Puerto Rico’s startup community should be proud of its accomplishments in the past few quarters: BarCamp Mayagüez, WordCamp, Startups of Puerto Rico, Startup After Hours, Startup Weekends hosted in Puerto Rico, Colombia and Norway, Founder Institute, Microsoft and El Nuevo Dia hacking contests, Startup America, Lean LaunchPad at UPR, Entrepreneur’s Boot Camp, and even a Geek on a Plane touring Miami, Mexico, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. So what’s on my wishlist for the second half of 2012? Thought you’d never ask:
- Angels - Startup founders do not easily appreciate that Silicon Valley represents the marriage of technological virtuosity and financial wizardry. Founders who could change the world during the Internet Bubble of 1999 became no more than restaurant waiters during the Nuclear Winter of 2001. The imagination of local startup founders is constrained by the utter non-existence of seed capital. Enter the angels. If the community wants to grow, it needs to do whatever it takes to ignite angel investor participation.
- Coworking - Sure, it is wonderful to work in your underwear, yet are you being maximally productive? Coworking spaces are booming all over as a community-fueled alternative to traditional offices, home offices and old-school incubators. If the community cares about doing more faster, an urban coworking space in San Juan is a must.
- Mastermind - Being a CEO is a dream for many, yet in reality it is the loneliest job in the world. Startup founders need a forum to exchange ideas and keep each other accountable, which is the point of a Mastermind Group.
- Speaker Series - As much as startup founders are traveling to and living in Silicon Valley, it is imperative to regularly bring the global startup ecosystem to us, and a way to accomplish that is a speaker series…what about a great Thursday afternoon talk and Friday workshop by @Jason, @Ev, or boricua @DavidCancel? The community would certainly learn more faster and accelerate island’s connection to the world.
- EIR - Let’s take that concept even further…what about getting hackers to live in Puerto Rico for a couple months at a time as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence? They would inject credible, outside perspective to founders, investors and policymakers while networking the community into the EIRs startup hub of origin in the Valley, Austin, New York or London.
All that could be accomplished with about $250,000 and a lot of collaboration. What would be the result? A startup community that can operate at a totally different scale through funding (angels), intensity (coworking & mastermind) and connectivity (speakers & EIR), all built organically.
So, what’s on your wishlist?