Puerto Rico’s parallel18 celebrates supporting over 400 startups

StartupBeat Team
By StartupBeat Team June 19, 2024

Parallel18, a startup incubation program from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust (PRSTRT), is celebrating seven years of supporting over 400 international startups to scale their businesses internationally, while also helping with the economic development of Puerto Rico.

In a press statement, the company released its annual Impact Report, which summarizes its initiatives and contributions to the island’s business ecosystem in the previous year, taking into account the organization’s various programs including, pre-acceleration (pre18), acceleration (P18) and post-acceleration (Xpand).

Since its inception, according to the report, the program has left “a positive mark” on 452 early-stage companies from around the globe.

Parallel18 is a business support initiative with a social mission: to offer entrepreneurs around the world access to high-quality business education, financing and networking to help them expand globally, while positioning Puerto Rico as a strategic center for business technology-based innovators.

Created in 2015 by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, parallel18 provides startups $40,000 in grants and an investment of up to $20,000 from the PRSTRT.

The initiative has evolved to offer various programs including, pre-acceleration (pre18), acceleration (P18) and post-acceleration (Xpand).

The Impact Report, which outlines the incubator’s achievements from the previous year, mentioned that 161 Puerto Rican companies have graduated from pre18, the local pre-acceleration program. Currently, more than 70% of local companies are still in operation and have generated revenues amounting to $4.1 million.

Image credit: parallel18

P18 has supported hundreds of companies with opportunities that encourage global expansion while contributing to local economic development. P18 alumni have created more than 800 jobs, and 75% of these companies continue to operate.

As local businesses progress to a more advanced stage, Xpand is a community-driven program that supports Puerto Rican businesses toward sustainable and global growth. This post-acceleration curriculum, subsidized by Banco Popular, has graduated 19 companies (Gen. 2 and Gen. 3) with sales amounting $9.6 million.

According to the impact report, between January and December 2023, the organization distributed $1,347,500 in grants to the 23 participating Gen. 5 (Pre18) companies and the 19 Gen. 11 (P18) startups. 

Regarding the private capital raised by the companies, it was detailed that Gen. 11 companies raised $675,000 during the program, while Pre18 Gen. 5 companies raised $912,000.

Additionally, the parallel18 Ventures subprogram that helps startups create an investment strategy while connecting them with a curated network of more than 600 investors, has a portfolio of 64 companies, which have raised a total of $85,113,800 in capital in the last seven years (cumulative).

Last year alone, around $605,000 in capital was invested in 23 companies, of which $380,000 was invested in startups of P18 Gen. 11; $125,000 that was awarded in a “Matching Fund” to the company RedAtlas and $100,000 that was invested in 3 companies of Xpand Gen. 3 (Konti Design, PRoduce, and Libros 787).

“Once again, parallel18 demonstrates the importance of supporting local and international entrepreneurs since they are one of the main sources of economic development for our country. At the Trust, we are proud to have a robust entrepreneurial pillar capable of providing valuable and relevant resources for each participant who goes through our programs. Every year, the ecosystem continues to evolve, and parallel18 remains at the forefront,” said Eng. Lucy Crespo, CEO of PRSTRT.

Image credit: parallel18 Impact Report.

P18’s latest cohort of startups

In addition to their Impact Report, P18 also announced this week its 12th cohort of international startups which will begin the program in July.

The startups hail from around the globe, including the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Norway, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and, of course, Puerto Rico.

“We are very excited to welcome this international generation in our new space: the Forward Center located within the Science City at the Trust. We want each participant to enjoy and benefit from this new facet of our organization.  Likewise, the selection process was very competitive since we received applications of very good caliber and were evaluated by international judges. Gen. 12 promises to be a great cohort, with the diversity and innovation that has always characterized our alumni,” said Dr. Héctor Jirau, executive director of parallel18.

Startups accepted into the gen-12 batch include:

Image credit: parallel18