The startup community in Puerto Rico is still very, very young. It’s almost non-existent. I’ve met a few people here and there over the last few years, and we generally keep in touch, but it feels like we’re all alone in this island. Local higher education institutions don’t do much about promoting startups, leading graduates instead towards the big companies, local or out of state. Who can blame them, though? A cushy job at a big company is a safe bet.
It’s time to kickstart this community. It won’t happen quickly. We won’t be able to compete with Silicon Valley. But maybe we can plant the seed, share our vision with others. Eventually the idea will take hold, and people will realize that working for a big company is not the only way of making a living. We need more entrepreneurs in this island, and we believe that technology startups hold the key for improving our economy.
Initial costs have gone down so much in the last decade, it’s very inexpensive to get started. Look around and you’ll notice many business models being disrupted. Digital distribution has forever changed the face of the movie and recording industry. Netflix and iTunes, Hulu. Zipcar, Uber and Getaround are threatening the transportation industry. Even Facebook, with its complete dominance of the social networking space, has enough blind spots that companies such as Twitter and Path, and Google’s Google+, can exist and be sustained by a significant chunk of users.
It’s a no-brainer: pick any industry. It can be disrupted, and the key lies in using the latest technology advancements combined with great design and a great user experience.
What can we do to get the ball rolling? It’s up for discussion. That’s why we invite you to join Startups of Puerto Rico, a new joint effort between various local startups. Everyone is welcome to add their own company to the index and join the Google Groups discussion mailing list. We aim to establish a a community where everyone has a voice and everyone can stay in touch. 2012 will see many more events such as Barcamp San Juan and Startup Weekend Puerto Rico. We have met many of you through these events, and we know there’s many more of you out there. We invite you to introduce yourself.