Parallel18 is a top-level, performance-driven international startup program with a social mission: offering entrepreneurs from all over the world access to high-quality business training, grants, mentors, business contacts and investors to help them scale globally while working to position Puerto Rico as a unique hub for innovative businesses and technology.
The program is part of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust, a private non-profit organization created with the goal of maximizing Puerto Rico’s participation and creation of jobs in the global knowledge economy by promoting investment and financing of science and technology research development. The organization manages and hosts over a dozen initiatives that range from grants and technical support to meetups and educational resources for researchers, entrepreneurs, farmers, investors, and other groups.
Our acceleration program, welcomes companies from around the world to help them scale from Puerto Rico to global markets. Our team works hard to provide high-quality business education, develop business connections, and create investment opportunities for all our startups.
Startups that apply must be incorporated in Puerto Rico or in the United States with authorization to do business in Puerto Rico. In the case that your company is not incorporated in any of these locations, the Program will provide you with resources that can assist in this process. Only founders that own fifty percent (50%) or more of their startup may apply. The founder applying to the Program must be over eighteen (18) years of age, and the Program participants may not be more than three (3) people. Parallel18 reserves the right to use its discretionary faculty to accept team members below the age of eighteen (18) as extraordinary situations may arise.
The following categories will be considered:
The entity is the legal company duly specified in the application form behind the startup applying to the Program (hereinafter, also referred to as the “Project”). The entity needs to be incorporated in Puerto Rico or in the United States with authorization to do business in Puerto Rico as a Corp. or LLC company. In the case that the company does not have this legal structure, Parallel18 will provide you with resources that can assist you in this process
The team leader, also known as the beneficiary, is a natural person, duly specified during the application form, that is an original founder of the startup and continues to be a C-level member directly involved in the company’s business strategy, commercial activities and decision making, who must act in name and representation of him or herself and of the executors as the person responsible before Parallel18. The person designated as the team leader must participate in the program in Puerto Rico, during the entire period of the program, and be exclusively dedicated to the development of this project; likewise, the beneficiary will be the active and passive subject of all rights and obligations established in the Grant Agreement, including detailed reports on expenses and activities materialized by the beneficiary or third parties. If not a U.S. citizen, the team leader must have the ability to apply for a visa to enter the U.S.
Optionally, the participation of up to two additional natural persons who form part of the founding team and continue to be C-level business oriented decision makers for the company, and who are duly specified during the application process, may be considered and are welcomed to join the program if they require to do so. If the team members that plan to participate in person in Parallel18 are not U.S. citizens, they must have the ability to apply for a visa to enter the U.S. The visa application process should be started as soon as you submit your application to the program to prevent delays in your arrival to Puerto Rico.
Those activities that enable the launch and scaling of companies with high global growth potential that use Puerto Rico as a platform to grow. Projects may not consist of consulting services, non-profit organizations, traditional import/export companies, or lifestyle businesses, as these are not considered to be highly scalable projects or with high growth potential. Likewise, projects must be at least in a stage where the concept was validated, with a functional product, some initial commercial traction, with the company prepared to scale operations, and a full time team dedicated exclusively to the company that is able to execute, understanding these to be projects with less than three years.
The Program will include a variety of activities and/or events, which will be made available to participants of each project, and among which a distinction will be made between mandatory and optional activities.
During participation in the 5-month Program and during the term of execution of the project, the beneficiary must participate in the following mandatory activities:
The soft landing week is mandatory for the team leader only. Nevertheless, all of the approved team members are welcome to participate. The week’s activities include:
You will be required to meet with the Program staff to analyze weekly progress and strategic plans, in order to facilitate the accomplishment of the goals by providing access to the right resources.
Presentation of the update and progress of company to Program, who will use the information gathered from program staff and mentors to analyze in detail the progress of the company during the first 2.5 months ( first 10 weeks of the program). If the company does not meet Program’s standards of acceleration for progress compared with actual performance, the goals that they set at the beginning, or comply with required attendance, participation and engagement, the Program is entitled to put an early end to the project.
A week for engaging with invited investors, having investment evaluation 1:1 meetings, learning best practices about raising capital, and negotiating investment terms, among other fundraising activities.
Key public event to showcase accomplishments in the Program to local and foreign investors as well as the local business community. Participation in this event is pending approval from Program after successfully complying with Program requirements for the duration of the program as well as proven growth of traction during the Program.
