacán celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, we are proud to continue innovating in our entrepreneurial development offering, tailoring our programs to the gaps in Puerto Rico’s ecosystem and the needs of entrepreneurs at different stages of growth,”
Cantero said. “Through SPRINGBOARD, we serve a critical need in the local ecosystem, [which is] access to education about investment in early stage companies.”

“Through the program, start-ups will learn to look at their ventures from an investor’s point of view, understand what they need to consider before deciding to raise angel and early stage capital, and get an inside look at everything that goes into pitching, negotiating, and structuring a deal with investors,” she added.

During the past kickoff weekend, participants had the opportunity to deliver pitches and learn about the expectations of early stage investors and the capital raising process from SPRINGBOARD’s lead instructor, ARI’s Vice-Chairman Troy Knauss. ARI’s Co-Chair, Susan Preston, will join Knauss, who has committed to personally invest in at least one of the graduating companies, as co-instructor for SPRINGBOARD. Preston is a world-recognized expert in angel financing, published author, and partner in various early stage funds throughout the western U.S.

SPRINGBOARD also boasts access to a group of experienced mentors who will support companies throughout the program, among them Rodolfo Sánchez-Colberg, a partner at Parliament Capital, which manages a Puerto Rico-based private equity fund. SPRINGBOARD’s mentors received an exclusive training from Knauss at a Mentor Boot Camp, hosted by Guayacán before the program’s official start.

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