The new group brings together NYC entrepreneurs and enthusiasts of startups of Puerto Rico
August 15, 2013, New York, NY – A new group to bring together entrepreneurs and enthusiasts of startups of Puerto Rico has launched in New York City. The group’s first meeting was held in Manhattan on Thursday, August 15, 2013 and included the participation of 18 technology and design entrepreneurs, academics, service providers, and startup enthusiasts.
Carmen Bonilla, founder of the New York City-based group, explained the motivation behind the initiative: to strengthen ties between the Puerto Rican startup community on the island and the startup community in New York City in order to promote Puerto Rico as a technology hub. “Since the New York area continues to lead in terms of the number of Puerto Ricans in the US, it is natural that we create a chapter in NYC”, said Bonilla.
She explained that a new startup community has flourished in recent years in Puerto Rico, partly in response to the island’s economic difficulties. The startup community there, which has adopted the name of “Startups of Puerto Rico”, recently stated goals of promoting the establishment of 50 startups over the next 5 years, which generate at least $1 million dollars of annual revenue. The group in NYC would support those goals.
Marcos Polanco, guest speaker at the event and himself a technology entrepreneur based in Puerto Rico, provided further background about the recent history of entrepreneurship in the island. He indicated that the first handful of technology startups first sprung up on the island during Internet 1.0, including www.altamente.com (2000), www.alchavo.com (1998) and www.vervenetwork.com (1999). Collaborating with Ramphis Castro, another local technology entrepreneur, Polanco started bringing entrepreneurship educational programs, such as Startup Lessons Learned conference (since renamed Lean Startup Conference), This Week in Startups, and Barcamp to the island in 2010, engaging speakers and mentors from Silicon Valley.
Since then, other local entrepreneurs have joined Polanco and Castro in organizing events and the startup community on the island has benefitted from participating in pitch workshops, Startup Weekends, TEDx, Hackathons, NEXT, and Founder Institute programs. A Startup Weekend to be held this fall will feature a CoFoundersLab as well. The educational and training programs have supported the latest crop of startups, which include www.getblimp.com and www.kytelabs.com, among others.
Fans & Friends of Startups of Puerto Rico will provide programs and networking to its members and aim to grow the pipeline of aspiring entrepreneurs and the number of startups both in Puerto Rico and in NYC. The group seeks to share resources between the two locations and to ultimately promote Puerto Rico as a technology hub. The group is open to all interested in startups of Puerto Rico, located on the island and/or in NYC. You can join for free at http://www.meetup.com/Startups-of-Puerto-Rico/
Carmen L Bonilla