Company must have complied with Program’s standards and participate in mandatory in-person pitch practices in order to participate in Demo Day.
Within the Program that are designated as mandatory, a circumstance that will be communicated in advance to the team leader, such as, but not limited to, P18Connect pitch practices before presenting to corporate partners.
It the beneficiary does not participate in the activities and/ or events specified herein without previous authorization to be excused, the Program may evaluate putting an early end to the Project, depending on the reasons.
Optionally, the team leader or team member may participate in and/or carry out the following activities, unless these have been categorized as mandatory, as set out in the previous subsection:
The Program duration is 20 weeks and will be understood to have begun on the date established by Parallel18 as orientation day. This date will be notified once the companies are selected.
The Puerto Rico Science Technology and Research Trust will provide a grant, in other words, a transfer of money to the company's local commercial bank account for 40 thousand dollars (USD) delivered in various sets throughout the program, subject to the participant’s compliance with the terms and conditions set forth herein. All disbursed and used funds need to be properly declared by showing corporate bank statements, and in certain cases an invoice of the service or product acquired, or a contract in the case of apartment rental or an individual hired or contracted, per the Program rules.
This program will be made available to interested parties in the form of an application.
Communication about the opening of a call for applications will be conducted by means of a notice published in the program’s website and social media platforms.
Companies, along with the requested technical and economic documentation, may be entered solely through the YouNoodle application which can be accessed on the parallel18 website (www.parallel18.com) or YouNoodle’s website.
The accompanying documents must be text documents, spreadsheets or other files compatible with the system (such as doc, xls, jpg, pdf).
Each applicant, even if not designated as team lead, may only apply once with one project per application period. Therefore, every team member must be working in only one project per cohort. If a team member is part of various applications for different projects, Program may consider the Project and/or applicant invalid.
There will be 3 Phases of the evaluation process:
The Program staff will initially review all applications to determine if they comply with the basic requirements for the program (i.e. traction, years of operation). Those that pass this Screening Round will advance to the Judging Round.
The Program will examine the extent of convergence of the project´s objective with the guidelines and objectives of the Program, verifying the consideration of Puerto Rico as a platform in order to access global markets, and the scalability of the project, among other factors. Likewise, compliance with the following requirements will be verified:
As a result of this analysis, Parallel18 will classify, on a justified basis, the relevance or irrelevance of the projects. If a declaration of "Not Relevant” is declared, the project will not continue in the evaluation process, with this decision communicated to the applicant within a period not exceeding 20 days, counted from the closing of the application period.
Program, with support from YouNoodle, will facilitate a panel of international experts to evaluate the applications, giving them a score of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the minimum score and 5 the maximum score) on the following evaluation criteria:
11.3 Product or Service (20%)
A critical aspect of evaluating the project is how differentiated and innovative their product or service is.
For this program we are seeking companies that have gained some level of initial traction, and that are ready to grow and scale with Parallel18.
All submissions should target a global market and also be clearly differentiated from competitors. Projects may be rejected if they are only considering one sole market.
The entrepreneurs and teams that we are seeking should be both accomplished and respected individuals along with having a strong and cohesive team.
We want to ensure that the startups in Parallel18 are impactful members of the Puerto Rican entrepreneurship ecosystem. This means that startups have a clear strategy around how they plan to take advantage of the unique opportunities and resources available in Puerto Rico and generate impact in the region. Cultural affinity and understanding of the Puerto Rican reality are critical to ensuring startups can sustain longer-term and meaningfully contribute to the local ecosystem.
During the evaluation period, an interview through videoconference, or in person if feasible, may be requested if needed to clarify questions from the evaluators.
A local selection committeecomposed of experienced members will make the decision to select up to 40 final companies for the Program.
Once the evaluation is concluded, the program will have 7 business days to inform the applicants about the final decision and extend an offer to join the Program.
Upon the company’s acceptance of the offer to join Program, which includes acknowledgement and full acceptance of Grant Agreement including its supporting documentsand program terms and conditions, the process of soft landing begins, which requires the execution of tasks by both the team leader of the company and by Program. This acceptance must be done *3* business days after the Project is informed of this acceptance.
