How does Parallel18 work?
Parallel18 consists of an intense 5-month acceleration program, with 2 cohorts per year of up to 40 startups each. Companies will receive a equity free grant (USD40,000 delivered in two sets of USD20,000) with an opportunity for follow-on funds if they choose to stay in Puerto Rico. In exchange, entrepreneurs will engage with local universities and schools to teach and mentor students on a regular basis. Alumni will be eligible for up to USD75,000 in matching funds when they raise capital, in an effort to retain talent and help startups scale from the Island.
When can I apply to Parallel18?
Applications open twice a year. To learn about application or announcement dates, stay tuned to our social media platforms and web page or email us at email@example.com.
Who can apply to Parallel18?
Anyone who’s over 18 years of age and has at least a prototype for a globally scalable business. Companies that apply can’t have more than 3 years of operations. Team leaders will need to dedicate full-time to the startup, and program participants may not be more than 3 people. The companies must be incorporated in Puerto Rico or the US. If your startup is not incorporated in any of these places, the program will help you out to set-up everything upon the beginning of the program.
What type of entrepreneur is Parallel18 looking for?
Parallel18 is looking for global minds who want to expand their business in and from Puerto Rico. We are looking for globally oriented startups that are easy to scale. Companies need to have a functional prototype, traction and must have less than three years of operations. It is critical that the founder of each startup participating in the program is willing to live in Puerto Rico for 5 months. Founders must be willing to participate in a collaborative environment and to comply with the program specifics.
Can my startup be based in Puerto Rico at the time of application?
Yes, the startup can be based in Puerto Rico or in any other country at the time of application. The startup must have 3 years of operations or less.
What do I need to apply?
Projects must be at least in a stage where the concept was validated and the company has enough traction to be able to scale operations. These projects must have three years of operations or less. To apply you need to fill out the application form on the YouNoodle platform. Applications open twice a year.
Who is going to review my application to Parallel18?
Parallel18 is working closely with YouNoodle to manage the application and selection process. Each application will be screened as to whether it is a good fit for the program (Globally oriented, less than 3 years, scaling operations, traction, etc) and then it will be advanced to judging. In judging, YouNoodle has a board of judges that review all eligible startups based on set criteria (see below). Each startup is reviewed by at least three judges.
It is important to be very specific with your traction and projected growth KPIs, since each judge reviews several applications. Finally, Parallel18’s local board will review the judging results and select the up to 40 startups to be accepted to the program.
Who is going to have access to my application?
Competition managers and judges will review each application and verify eligibility. All documents are kept completely confidential and are not shared with external sources.
What is the key criteria for application evaluation?
Your application will be evaluated based on how differentiated and innovative your product or service is. The company must target a global market and also stand out from competitors, and have some measurable traction. The experience and qualifications of team members and cohesiveness of team will also be evaluated, and lastly their focus and dedication to the business. Here are the 5 key evaluation criteria and their weights:
- Product or Service (25%)
- Market and Competitive Positioning (25%)
- Team Mix, Qualification & Experience (25%)
- Traction (15%)
- Dedication and Focus (10%)
I’m launching a restaurant, can I participate in Parallel18?
Although we wish you all the luck in the world, we don’t accept startups focused on small businesses, import/export, and franchises.
Do I need to be fluent in Spanish?
No, we speak Spanglish! All of the Program communications will be in English and, being a bilingual country, lots of people speak or understand English. We are still a Spanish-speaking country though, so learning the basics is always recommended. If your first language is Spanish, we highly recommend that you learn English given that all activities will be in this language.
Do I need a recommendation letter?
We strongly suggest having recommendation letters. However, they are not required. They should be written by an investor, mentor, academic or entrepreneur who can talk about the team’s talent and experience. When you begin filling out the application form via our website or YouNoodle, you will have to provide the email of the person that wrote your recommendation letter. YouNoodle’s system will then send an email with a unique notification to that person. Make sure to tell your recommenders to check their junk mail, just in case the request was sent to that folder. The person that is writing the recommendation letter will be able to access the application form. He or she will have to answer the following questions:
- How do you know the team?
- Do you think this team will be able to successfully execute their startup? And why?
This person will also be able to view it, but not edit the application. The applicant will not have access to see the answers to the recommendation letter. You can submit a maximum of 3 recommendations.
Do I need to pitch a video?
That’s right! You must prepare a 3-minute pitch video about your startup in English, in which you present the founding team. The video should answer 3 main questions:
- What problem are you solving?
- Why are you the perfect team to lead this project?
- How will Parallel18 impact your startups?
You must provide a direct YouTube or Vimeo link of your pitch video. Make sure it is not password-protected. Remember to present the founding team in person in the video.
Will my airplane ticket be covered by Parallel18?
Yes, only the beneficiary and founders identified on the application will be able to use grant money to reimburse their tickets.