Parallel18 is an economic development initiative that aims to attract and create high-impact startups that can scale from Puerto Rico to global communities beyond the island, including Mainland U.S., Latin America and Europe (hereinafter, also referred to as the “Program”). The Program’s mission is to expand the horizons of Puerto Rican entrepreneurs in the short term and create economic development in the long term. Parallel18 harnesses the uniqueness of Puerto Rico, including: a multicultural society and a connected diaspora throughout the world; convenient geographic location; lower cost of living and resources; and competitive taxation under US laws. All of these elements, combined with additional business incentives, have attracted well-connected and experienced business people to live on and work from the island.
2. Main Goal
The purpose of the Program is to attract, create and retain global impact business that can scale from the island of Puerto Rico, creating a positive cultural entrepreneurial environment that fosters global minded companies, as well as economical impact through the creation of sustainable companies in the long term.
1. Specific Goals
Sustain the program over a long period of time by remaining politically agnostic and showcasing the value that the program brings to the Island.
Ensure buy-in from both the private sector and in all areas of the government by showcasing success and furthering economic development.
Encourage local and global angle, VC and private equity funds to invest in the best and brightest startups emerging from the island.
Help fix some of the challenges that the Puerto Rican economy is currently faced with.
Develop a creative and innovative vibe within the community that moves beyond technology and touches the arts, culture, food and wine, tourism and
other lifestyle interests.
Further the growth of the local service economy.
Position Puerto Rico on the map as an active member in the global startup ecosystem and as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship.
3. Expected Results
Companies with high global potential developed and scaling from Puerto Rico.
Partner directly with local organizations to help integrate the program and its participants into the local business and startup ecosystem.
Increase the retention efforts of local university students by presenting them with opportunities to intern and work for the new companies created
through the program.
Increase the repatriation efforts of the Puerto Rican diaspora by promoting opportunities for employment with the new companies created through the
Create positive global visibility by positioning Puerto Rico in the global media as a new innovation hub.
Work toward inclusion in Global Innovation indexes.
Startups that apply must be incorporated in Puerto Rico or the United States. In the case that your company is not incorporated in any of these locations, the Program will support you in this process upon starting the Program. 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 persons. 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:
1. Entity (only one)
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 the United States or Puerto Rico as a Corp. or LLC company. In the case that the company does not have this legal structure, Parallel18 will assist you to create one during the beginning of the program.
2. Team Leader (only one)
The beneficiary is a natural person, duly specified during the application form, 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 should have the ability to apply for a visa to enter the U.S.
3. Team Member (max two)
Optionally, the participation of up to two natural persons who form part of the founding team 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 not U.S. citizens and team members plan to visit Parallel18, they should have the ability to apply for a visa to enter the U.S.
5. Activities eligible for financing
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 traditional 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 and the company is prepared to scale operations, understanding these to be projects with less than three years.
6. Program activities
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.
1. Mandatory 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:
A. Soft Landing week.
The soft landing week is mandatory for the team leader only, nevertheless each of the team members are welcomed to participate. The week activities include:
- Program orientation days
- Peer presentation of the company
- Settling your company with local service providers in case you need it (Banks, Company incorporation, Mobile contract, etc)
- Initial assessment meeting: explanation of Program rules and establishment of clear milestones and KPIs of what the company aims to achieve for the next 2.5 months and 5 months.
B. Weekly follow up meeting.
You will be required to meet with mentors and people from the staff to analyze weekly progress and strategic plans, in order to facilitate the accomplishments of the goals by providing access to the right resources
C. Mid term evaluation.
Presentation of the company to a Program evaluators who will use the information gathered by mentors and program staff to analyze in detail the progress of the company during the first 2.5 months. If the company does not meet the standards of the progress compared with its performance, the goals that they set at the beginning, or comply with required participation and engagement, the Program is entitled to put an early end to the project.
D. Investment Immersion.
A week for meeting investors, learning how to raise capital and, negotiate investment terms, among other fundraising topics.
E. Demo Day.
Key public event to showcase accomplishments in the Program to local and foreign investors as well as the local business community.
