Bridging Innovation and Scalability with Parallel18 Connect

The 18th dimension
3 min readJun 5, 2024


At some point, you’ve probably heard that innovation is what drives growth and competitiveness within any given company that wants to thrive in their industry. And we’ve seen it first hand with our startup alumni– our very own early-stage visionaries who seek new ways to stay ahead.

But, what happens when we propel innovative approaches on a bigger scale? With over 40 meetings and 8 deals brokered between our corporate partners and startups this past year, we’ve seen first hand how corporate innovation is the recipe for success when it comes to standing out in emerging markets.

At parallel18, Alexandra Espinal, our Business Development Manager, plays a crucial role in fostering these crucial connections. Through her expertise and leadership of our subprogram parallel18 Connect, our startup alumni are not only able to bring their innovations to market more effectively but also provide well-established corporations with fresh, competitive solutions.

Let’s deep-dive into how parallel18 Connect bridges these connections and the mutual benefits that arise from such collaborations!

First off, Alexandra’s role is multifaceted, serving as a critical link between ambitious startups and established corporate partners. She describes her responsibilities as evaluating the big picture, researching corporate partners extensively, and ensuring that both parties’ interests are aligned throughout negotiations. As she puts it, “My role essentially is to broker the deal. I ensure that both the corporate partner and the startup are aware of where they are at and what their interests are within their specific deal or collaboration.”

This careful orchestration ensures that the startups understand the often lengthy process of closing deals, helping them to be patient and strategic.

Preparing Our Startups for Success

One of Alexandra’s key insights on how to effectively collaborate with corporate partners is the importance of startups doing their own due diligence. While she figuratively opens doors for founders, she emphasizes that “you need to walk through on your own.” For a startup to successfully pitch to a corporate partner, they must clearly understand and articulate their value proposition. At the same time, “You need to know a lot about the business you want to be involved with to be able to close the deal,” she advises.

Alexandra works closely with startups, helping them refine their value propositions, optimize their pitch decks, and develop compelling proposals. This is particularly crucial for early-stage startups, which often need to present their solutions as pilot programs to attract early adopters and refine their offerings.

Determining when a startup is ready to engage with a corporate partner is another crucial aspect to ensure fruitful partnerships. Here’s where parallel18’s Operations team comes into play, as they track each startups’ progress and metrics. This ensures that only those startups with the capacity to deliver on a deal are introduced to corporate partners. Timing and readiness are essential in these high-stakes introductions.

Furthermore, the relationships fostered by parallel18 Connect are designed to be win-win situations. For startups, partnering with a corporation can provide significant growth opportunities, access to new markets, and valuable exposure. “Think about it, you sign a deal with a big corporation, they can do a press release and mention you — that opens the door to other potential customers,” Alexandra explains.

For corporate partners, these collaborations are equally beneficial. They gain early access to innovative solutions that can keep them as competitive as they can be. “If you’re not innovating, you’re falling behind,” Alexandra asserts. By tapping into the fresh perspectives and technologies developed by startups, corporations can enhance their own operations and stay ahead of their competitors.

Ultimately, the success of these collaborations hinges on strategic alignment. It is crucial for startups to define their ideal customers and target markets from the outset. This strategic clarity allows startups to pursue the most impactful opportunities and invest their limited resources wisely. “The right strategic partner is the key to growth,” Alexandra says, underscoring the transformative potential of a well-matched corporate partnership.

Through the diligent efforts of our subprogram parallel18 Connect, we foster business opportunities between startups and corporate partners, nurturing relationships that drive innovation and growth. For startups, this means scaling their innovations and gaining market traction, while for corporations, it means staying competitive through unique solutions.

If you’re looking to bet on corporate innovation, send us an email: We’re continually looking to expand our corporate partner network!



The 18th dimension

Parallel18 is an innovation hub that represents a unique gateway for global startups to scale from Puerto Rico.