By accepting participation in the Program, the Company hereby grants the Program an irrevocable option to invest in the Company. The option shall be exercisable upon each of the Company’s subsequent fundraising rounds at the discretion of the Program, based on Program’s availability of funds to invest and interest in investing in the Company. The investment mechanism, option price, and terms for investment in the Company shall be set on a matching basis with the investors of the specific fundraising round as of the date thereof.
After the execution of the contract between the U.S. entity and Parallel18, the total amount of the funds will be delivered in various sets throughout the program, the first set being at the beginning of the program for $20,000. The grant can only be deposited in a Puerto Rico based corporate bank account.
Of the total amount delivered, the company can spend, optional and if needed, up to $5,000 in indirect costs and miscellaneous expenses and up to $5,000 in housing expenses. The requirements of expenses are specified in section 15.4.
The conditions for Parallel18 to deliver the grant shall be as follows:
Parallel18 reserves the right to verify that the technical and legal information declared is valid and, in the event that any serious unconformity is found, in addition to suspending the delivery of the grant or early termination of the project, it will, if applicable, prosecute civil complaints or report criminal activities to authorities against the possible configuration of any actionable actions under Puerto Rico and federal law.
Continuity in the delivery of funds shall be subject to the evaluation made by Parallel18 of the project’s progress and to budgetary availability of funds.
Parallel18, at its sole discretion, may suspend delivery of funds and dismiss a company from the Program during the soft landing period or at the beginning of the program if the startup makes significant changes in the project, business model and/or founding team from those stated in the application, specifically if it fundamentally changes the company’s ability to scale and/or use Puerto Rico as a platform to grow, so that it is no longer aligned with Program’s acceleration experience.
Parallel18 may suspend payments temporarily or permanently if it finds that the project is not being carried out in a satisfactory manner or that the beneficiary has failed to fulfill his or her obligations in whole or in part. In these cases, Parallel18 shall impose the measures it deems appropriate to correct the deficiencies detected, or to terminate the project early.
Prior to finalizing the process of putting an early end to the project, Parallel18 may order the team to refrain from making further expenditures from the delivered grant. In this case, it may accept expenses associated with activities undertaken up to the date of communication of said order.
Parallel18 shall provide due notice to the project once suspension of payments and of expenses has been chosen as the course of action.
Costs associated with development of the project may be included in the following accounts:
Includes the salaries or fees of technical and/or professional personnel directly associated with project activities who are legally authorized to work in the United States of America, including the entrepreneurial salary that participants may receive in accordance with what is specified in the legislation in force.
Direct spending associated with project execution, such as: administrative support staff, material office lease costs, national and international fares, medical insurance for participants, issuance of guarantees, product development, visits to potential clients and / or providers, activities relating to the promotion and publicizing of the product / service, processing of visas for participants, and internet services.
Refers to the purchase of durable goods (property, plant and equipment assets) necessary for the strategic implementation and achievement of the expected results of the project after a written notice has been given to Program and formerly approved.
With the funds provided by Parallel18 for the project, the following items are not eligible for financing:
For purposes of account reporting, a pecuniary or cash contribution will be defined as the expenditure of funds due to project execution. In other words, the use of pre-existing facilities, infrastructure, or human resources of the contributor does not correspond to this concept.
Expenditures charged to Parallel18’s grant must be reported based on actual costs, at the price actually paid, duly supported with reliable documents that verify the amount in USA (United States of America) currency at the time of the expense.
Notwithstanding the latter, Parallel18 will verify that the amount claimed as a contribution to the project is consistent with the objectives and activities reported.
Expenses incurred in the name of the beneficiary and executors (other participants) that are designated in the application will be accepted. Costs of a Limited Liability Company or a Corporation whose owner is the beneficiary, or of a company in which the beneficiary has a shareholding of at least 30% (thirty percent), will be accepted, as long as said company:
These circumstances will be verified by Parallel18, for which purpose the beneficiary must submit, within 10 days prior to the first expenditure expected to be paid by the company or partnership, the following documents:
Expenses incurred in the execution of the project from the date of communication of the approval decision may be accepted, as applicable, at the risk of the beneficiary. Therefore, the lack of formalization of the Grant Agreement will not result in either compensation or reimbursement.
