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Contxto – In conjunction with Parallel18 Ventures and accelerator, four startups from Puerto Rico, Colombia and Canada recently earned a collective contribution of US$225,000 from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust.
Specifically, Parallel18 Ventures is the follow-on fund for the company’s accelerator in Puerto Rico. Collaborating with the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, the Boricua non-profit supports graduating startups from Parallel18’s acceleration program.
The premise is to help startups grow after the event in hopes of building larger capacities for future investments. In this sense, Parallel18 Ventures is the trust’s gateway to the local startup ecosystem.
As the fifth cohort of Parallel18’s accelerator, each of the four startups that received funding participated in the program from December 2018. Just recently did they raise funds from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust through their involvement with Parallel18’s accelerator.
Following this, the newest startups in Parallel18 Ventures’ growing portfolio include Go Panza and Molcajete Foods from Puerto Rico, Vozy from Colombia, as well as Adventure Bucket List from Canada. All of them operate in Puerto Rico at some capacity.
In terms of requisites, each startup must maintain operations in Puerto Rico, on top of hiring three full-time employees. Over the past three years, Parallel18 Ventures has invested US$1.115 million in 16 companies. From there, these startups have independently raised an additional US$15 million from investors to scale operations.
From Puerto Rico, this startup provides the tech resources to small grocers to reach e-commerce markets. Go Panza even provides delivery and pickup while expecting to grow its network to 15 stores before the end of 2019.
Also from Puerto Rico, this startup manufactures and sells Mexican food products using organic corn and Doña Lola products. Present in 100 stores throughout the island, Molcajete Foods anticipates doubling its locations before 2021.
Clients from diverse Latin American industries use Vozy’s voice technology as well as AI to automate communication with customers. Offering personalized customer experiences at scale, the Colombian startup has over 200 small business customers in 15 countries. Some of these include MAPFRE as well as Infopáginas in Puerto Rico.
Adventure Bucket List
Hailing from Canada, this travel startup not only offers online booking but also reservation software to small travel companies. Around 240 clients from nine countries use the software to conserve money in addition to increase sales. Out of this group, 55 are tour-operators in Puerto Rico.
Investor Bridge Project
Recently, the Economic Development Agency awarded Parallel18 Ventures with a US$609,135 grant to launch the Investor Bridge Project. Administered through the Puerto Rican group, it is designed to grow investor networks throughout the island. Investment education programming and the implementation of a more formal investment fund worth US$10 million are also on the agenda.
Over time, the Investor Bridge Project plans to acquire more capital to invest in the Puerto Rican tech scene. Within two years, it also plans to assist at least 10 companies while generating the creation of over 50 jobs.
“Parallel18 Ventures and the new Investor Bridge Project are important elements to continue strengthening Puerto Rico’s innovation ecosystem,” said Lucy Crespo, CEO of Parallel18 Ventures.
“With these initiatives, we are working to solve one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs on the island, the lack of alternative funding for high-tech companies, which is key to their full development and future contribution to the island’s economy.”