E. Other activities
Within the Parallel18 Program that are determined by the program to be mandatory, a circumstance that will be communicated with advanced notice to the team
It the beneficiary does not participate in the activities and/ or events specified herein without previous authorization not to (excused), the Program may evaluate putting an early end to the Project, depending on the reasons.
2. Optional Activities
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:
Presentations,workshops, classes or other events organized by other program participants.
Other activities related to the project and/or program that were not described as mandatory.
7. Contents of the project
7.1 The applications must contain at least the following:
Background documentation for each of the team members named in the project application, stating each person’s nationality, education, technical experience
and work history. The achievements of each one of the participants must be evidenced.
Legal entity documentation: if you applied to the program with a company that is already been created you will be required to submit documentation in case
you are selected.
The following identification documentation will be required for selected companies and members:
Puerto Rican participants
Official photocopy of national identification card, on both sides, and/or a simple photocopy of the page indicating the name, identification number and
dates of granting and expiration of the ID. In both cases documents must be valid.
Official photocopies of the page indicating the name, identification number and dates of granting and expiration of the passport. In the case where these documents listed above are in the process of validation, a copy of the document that proves this condition must be attached.
Dedication to the project from the participants.
Description of leadership history of who applies as a beneficiary.
The product and/or service to develop and/or commercialize.
Description of the competition and the project’s differentiation.
Stage or phase in which the project is at the moment of application.
Explain the reason why you think Puerto Rico would help accomplish the milestones that you are aiming to achieve.
7.2. Additionally, the applications may contain the following:
a. Concerning the participants:
- Motivation to develop the project from Puerto Rico.
- Participation in organizations related to entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Relationship with international networks to position Puerto Rico as an innovation hub.
- Activities to promote interaction, networking and the transfer of knowledge skills and best practices to local entrepreneurs and their environment.
b. Concerning the project:
- Commercialization and scalability strategy.
- Entry and exit barriers.
- Progress to date and plan during participants’ stay in Puerto Rico.
- Market challenge or opportunity addressed by the Project.
- Target market and its size.
- Market position.
Incomplete applications will be deemed not submitted.
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.
9. The funds
The Puerto Rico Science Technology and Research Trust will provide a grant, in other words, a transfer of money to the company's bank account for 40 thousand dollars delivered in two sets of 20 thousand each, 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 hiring per the Program rules.
10. Evaluation criteria
The Parallel18 team, along with the YouNoodle team, will review all applications to determine if they are a good fit for the program. Those that pass this screening round will advance to Judging.
10.1 Judging Round:
We 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:
10.2 Product or Service (25%)
A critical aspect of evaluating the project is how differentiated and innovative their product or service is.
How creative, interesting and engaging do you find their pitch?
Is the business opportunity unique and innovative? Is it tackling a real need?
What’s new/revolutionary about what they are doing? How will they add value?
What is their competitive advantage?
Is the product and technology presented feasible?
10.3 Market and Competitive Positioning (25%)
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.
Is this startup’s market share likely to be large? Can this venture achieve a leadership position in its market?
Does the team have a realistic plan on who the first customer(s) will be?
Does this team understand who the present and future competitors are?
Has the team articulated a clear competitive advantage – exclusive intellectual property, first mover advantage, network effect, etc.?
Would their customers choose to work with them rather than with their competitors?
10.4 Traction (15%)
For this program we are seeking companies that have gained some level of initial traction, and they are hoping to grow and scale with Parallel18.
Has this startup built and tested an MVP?
Do they demonstrate some initial traction in the market?
Do they have an initial user base and show an understanding of their target market based on this initial traction?
10.5 Team Mix, Qualification & Experience (25%)
The entrepreneurs and teams that we are seeking should be both accomplished and respected individuals along with having a strong and cohesive team.
Do they have valuable and transferable skills? Notable life experiences? Impressive accomplishments?
What is the quality of the recommendation? And does it come from a person who is familiar with the entrepreneur’s educational background or business model?
How coherent is the team? Do they demonstrate complementary skill sets and dedication to each other and the project?
Is this the right team for this project?
10.6 Dedication and Focus (10%)
We need to make sure that this team is dedicated to their business and not using this simply as an opportunity to travel. While at the same time, we want to make sure that this team is going to be an impactful member of this nascent startup community in Puerto Rico.
Do they demonstrate dedication, focus and resilience?
