Puerto Rico Science Trust and Parallel18 Ventures Coinvest in Startups Quiena and Abartys Health

By May 14, 2018

Puerto Rico’s Science, Technology and Research Trust (PRSTRT) is set to invest US$225,000 through the follow-up fund Parallel18 Ventures to go towards insuretech startup, Abartys Health, and fintech startup, Quiena. The investment will be in exchange for stocks or convertible notes, as a match to private capital raised by the companies. The fund, which is called Accelerator Parallel18 (P18), is a program of the PRSTRT, and is awarded to startups that have been part of P18’s cohorts.

Abartys Health, is an insurance technology company based in Puerto Rico that was part of the accelerator’s second generation. The two-year-old startup, founded by Dolmarie Mendez and Lauren Cascio, has created a system that allows seamless data flow and communication between insurers, doctors, and patients. The company is working to reduce the US$750 billion annual loss in the US healthcare market.

Dolmarie Mendez, CEO of Abartys Health (first one standing from the right), and Lauren Cascio, COO of Abartys Health (first one standing from the left), and the company’s team of developers.

The company is positioned to be a major player in the insurance technology revolution and provides services to global health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and large employers. Abartys raised $1.45 million from Parallel18 Ventures, Parliament Capital, a Puerto Rico-based private equity fund manager, as well as individual investors.

“Abartys Health is creating products that the insurance industry is asking for, and we’re aligned to what they’ll need for the next 15 to 20 years. With this transaction, we have obtained the capital necessary to accelerate our expansion plans throughout the US and Latin America,” said Cascio, COO of Abartys Health.

Ever since they entered the market two years ago, Abartys has developed InsureLynk for insurance companies, ProviderLynk for healthcare providers, and PatientLynk for patients. Abartys Health’s founders are also very active in the technology community in Puerto Rico, and have been hiring local talent and mentoring young entrepreneurs.

Quiena is founded by Nicolas Galarza in Argentina and is part of P18’s third generation. It has built an automated investment advisory system that allows small and medium investors around the world to create and manage an online personalized portfolio.

Nicolas Galarza, CEO of Quiena.

The company’s technology analyzes fifty years of stock market history in seconds. It not only generates an investment plan that fits a client’s risk profile and personal goals perfectly but also manages the account 24/7. Quiena recently closed a US$750,0000 round, to accelerate the growth of their automated management model in Latin America, an industry that already amounts to $1.5 trillion in global investments in spite of entering the region only recently. The round was led by ItalBank International and Alaya Capital Partners, and besides Parallel18 Ventures, included funds such as Incutex and La Turbina Ventures.

“We are committed to helping people have access to the  best investment options available in the international financial market in a way that is simple yet effective to make their savings grow. We are proud of the confidence the new investors have put in us, and that will put us on track to introduce new products for our clients,” said Galarza, Quiena’s CEO.

Parallel18 Ventures is a follow-up fund designed to co-invest in promising startups that complete the acceleration program. With the program, PRSTRT matches private capital raised by the entrepreneurs in exchange for stocks or convertible notes. As a condition to receive the funds, each startup is required to keep operations in Puerto Rico and hire, at least, three full-time employees in the island in the next two years.

“It’s exciting to see the progress these startups make as they go through the accelerator, and then have the opportunity to partner with other investors to support their future growth,” said Lucy Crespo, the CEO of PRSTRT.

Crespo also mentioned that the PRSTRT plans to keep its stocks in the startups for a limited time. “Parallel18 Ventures’ target is to achieve liquidity so that the funds can then be reinvested into other Parallel18 Ventures startups to sustain the program,” said the CEO.

Sebastian Vidal, Executive Director for the accelerator, explained that Parallel18 Ventures was created to address four main objectives, foster retention of the entrepreneurial talent attracted and developed by Parallel18; incentivize the investment of local capital in startups; educate the local community about best practices related to investment in high-impact startups; and generate direct and measurable economic impact by enabling the hiring of talent in Puerto Rico.

“With our third round we’re seeing a maturity in Puerto Rico’s community of high-impact investors,” Vidal pointed out.

Parallel18 is a startup accelerator in Puerto Rico that helps build and scale local and international companies, while also spurring innovation and economic development on the island. Parallel18 is an economic development initiative operated by PRSTRT in collaboration with Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce, and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (Pridco). For more information, visit their website.

Other companies that Parallel18 Ventures has supported include Burea, Cinemad, Be Better Hotels, Brands Of, and Timokids.

Lucas Arzola, Director of Operations of Parallel18, added, “We are proud to see these companies’ continuous growth and commitment with the startup ecosystem in Puerto Rico and Latin America. We feel confident that these founders and teams have the necessary skills to progress their companies into world-class platforms.”

PRSTRT is a private nonprofit organization created in 2004 to maximize Puerto Rico’s participation and creation of jobs in the global knowledge economy by promoting the investment and financing research and development in science and technology. By investing in research and the commercialization of technology, the Trust serves as a catalyst for creating and retaining the island’s highly-qualified, well-educated, and bilingual residents. The Trust is also responsible for Puerto Rico’s public policy for science, technology, research and development.

For more information, visit their PR Science Trust’s website here.