Parallel18 Looks At The Future Of Puerto Rico, Across Three Horizons

The past two months have made us analyze many things. Hurricane Maria made us shift our calendar and the way we usually run our program. The event pushed us to see the need to double our efforts in entrepreneurship, and to reaffirm in our goal to make Puerto Rico the startup hub that America needs. That goal takes work and support from our local and global community. With that in mind, we have several announcements about what will happen with parallel18 in 2018.

We are looking at the future of parallel18 across three time horizons:

First horizon — reopening Gen.5

Many of you have been writing to our Cobi email and through our social media channels asking about what will happen with Gen.5. Are we reopening the call for our next generation? When will it happen? We’re pumped to say that the application period for Gen.5 opens next March and selected startups are expected to arrive in August.

Now, why so long and what will happen in between? Before Maria, Puerto Rico’s startup ecosystem was burgeoning. Our hypothesis of how entrepreneurs make other people become entrepreneurs was already becoming a reality, and the results of our first year were proof of that. However, the hurricane threatened to destroy all of our hard work, along with the efforts of our startups and entrepreneurial organizations on the island.

At the same time, a lot of good and innovative solutions were emerging during the crisis and Boricuas were getting creative to address the many pains that were born after María.

As a program, we needed to find a way to keep up the progress, keep helping startups to launch, grow, and get ready for parallel18. It became clear that focusing on this was the best way to get involved, to contribute in Puerto Rico’s reconstruction while staying true to our mission: fostering innovation and entrepreneurship with a global mindset.

Second horizon — announcing pre18, a program for young island startups

So, with the intention of pushing our entrepreneurs to grow locally and globally we decided to postpone the next call for global startups in Gen.5, and put our efforts in what is now called pre18. pre18, a special edition pre-accelerator focused on Puerto Rican startups, will leverage parallel18’s know-how and connections with the global startup community to make a strong bet on Puerto Rico’s economy based in the pillars of innovation and entrepreneurship. The program’s goal will be to push their businesses to sales and growth in local and global markets. pre18 will give them mentorship, connections, goals, and a better chance to get in Gen.5.

pre18 applications opened today and close in January 15th. The program starts in April and ends in July. pre18 is only open for Puerto Rican startups or founders; this is not a global call. Remember that global applications for Gen.5 will be open in March.

Third horizon — Gen.5 and beyond, the future of Puerto Rico

So what does this mean for future cohorts? While it is too early for specifics, we are in discussions with leaders inside and outside of Puerto Rico about the industries where there could be the greatest impact on both Puerto Rico and other regions: energy, water, food, healthcare, and construction, sectors where there has been great innovation with new and emerging technologies. While future cohorts will not be limited to entrepreneurs in these sectors, we will more actively invite those who are as well as some of the large global enterprises who have already expressed interest in the reconstruction of the Puerto Rican economy and the role that Puerto Rico can play on the global stage.

So now, how can you help? There are several ways:

  • If you know any global startups that will be a good fit for parallel18, let us know so we can start nurturing them for Gen.5
  • If you know any Puerto Rican startups or Puerto Rican founders who are in the U.S. and want to come back that need funding, mentorship, and everything pre18 has to offer, let us know so we can help them apply to the program
  • If you want to mentor our startups, send an email to Cobi and we’ll get back to you asap
  • If you want to sponsor a startup or see how you can help pre18 or parallel18 send a line to cobi@parallel18.com
  • If you are interested in speaking with us about the future of Puerto Rico and post Gen.5, let us know.

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Parallel18 is a startup accelerator that represents a unique gateway for global startups to scale from Puerto Rico.

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Parallel18 is a startup accelerator that represents a unique gateway for global startups to scale from Puerto Rico.

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