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Over US $250M to be represented at TBR Lab demo day

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – One of the primary barriers to growth for Caribbean technology startups is funding. With a very nascent early-stage investment culture, the Caribbean is a challenging place to identify angel and venture capital investors.

Tech Beach Retreat has long been on a mission to drive a positive shift in the landscape by awakening local interest and inviting global eyes to the table. The company’s accelerator program, TBR LAB will host its first virtual Demo Day on June 25, 2021, and the event has attracted the attention of both regional and international investors representing over USD $250 million in investment capital.

The Demo Day is a key component of the regional accelerator program. It was designed to improve access to capital for Caribbean startups and will present entrepreneurs with the opportunity to pitch their companies to investors in North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. It will be executed in collaboration with the DMZ at Ryerson University, a world-class accelerator program with a portfolio of companies that have thus far raised over CAD $1.24 billion in funding.

An event of this nature is unprecedented in the Caribbean, according to Eric Sonnier, Director of Accelerator Programs at Tech Beach.

“There’s never been one place where all startups are consolidated to provide this type of connection. This will be the largest number of investors that have ever participated in an event like this in the region,” says Sonnier.

Along with representatives from the DMZ, executives in residence, and program mentors, Sonnier has spent the last few weeks working closely with startup founders to fine-tune their pitch decks and financial models, and he is confident they have what it takes to pique the interest of investors.

Upward of 20 firms are expected to tune into the live event via Zoom, where they will view pitches from over two dozen Caribbean startups. One of the firms in the cohort, WiPay, recently confirmed a new round of funding. Representatives from US-based seed-stage venture capital firm, MAC Capital, as well as the seed accelerator, Techstars, are among the firms expected to attend. TBR LAB partners, the DMZ and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will also be represented by their investment arms, DMZ Ventures, as well as IDB Invest and IDB Lab.

Thus far, investors that have been confirmed for the event manage funds ranging from under USD $20 million to over USD $100 million.

Demo Day is expected to bridge the financing gap faced by many Caribbean founders. Sonnier is confident that the exposure will present participating startups with new avenues through which they can access key funding that will allow them to sustainably scale and grow. Tech Beach also expects participation from a number of large regional and global corporations, eager to find partnership opportunities with the startups.

“We are serving as a matchmaker in this ecosystem,” says Sonnier. “For the first time we will be putting all of these people in the same room virtually and we think relationships will be built, people will raise capital and we believe even more players will start to pay attention to the region because of what they see in these founders.”



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