Is this team in it just for the money and beach or do they demonstrate a genuine interest in becoming part of an active Puerto Rican entrepreneurship scene?
Will this team take advantage of the opportunity of the Puerto Rican economy and location as a jumping off point to scale globally?
Will this team be an active and valuable member of the Puerto Rican startup ecosystem, donating their skills and startup spirit productively?
11. Analysis of pertinence or relevance
The Entrepreneurship Management 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:
The team leader degree of residency in Puerto Rico during the entire execution period of the Project and exclusive dedication to said project, being this a
legal entity in the US.
That the projects do not consist of consulting firms and export and import companies.
Development of the project of less than three years.
The application containing the identification documentation for participants.
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.
This program will be made available to interested parties in the form of application to a competition.
Communication about the opening of a call for applications will be conducted by means of a notice published in the program's website and the Puerto Rico
Science Technology and Research Trust website.
12.2 Means of application.
Companies, along with the requested technical and economic documentation, may be entered solely through the electronic platform entry system available on
the website www.parallel18.com
The accompanying documents must be text documents, spreadsheets or other files compatible with the system (such as doc, xls, jpg, pdf).
12.3 Limit of applications.
Each applicant may only apply once with one project per application period. Moreover, applicants may only apply twice with one project to Parallel18,
considering the aforementioned limitation.
13. Evaluation process
There will be 2-3 Phases of the Evaluation Process:
13.1 Screening Round:
The Parallel18 team, along with the YouNoodle team, will review all applications to determine if they are a good fit for the program, as defined in
Section 5 above. Those that pass this screening round will advance to Judging.
13.2 Judging Round:
We will facilitate a panel of international experts to evaluate the applications, giving them a score from 1 to 5 (with 1 being the minimum score and 5 the
maximum score) on the following evaluation criteria: and the evaluation criteria is as follows:
Product or Service (25%)
Market and Competitive Positioning (25%)
Team Mix, Qualification & Experience (25%)
Focus and Impact (10%)
(For more detailed description of Criteria, see Section 10)
13.4 Interview Round:
During the evaluation period, an interview through video conference may be requested to applicants.
13.4 Final Selection
A local board composed of 10 members will make the decision of the final 40 companies selected.
Once the evaluation is concluded, the program will have 48 hours to inform the applicants about the final decision.
15. Company approval
Upon approval of the company, the process of soft landing begins, which requires the execution of tasks by both the team leader and Parallel18.
16. Delivery of grant
16.1 Mode of Delivery
After the execution of the contract between the U.S. entity and Parallel18, the total amount of the funds will be delivered in two sets of 20 thousand dollars each, one set in the beginning of the program and the second set after the participant has successfully complied with the required criteria for the midpoint evaluation of the program. The grant can only be deposited in a Puerto Rico based corporate bank account, which is required to be opened by the company at the beginning of the Program.
Of the total amount delivered, the company can spend 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 number 16.5. Accounts eligible for financing.
16.2 Conditions for delivery of the grant.
The conditions for Parallel18 to deliver the grant shall be as follows:
Sign the Parallel18 resolution that approves the grant agreement.
Delivery of the original documentation that declares his legal status as an individual and as a company.
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.
16.4 Suspension of payments and of expenses
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 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 the total processing of the resolution putting an early end to the project, Parallel18 may order the team leader 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
Parallel18 shall provide due notice to the project once suspension of payments and of expenses has been chosen as the course of action.
16.5 Accounts Eligible for Financing
Costs associated with development of the project may be included in the following accounts:
a. Human Resources:
Includes the salaries or fees of technical and/or professional personnel directly associated with project activities, including the entrepreneurial salary
that participants may receive in accordance with what is specified in the legislation in force.
b. Operating Expenses:
This refers to 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.
c. Investment Expenses:
Refers to the purchase of durable goods (property, plant and equipment assets) necessary for the implementation and achievement of the expected results of
The following expenses are not eligible:
The following expenses are not eligible: airfares for persons not involved in the project, alcohol, leisure activity expenses or anything else that is not directly related to the Project.
16.6 Project Expenses
With the funds provided by Parallel18 for the project, the following items are not eligible for financing:
Investments in Capital Markets, such as buying shares, time deposits in domestic or foreign currency, mutual funds, debts (principal plus interest) or
Taxes recoverable by the beneficiary, taking into account its legal status and applicable tax rules.
