Puerto Rico: The Hidden Gem For Startups

Discover why this U.S. Territory is the Tropical Silicon Valley

Photo: Santurce from Above by ethorson on Flickr

Puerto Rico (Spanish for “Rich Port”) is the safest place for American citizens to dwell outside the U.S. This Island offers ridiculous bennefits for the American people. This is not a surprise since the people in Puerto Rico are also American citizens under the same American government, using the same American currency and same American postal service. The Puerto Rico Constitution is bound to adhere to the postulates of the U.S. Constitution.

If you visit Puerto Rico you can freely speak English to communicate, so language is not a barrier in Puerto Rico to make new friends and to do business relationships.

The startup community of the Island is growing fast. You can find hundreds of Millennials and Post-millennials actively involved in arts, finance, marketing and technology. The Puerto Rico startup community can be easily found in events and coworking spaces like Piloto 151 in Santurce and Engine-4 in Bayamon, being Santurce the artistic and entrepreneurial district of San Juan, a magical place.

Why this U.S. Territory is a blank slate for startups?

The Santurce Bay Area is an extremely beautiful place, home of world-class coffee shops, shopping, dining, vivid nightlife, hotels and for the biggest startup accelerator in the Island, Prallel 18 who (at the time I write this article) gives $40k and a five months acceleration program to selected startups without asking for equity. They also give you the opportunity of pitching your company to local and U.S. investors in a Demo Day.

Starters receive a lot of financial assistance from the government.

Photo: Miramar @ 7:17 p.m. by Angel Xavier Viera-Vargas on Flickr

A brilliant dark side

The media says Puerto Rico is in a very bad economic situation, but I’ve been living in Puerto Rico for 14 years now and never felt the so-called “historic economic crisis”. To be clear, I am not rich — at least not at the time of writing this article. It seems like a sociological agreement to me. It is true that the costs are similar to being in one of the big U.S. cities, but what you really get in here is a Tropical Silicon Valley, a steal.

This fictional “economic crisis” is leading people to leave the Island and relocate in another state of the U.S. mainland. The result = a blank slate for business. I’ve seen many big American stores closing its doors but local small businesses expanding, some of them even expanding to the states like Meson Sandwiches and Fun & Yummy Shop.

Hundred of thousands of professionals are leaving Puerto Rico in exchange for a lower sales tax. Most of them, Baby boomers and Gen X’s who want to live the middle-class dream. However, big American entrepreneurs are acquiring real estate or relocating business operations to the Island — because of many reasons I will be writing about in a future article.

Conclusion

If you have an idea💡and a minimum viable product generating some revenue, before applying to a big accelerator like Y Combinator or Techstars, you must come to Puerto Rico for a few months. Is a ridiculous good place for startups. We are giving away money, acceleration, business relations and the Tropical Silicon Valley experience.

Don’t tell anyone 🤐 the ones who left the Island might come back and take it.

Take a tour in Google Street View of:

Uber is available in Puerto Rico


Emanuel Rolon

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