Thursday, January 20, 2022

Local Startup Accelerator Makes the Rounds to Attract New Companies

By on January 28, 2016

SAN JUAN – Startup accelerator firm Parallel18, based in San Juan, is wrapping up its first round of efforts to attract startups to Puerto Rico, with trips scheduled for New York City, Lima and Bogotá throughout the week.

The organization’s first call to startups is set to conclude Jan. 29, said Sebastián Vidal, the program’s executive director. “We are pleased with the interest that Parallel18 has generated among entrepreneurs from the U.S. [mainland], Latin America and Europe, as well as Puerto Rico,” he said. “The program’s offerings, alongside the advantages the island offers as a business portal, have proven very attractive for startups that wish to expand to new markets.”

Parallel18, which aims to accelerate innovative enterprises seeking to scale up their business using Puerto Rico as a platform, offers $40,000 in seed capital, the opportunity to train with specialized mentors, free work space in San Juan’s Santurce district for five months, and access to contact networks. Startups who choose to remain in Puerto Rico once the program ends will be eligible for up to $75,000 in funds to match any investment obtained from private sources.

“Startups based [in the mainland U.S.] have shown interest in going to a U.S. jurisdiction with a geographical and cultural proximity to Latin American and the Caribbean, coupled with an attractive tax structure,” said Parallel18’s Vidal, partly referring to incentives granted by the likes of Acts 20, 22 and 73. “At the same time, Latin American and European entrepreneurs are attracted to what for them represents an entry platform into the U.S. that is multicultural, bilingual and with a lower cost of living than other innovation hubs in the nation.”

The firm’s first call to startups began Dec. 9, with interested firms placing their submissions through the website. Once the call ends later in January, a group of 100 international judges will evaluate the proposals and submit its recommendations to the local board, which consists of local entrepreneurs and business players, as well as Puerto Rico public officials, Vidal explained. By mid-March, the 40 companies that will comprise the program’s first generation will be announced, with the first program seminar scheduled to start in April.

Parallel18 is part of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust Fund,

in collaboration with the Economic Development & Commence Department and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co.

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