Acquisition of properties.
Airfares for persons not involved in the project.
Alcohol purchases, leisure activity expenses or anything else that is not directly related to the Program.
16.7 Account Reporting
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, human resources, etc. of the contributor do not correspond to this concept.
Expenditures charged to Parallel18 must be reported based on actual costs, at the price actually paid, duly supported with reliable documents that verify
Notwithstanding the latter, Parallel18 will verify that the amount claimed as a contribution to the project is consistent with the objectives and
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 whose owner is the beneficiary, or of a company in which the beneficiary has a shareholding of at least 30% (thirty percent), will also be accepted, as long as said company:
Is legally incorporated in Puerto Rico, and
Does not present initiation of activities related to the project for a period exceeding 5 months prior to the date of application to the
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:
Simple photocopy of the articles of incorporation and amendments thereto.
Certificate of good standing issued by the competent authority, which must be no more than 90 days old on the date of filing.
16.8 Prepaid Expenses
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.
16.9 Monitoring and Reporting
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 technical executive, and with the delivery of reports
(progress and/or final reports) in accordance with the schedule established in the respective grant agreement. These reports shall contain at least the
identification of the activities implemented and results obtained.
The grant agreement will consider at least the delivery of a final report of activities and expense reports made within 2 weeks after the
expiration date of the term for project execution.
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 and/or final 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, extraordinary reports and final reports within a term of 10 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 following.
Parallel18 will require changes in the expiration date of the guarantee, if applicable, if the beneficiary submits the report outside the deadline.
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 submit the report in order.
17. Early termination
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:
17.1 Early termination of the project for reasons not attributable to the beneficiary
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:
Failure to achieve critical results or continuity milestones established by Parallel18 and/or the beneficiary, for reasons not attributable to the lack of diligence of the beneficiary, duly qualified by Parallel18.
Having become convinced that the project will not achieve the expected results, that it cannot be executed within reasonable parameters, for reasons not attributable to the lack of diligence of the beneficiary, duly qualified by Parallel18.
Other causes not attributable to the team leader’s lack of diligence in carrying out the activities related to the project and/or to the team leaders participation in the Program, duly qualified by Parallel18.
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 Report of closure, within a reasonable period to be set out in the Resolution 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 paid.
17.2 Early termination of the project by deed or act attributable to the beneficiary
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:
Denial or hindrance of project monitoring.
Negligence in performing financial and technical control activities
Failure to notify Parallel18 in a timely manner about the impossibility of paying the contributions for which they and/ or the other participants are responsible.
- Serious discrepancy between the declared technical and / or legal information and real information.
- Non-compliance with critical results or continuity milestones established in the project, for reasons attributable to the lack of diligence by the beneficiary, duly qualified by the Parallel18.
- Having become convinced that the project will not achieve the expected results, that it cannot be executed within reasonable parameters, or that the beneficiary will not be able to pay the contribution that is his or her responsibility, for reasons attributable to a lack of diligence by the beneficiary, duly qualified by Parallel18.
In the reports of financial accountability:
Duplication in the reporting of proof of expenditures.
Simulation of acts or contracts.
- Valuation of costs above the market value.
- False or altered accounting documents (such as invoices, bills, credit or debit notes)
- Other reasons attributable to the beneficiary's lack of diligence in carrying out their activities related to the project and/ or to the beneficiary’s participation in the Program, duly qualified by Parallel18.
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 not violate any intellectual property rights, confidentiality, right of privacy or other right of any person or entity
The participants represent that the information provided by them to Parallel18 during the application and contracting phases is accurate and complete.
Each participant understands that in the event he or she has failed to disclose any relevant information which may have impacted Parallel18’s decision
to select and award the grant Contract to their project, or has provided false information, Parallel18 will be entitled to rescind the contract with
immediate effect, in addition to any other remedies which Parallel18 and the Puerto Rico Science Technology and Research Trust may have by contract or
19. Legal status
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.
20. No waiver
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 Parallel18 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.
23. Question or consultations
Questions may be addressed in English or Spanish to the following e-mail address: email@example.com