Grupo Guayacán

PRESS RELEASE: Grupo Guayacán and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust Kick Off I-Corps Puerto Rico’s Four Cohort


For Publication: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Contact: Keila López
Telephone: 787-641-6028

Grupo Guayacán and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust
Kick Off I-Corps Puerto Rico’s Four Cohort

San Juan – With 15 participating teams of innovators and entrepreneurs, Grupo Guayacán (GGI) and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust (PRSTRT) launched the fourth edition of I-Corps Puerto Rico at PRSTRT’s headquarters this weekend. The program is delivered through a partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT), whose VentureLab manages the regional node for Innovation Corps, offered by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
I-Corps Puerto Rico is an intensive program for innovative entrepreneurs seeking to validate their ideas in order to build and develop scalable business models. The program supports early stage teams through the Customer Discovery process, helping them better understand the market they aim to serve. This weekend’s 3-day kick off will be followed by 2 weekly workshops and a 2-day conclusion workshop where each team presents the findings from the Customer Discovery process.
Since 2015, I-Corps Puerto Rico has graduated 42 teams of university and community based ventures. Collectively, I-Corps graduates have raised over $1.8M in funding through competitive grants, loans, and investment. “After three successful I-Corps cohorts, we’ve been able to witness first-hand the power of Customer Discovery. We’re very proud of the progress of I-Corps graduates thus far and are excited to support the development of this new class of high-impact entrepreneurs. We are also proud of the strong multi-sector partnership that has enabled the program to continue and thrive,” said Laura Cantero, GGI’s Executive Director.

“This program is aligned with the strategic values of the Trust and its initiatives and served as the basis for other integrated programs such as Parallel 18 and the SBIR-STTR Matching Funds Program. The program’s success so far has proven the importance of Customer Discovery in order to develop highly innovative, scalable ventures”, said Lucy Crespo, CEO of the Trust. In addition to fully sponsoring I-Corps cohorts, the Trust has become an important partner of program graduates, supporting them with over $400,000 in grants to further their research and commercialization process.

Out of the 15 teams participating in this fourth cohort, 11 are university-based, representing the University of Puerto Rico’s (UPR) Río Piedras, Mayagüez and Medical Sciences campuses, as well as Turabo, and Interamerican Universities. The top industries in the cohort include: Biotechnology, Technology, and Agribusiness. “We’re very excited with the opportunity to participate in I-Corps Puerto Rico. We look forward to validating our Business idea, as well as to start developing a scalable business model. In my experience as an entrepreneur, a thorough Customer Discovery process can help save significant time, resources, and money”, said Alberto Lugo, President of INVID, 2011 Guayacán Venture Accelerator alumni, and mentor to one of the participating teams.

I-Corps graduates have demonstrated great commitment to the commercialization process, over 85% continue to develop their projects after the program. Two graduates, Ask Me Now and Cutting Edge Plastics, from Cohorts II and III, respectively, have participated in the NSF’s National Innovation Corps program, receiving $50,000 in grant funding to further their ventures. IBS Caribe, a UPR Mayagüez -based team graduated from Cohort III, recently received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of $225,000 to invest in their project. Another 8 teams are in the process of applying for SBIR funding.

Additionally, graduates from I-Corps’ first three cohorts were eligible to participate in the High Potential Support Initiative (HPSI), a program to provide ongoing support for promising I-Corps teams. Today, the HPSI group includes 16 teams that have raised over $800,000 in capital and 25% are currently generating revenue. Over half of the group is in the process of prototyping their product or services. One distinguished team from this group is Agro Tropical, a participant from I-Corps Cohort I, that was the grand winner of GGI’s EnterPRize Business Competition, receiving $30,000 in equity-free seed capital and went on to participate in SPRINGBOARD, a program to help entrepreneurs scale successful investable ventures.

The local teaching team will be led by Keith McGreggor, VentureLab Director, entrepreneur, and veteran NSF I-Corps instructor. “The VentureLab team is proud to continue its collaboration with Grupo Guayacán and we’re looking forward to meet this new class of entrepreneurs. We’re particularly excited to see a strong representation of university-based projects. I-Corps will teach them that Customer Discovery is an invaluable first step towards taking their innovations from the lab to the market,” said McGreggor.

I-Corps Puerto Rico Cohort IV will conclude on Sunday, November 20th. For more information about I-Corps Puerto Rico or Guayacán programs, please contact Keila López at 787-641-6028 or


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