Published originally by Caribbean Business

With the goal of continuing to promote the development of the early-stage financing ecosystem in Puerto Rico, Piloto Labs, Founder’s Institute of Puerto Rico and Grupo Guayacán are launching the second edition of the Startup Investment Forum this evening.

“Last year, we decided to launch this forum to celebrate the first investment in a local startup made by Ausubo Ventures, the first formal angel investment group on the island. This year, we continue to celebrate the development of the venture capital ecosystem in Puerto Rico, welcoming new players to continue contributing so that in the near future we can expect to have more investor-ready startups,” said Sofía Stolberg, founder of Piloto 151, Piloto Labs and co-director of Founder’s Institute Puerto Rico.

The forum, open to the public and free-of-charge, seeks to inform on the state of the venture capital on the island and foster open dialogue with experts in the field, as well as investors and entrepreneurs.

Randy Thompson, president of VA Angels, the largest angel investment group in Canada, will open the forum with a discussion on the financing ecosystem in Puerto Rico and the changes he has witnessed since the first time he visited the island three years ago as part of the Guayacán Venture Accelerator program, which seeks to accelerate Puerto Rico companies’ potential.

“The early-stage financing ecosystem in Puerto Rico has evolved considerably in recent years. Although still at an early stage, every year we see more interest from both local and foreign startup investors, and I include myself in this group. Eventually, this will lead to an increase in the quantity and quality of investment-ready startups,” Thompson said.

A panel of local investors will react to Thompson’s presentation, recounting their startup experiences on the island. Then, Ken Kay, a U.S. investor and entrepreneur who recently moved to Puerto Rico and launched the San Juan Tech Meetup earlier this month, will impart practical tips targeted at entrepreneurs looking to raise investment capital. The evening will close with a startup-pitch session, where high-potential startups will have a chance to practice what they learned in a series of mentoring sessions that will take place before the forum.

According to Laura Cantero, executive director of Grupo Guayacán, the forum will continue leveraging efforts undertaken by players in the entrepreneurship ecosystem and will help Puerto Rican entrepreneurs at all stages continue to launch and grow global companies. “We are pleased to collaborate with Piloto Labs and Founder’s Institute to co-sponsor the Startup Investment Forum this year. It pleases us to be able to maximize the resources of our programs for events like this, increasing the impact on the startup community. We need more local entrepreneurs that are prepared to raise venture capital and launch global companies,” Cantero emphasized.