New year, big changes for parallel18!

The 18th dimension
4 min readJan 17, 2023


We are kicking this new year with big changes! As we enter our seventh year as a Puerto Rican innovation hub that focuses on underrepresented founders, our team continues to evolve and our subprograms are optimizing their capabilities to ensure a full growth cycle for startups around the world.

A transformative year for the parallel18 team

As key leaders of Puerto Rico’s innovative ecosystem, our organization continues to evolve. This past year, Héctor Jirau, Ph.D. joined the team as the Operations and Investment Director, with a clear mission: to continue positioning parallel18 as a strong and robust innovation hub for startups to thrive and continue their journey of scalability and success.

Natasha Martínez, former Startup Executive, was promoted to Program Manager, we welcomed Mineiry Ramos as Operations Coordinator and Yessica Fontánez as a Startup Executive for the Operations Team. With these changes, the Operations team aims to keep strengthening the program with a data-driven curriculum where startups receive what they need according to the cohort’s stage and industry mix.

On the other hand, Adriana Pérez was promoted to Investment Manager of parallel18 Ventures. Our subprogram continues evolving while offering connections, access to capital and support in the road of fundraising for startups.

pre18 welcomes 26 local startups!

The fifth generation of pre18 selected 26 Puerto Rican startups that will receive a $25,000 grant, which represents a 25% increase in funding, as we adjust to the economic reality that our island (and the world) currently faces.

The local pre-acceleration subprogram continues to offer entrepreneurial education and mentorship opportunities during 12 weeks that will help startups launch into the market and approach product market fit.

Also, the companies that applied to be part of pre18 had to meet some specific basic requirements: an innovative solution, have a scalable product or service, and at least have a minimum viable product (MVP) or service along with a launch-to-market plan.

The 26 companies that will be part of Gen. 5 are: Urbital, Mikokos, Quibble, Tuto Edu, Quote Correct, Inmigración Virtual, Berrify, Caribe Drones, UpShip, Jaltea, Meliora Centrum, Health 4 Pets, Zheimer Puzzle, Detax, Construye tu Libro, School Management System, Dblocks, Oteogo, OneGig, ShopperFix, Prep App, PonFlow, MFixers, Guarike, Pop Insured, and DronGo.

Of the companies accepted, 8 come from our parent organization’s incubation program Fase1. The fifth cohort will start next January 23th.

Xpand: the program that completes the acceleration cycle

There is a certain stage in the life of an innovative startup where incubators and accelerators no longer meet all the needs for the venture to continue scaling. In this growth stage, companies are most vulnerable, and the support they require becomes more strategic.

Being a startup in an emerging market such as Puerto Rico presents an even bigger challenge, with issues such as limited access to resources, and small geographic market coverage, that are known to be specific limitations to small isolated territories.

This is where our subprogram Xpand comes into place as the final phase of the acceleration cycle. The post-acceleration program pushes local entrepreneurs to export, improve their products, hire top performers and raise private capital with ease.

Furthermore, Xpand is an exclusive program powered by the Puerto Rico, Science, Technology & Research Trust (PRSTRT), through parallel18, and funded by Fundación Banco Popular aiming to support growth-stage innovative startups from Puerto Rico that are ready to expand towards a sustainable growth and scale to new markets.

The program seeks to combine Banco Popular’s capabilities and resources with the domain expertise, scaffold, and community of parallel18’s network of investors and corporate partners.

At the same time, the curriculum is leveraging other programs from the PRSTRT’s entrepreneurship pillar programs such as Colmena66; which provides a vast market research database that can benefit all participating companies.

By supporting the most promising growth-stage startups in Puerto Rico, we are also pushing forward the island’s knowledge economy as a center point in the global innovation ecosystem.

“As we adapt to the current needs of our innovation ecosystem, we seek to enhance our value proposition as we have through the successful creation of our pre-acceleration, acceleration and now post-acceleration program. At parallel18, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is at the centerpoint of our mission, and as such, 2023 will be a stellar year as we lever our resources to provide more access to state-of-the-art mentorship from the biggest successes in the industry, more access to investment capital, and globalization of our efforts to bring entrepreneurs from all over the world to do business in Puerto Rico.” concluded Dr. Héctor Jirau, Director of Investment and Operations.

As our organization continues to grow, we will further our mission of promoting inclusive entrepreneurship opportunities! If you want to join our community as a mentor, want to be part of our partner network or if you’re looking to diversify your portfolio with innovative startups, please contact us at

Xpand will open its application process next February 13th, send us an email for more info! Don’t miss out and apply!



The 18th dimension

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