Parallel18 holds the authority to track the activities of the beneficiary, of the other participants and of third parties hired, without any prior notice. To this end, in the case of hiring activities with third parties, the power of monitoring and control shall be recorded in the contracts entered into by the beneficiary with such entities, with the beneficiary being responsible for breach of its obligations in the event of omission, and if difficulties arise from it for conducting the monitoring duties detailed above. Nevertheless, Parallel18 does not assume co-management or co-execution of the project, with project execution remaining the sole responsibility of the beneficiary.
The beneficiary must comply with the calendar of monitoring meetings provided by his or her startup executive, and with the delivery of reports in accordance with Program requirements. These reports shall contain at least the identification of the activities implemented and results obtained.
As per the Grant Agreement, the beneficiary is responsible for the delivery of a final use of funds and expenses report made within 2 weeks after the expiration date of the term for project execution. This term may be extended at the request of the beneficiary and subject to the approval of Parallel18.
Notwithstanding the latter and in accordance with the nature of the project, the Grant Agreement may provide for the delivery of progress reports, the number and timing of which will be determined by Parallel18 taking into account the characteristics of the project, the activities of the latter, the results and Parallel18’s own budget availability.
The number and timing of progress reports may be modified by Parallel18, upon a founded request by the beneficiary, or of its own accord, before the deadline has passed for said delivery.
Parallel18 may request extraordinary progress reports for the periods determined in light of monitoring of project activities, with no amendment of the Grant Agreement being necessary in this case.
Parallel18 shall approve or provide comments to the progress reports and extraordinary reports within a term of 14 days after material reception of these, or from the date of the on-site review, as applicable.
In response to a request by Parallel18 for documentation, modification or supplementation of reports, the Beneficiary must comply with such a request within the 3 days of the request.
Reports that do not contain all the information requested or do not attach all supporting records that are required for both technical and financial analysis, or that do not attach a legible copy of these, shall be construed as not filed. Parallel18 shall notify the beneficiary within a period of 5 days from receipt of the report, establishing a term not exceeding 5 days from receipt of the notification to complete the submission of the report.
Without prejudice to the other grounds for early termination set forth in these requirements, Parallel18 may adopt such a decision in the following cases, applying the sanctions detailed below:
Parallel18 may impose an early end to the project on its own initiative or at the request of the team leader in the following situations:
If requested by the beneficiary and accepted by Parallel18, it shall be understood that the project has been finished early, from the date of the request.
The beneficiary must deliver a final use of funds report, within a reasonable period to be set out in the notification of early termination, which shall not exceed 30 days from the complete processing of the same. The beneficiary shall return the balance from the grant that has not been justified as actual and eligible company expenses, and shall renounce to all balances that have not been paid by Program.
Parallel18 may put an early end to the project if the beneficiary fails to comply through negligence or lacks due diligence of his or her obligations. The following situations may constitute breach of the contract:
In this case, the recipient must repay the entire grant received, expressed in on the date for which Parallel18 informed the early termination of the project through a written notice. The refund will be made within FIFTEEN (15) days of the notice of early termination to the beneficiary. Parallel18 shall make effective the guarantee deposit constituted only if the beneficiary does not make restitution within the agreed-upon deadline.
The participants warrant and represent to Parallel18 as follows:
The participants shall be considered as having the legal status of an independent partner vis-à-vis Parallel18, and nothing contained in or relating to their grant shall be construed as establishing or creating an employer/employee relationship with Parallel18.
Parallel18 shall not be responsible for any loss, accident, damage or injury suffered by the participants, arising during or as a result of the grant, including travel, whether sustained on Parallel18’s premises or not.
The waiver by either Parallel18 or any participant of any provision or breach of these terms and conditions and, if selected, contract shall not prevent subsequent enforcement of such provision or excuse further breaches.
The participants hereby indemnify and hold the Puerto Rico Science Technology and Research Trust harmless from and against the full amount of any and all claims and liabilities, including legal fees and costs, which are or may be made, filed or assessed against Parallel18 at any time and based on, or arising out of, breach by the participants of any of its representations or warranties under these terms and conditions and, if selected, contract, regardless of whether such representations and warranties are explicitly incorporated here in or are referred to in any attached Appendices.
The participants shall not assign, transfer, pledge or make any other disposition of the Contract or any part thereof, or any of their rights, claims or obligations under the Contract except with the prior written consent of Parallel18.
Questions may be addressed in English or Spanish to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.