Raising capital is hard. Raising capital in an undercapitalized market in an economic downturn is daunting. Notwithstanding, in only 3 months of active raising, Aware has closed a pre-seed round of capital from Insight Group. The round will allow Aware to expand their market into the US mainland and continue their rapid growth.
Since the App launched in early April 2022, Aware has amassed over 20,000 downloads only in Puerto Rico. All while having retention and conversion rates above best in class apps in the personal safety industry. Now, armed with a war chest of pre-seed capital $360,000 dollars, Aware sets its sights into conquering the US market.
Aware has benefited from participating in world renowned accelerating programs like the Bravo Rising Entrepreneurs, Parallel 18, Startup Chile, Carbono III and CDVCA Unlock Capital. Using the tools and knowhow learned, the team developed a strategy for raising capital few companies have tried in Puerto Rico, raising non-institutionalized capital. Given the limited venture funds in the island and the trepidation for investment, going after other nontraditional capital seems now in retrospect like a good bet. Raising this type of capital offers great advantages, mainly more flexibly and more time to mature the market fit before raising other rounds.
The focus is not only growth. But sustainable growth. The downturn in tech has shown that it’s not a sound strategy for startups to live from round to round without generating equivalent revenue. A lot of unicorns have now turned into ponies overnight. Our goal is to be cash positive as quickly as possible and find a balance between growth and revenue. See how the markets settle before opening our next seed round. Said Javier Rivera Montes, Aware’s CEO.
Aside from the B2C market, we are discovering B2B verticals in telecommunication, hospitality and higher education organizations. This round will allow us to explore the market fit in those verticals and diversify our revenue streams and growth. Added Mayrel Gonzalez, Aware’s Co-founder.
Insight Group is the largest provider of call centers and consumer management services in the Caribbean. They also have diversified into telecommunications platforms, security, fleet management, cannabis industry, and entertainment services among others. We view Aware not as just an investment, but as a partner. Aside from the capital injection, we can help their management achieve great success and expand into new markets. Added Neftali Bernado and Victor Garcia, Insight Group’s partners.
This is the latest example of a startup that has been able to raise substantial capital in Puerto Rico. A good omen that the island’s startup ecosystem is ramping up and catching up to others.