Puerto Rico’s P18 international accelerator opens applications for 12th edition

StartupBeat Team
By StartupBeat Team April 2, 2024

Parallel18, a program of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (PRSTRT), has opened its applications process for its P18 international accelerator program.

“This call once again reaffirms the commitment of Parallel18 and the Trust, through its entrepreneurship pillar, to continue supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Dr. Héctor Jirau, Executive Director of Parallel18. “P18 is a unique opportunity for innovative companies that can develop in Puerto Rico. The selected companies will receive ongoing support with mentoring and a financial grant that will allow companies to continue growing and scaling.”

Jirau added that the mentoring provided and the companies’ access to P18’s network of corporate partners and investors is “unmatched as it helps drive the growth and success of the solutions significantly.”

In its 12th edition (Gen. 12), up to 25 innovative companies will be accepted. The selected startups will receive 20 weeks of education, business mentoring, and a total financial contribution of $60,000. Interested companies will have until April 30 at midnight to complete the online application.

Dr. Héctor Jirau, Executive Director of Parallel18. Image credit: Tekios.

The Gen. 12 financial support will be divided into a $40,000 equity-free grant and $20,000 investment through a Simple Agreement for Future Participation (SAFE). Additionally, during the 20 weeks of the program, participants will receive mentoring and weekly goal monitoring.

Selected P18 entrepreneurs will receive access to a broad network of mentors, investors, corporate clients, business partners and contacts who work closely with the program to address all key aspects of a company’s needs.

“We continue to promote innovation and global collaboration in Puerto Rico. This call, once again, demonstrates the Trust’s commitment to empowering entrepreneurs and startups worldwide so that they can globally scale their products and strengthen the island’s economy. Parallel18’s impact metrics speak for themselves, 92% of the companies that have gone through the program continue to operate and that is a great achievement”, highlighted Eng. Lucy Crespo, CEO of the PRSTRT.

To date, 275 companies have participated in P18, 53 of these are Puerto Rican. The program has also received companies from Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Singapore, the United States, among other countries.

P18, as an international acceleration program, requires that participating companies demonstrate innovation, operate for three years or less, and have either generated sales or launched a validated product in the market. Additionally, they must exhibit traction and growth potential, and possess scalability to adapt to diverse markets. 

The program also stipulates that at least two founders must commit full time to the company during the curriculum and that the founders be physically present on the island. Finally, entrepreneurs must present a plan of how they will take advantage of and incorporate Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurship system to scale their business.

Lucy Crespo, CEO of the PRSTRT. Image credit: El Nuevo Dia.

The interested companies must complete the online application before April 30 at midnight (AST/UTC-4).

P18 will select up to 25 companies through a competitive process that includes an initial filter by the Parallel18 team; an evaluation committee with external judges; and a selection committee made up of investors, entrepreneurs and other members of the Parallel18 community. The chosen companies will be announced at the end of May and the program is scheduled to begin the first week of July.

As part of the P18 application process initiatives, a virtual information session will be held on Friday, April 12 at 12:30pm (AST/UTC-4) to clarify any questions. Those interested in participating can register here.

Since its official launch in December 2015, the international accelerator program has received more than 4,500 applications from more than 60 countries.

Once they enter the program, companies benefit from perks made possible by service providers committed to supporting the startups by offering their services at discounted rates. Likewise, startups have access to Parallel18’s TalentApp, a platform with professional resources where they can recruit local talent available to work as a freelancer, full-time, part-time or through internships.

The cohort will also benefit from Parallel18 Connect, a corporate innovation program that promotes and links startups with large and high-profile corporations to promote business relationships and collaboration between both parties, as well as Parallel18 Ventures, a subprogram that focuses on helping startups to create a solid investment strategy while connecting them with a curated network of investors.