Sunday, July 5, 2020

P18Ventures Investment Portfolio Up to $1.35 Million

By on March 3, 2020

CINCO founder and CEO Rubén Morales (Courtesy)

SAN JUAN — CINCO Engineering, DataWifi and Dokimi Inc. are the latest companies to join P18Ventures, a follow-up investment portfolio within the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust’s (PRSTRT) international startup initiative, which includes a business accelerator and various sub-programs.

The trust is a nonprofit organization created to promote the participation and creation of jobs in the knowledge economy by promoting investment and the financing of research and development of science and technology.

As part of its efforts to grow the island’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, the PRSTRT has invested $225,000 in three startups: CINCO, from Puerto Rico; DataWifi from Colombia; and stateside-based Dokimi Inc., which owns EduSynch and Levely. These companies participated in the sixth edition of Parallel18’s (P18) acceleration program.

Data Wifi founder and CEO Edwin Pardo (Courtesy)

“The fundraising sub-program aims at speeding up the growth of promising ventures that have been through the accelerator. With its newest addition, the portfolio now sums up a total of US $1.35 million awarded to 19 companies since 2016, three of which went on to individually raise more than US $1 million in subsequent fundraising rounds,” reads the announcing media release.

To achieve its mission, the fund, under the PRSTRT, matches private capital raised by entrepreneurs up to $75,000, “in exchange for stocks or convertible notes.”

“When parallel18 was founded in 2015, the Trust was looking for ways to address one of the biggest challenges Puerto Rican and Latin American entrepreneurs were facing, which was the lack of access to investment opportunities. What we’ve seen since then is how, along with P18Ventures’ maturity, the amount of investment raised on the island has grown as well as the number of investors paying attention to these promising endeavors,” said Lucy Crespo, CEO of the PRSTRT. 

Support infrastructure

In response to P18Ventures’ results, the second half of P18’s acceleration curriculum “is now deep diving into tapping fundraising opportunities for companies with innovation at their core,” the accelerator said. To carry this out, parallel18’s director of operations, Lucas Arzola, has overseen the program’s focus on investment and has been working on expanding the local and international investor network. 

“A few years ago, being able to raise capital on the island was almost unimaginable for startups,” Arzola said in the release, adding that entrepreneurs are experiencing a shift in mentality and learning more about fundraising strategies to appeal to investors. 

“Today, these companies’ valuations are living up to those we’ve seen in big innovation hubs, and our mission is to keep fostering that fast-growing quality by nurturing P18’s companies with the best investment education and opportunities,” he said.

CINCO’s founder, Rubén Morales, said the trust and parallel18’s support has motivated the company to “knock it out of the park.”

“What happens when a reputable organization such as the Trust invests in these companies is that investors—who perhaps previously didn’t contemplate putting their money on high-risk ventures—can develop the confidence of knowing that they’re betting on some of the fastest-growing startups in Puerto Rico and Latin America,” explained parallel18’s executive director, Sebastián Vidal. 

Dokimi cofounder and CEO Sean Kilachand (Courtesy)

“This investment, along with the relationships and opportunities that come through the P18Ventures network, will allow us to reach our next objectives and set us up for sustainable growth over the next few years,” added Sean Kilachand, co-founder and CEO of Dokimi Inc. 

Other companies in the P18Ventures portfolio are Burea, Cinemad, Brands Of, Abartys Health, Quiena, BrainHi, Workep, Wisboo, Adventure Bucket List, Vozy, Molcajete Foods and GoPanza

In February, P18 closed applications for its eighth generation, set to kick off in May. Startups interested in applying to the program’s next cohort for a chance to receive P18Ventures funding will be able to do so in November. 

About the startups:

  • CINCO Engineering: CINCO is software that helps life sciences companies protect their patients by managing the risks of their manufacturing processes. Their pilot client is a multinational biopharmaceutical company. Co-investment with Grupo Guayacán.
  • DataWifi: An IoT platform that helps in acquiring and qualifying leads. It detects, connects and engages people in real-life spaces. The company has clients in Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama, Salvador, and is launching in Puerto Rico. Co-investment with Morro Ventures and a Puerto Rican angel investor.
  • Dokimi, Inc., the parent company of EduSynch and Levely: Affordable and scalable English language proficiency testing and training for individuals, schools, universities and corporations. It has an alliance with the Berlitz language education company. Local clients range from the banking industry to the pharmaceutical sector. Co-investment with a Puerto Rican angel investor.

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