Category: Startups

Civil Geeks: Tales from The Other Side

My last “Civil Geeks” column is a continuation of the previous piece addressing the practical and positive reasons why Hawaii startups often make the leap to the West Coast. In part two, I talk to entrepreneurs about why they decided to head across the ocean. Once settled in San Francisco,...

Civil Geeks: Startups Leave Hawaii and That’s Okay

My latest (and penultimate) column for Civil Beat addresses comments I’ve constantly heard throughout the growth of Hawaii’s nascent innovation economy. When a local startup announces that it’s relocating to Silicon Valley, there are a lot of congratulations but also a few complaints. A startup’s ability to succeed outside Hawaii...

Civil Geeks: XLR8UH Accelerates University Entrepreneurs

My latest “Civil Geeks” column for Civil Beat provides an update on the XLR8UH accelerator program, a partnership between the University of Hawaii and local early-stage startup investment firm Sultan Ventures. Now 18 months in, and on the verge of announcing the members of its fourth cohort for Summer 2016, XLR8UH Managing...

HVCA Announces 2016 ‘Deal of the Year’ Awards

The 16th Annual Hawaii Venture Capital Association Deal of the Year Awards were presented last night at the Waialae Country Club. I was there to support my friend and Smart Yields cofounder Vincent Kimura, who was nominated for — and won! — the award for Cleantech/Agtech Entrepreneur of the Year. While the...

KeyReply Team Builds Free Chat Widget

The team behind KeyReply, a keyboard for iOS that allows teams to easily customize and send pre-written messages, isn’t satisfied with building and launching a single product. Earlier this month, they released KeyReply for OSX, expanding the reach of their time-saving mobile utility to serve Macintosh users. But later that same week, they released...

Hawaii Kids Rank High in Global Startup Battle

Hawaii Kids Rank High in Global Startup Battle

When a team of pre-teens won first place in the latest Startup Weekend Honolulu last month, it was a remarkable accomplishment and milestone for the popular entrepreneurial showcase (which was won by a 16-year-old earlier in the year). But in many ways, they were just getting started. Today, Menehune Hat Clips...

Big Island Startups Group Launched

A new group for current and would-be startup founders on Hawaii Island has formed, with an inaugural pau hana meetup set for Friday. The Big Island Startups was launched only four days ago, and has already drawn more than 100 members in its first three days. To kick things off, the first Startup...

Gallery: Double-Threat Pitch-Off

It was a standing-room crowd last night at the YWCA of ‘Oahu for the “double-threat pitch-off,” a joint event organized by Sultan Ventures and Blue Startups. The former brought the Small Business Administration’s “InnovateHER” competition to Hawaii for the first time, and the latter hosted the regional finals of the international Mobile...

Two Pitch Competitions Converge on Tuesday

Local teams vying for two different business innovation competitions, one national and the other international, will come together on the same stage on Tuesday for a “double-threat pitch off.” The winning teams from each will then have a chance to cross the sea to compete at an even higher level. Firstly, the...

New Accelerator to Focus on Hardware Startups

Given the exponential growth we’ve seen in mobile app development, it makes sense that most people associate venture accelerator programs with software startups. But plenty of new ideas require hardware — whether it’s the smartphone needed to run those trendy apps, or the glorious future analysts see in the “internet of things.”...

Geek Beat: Grumbling, Replying, Traveling Apps

Want to complain? Send repetitive messages faster? Expand your travel plans? There are apps for that being built right here in Honolulu. This morning’s “Geek Beat” segment on the Sunrise morning news show on Hawaii News Now featured three apps being nurtured into businesses at Blue Startups. They are members...

Photo by Burt Lum | @bytemarks

Kids Take Top Honors at Startup Weekend Honolulu

The eighth Startup Weekend Honolulu wrapped tonight at Kakaako Agora, with seven finalists pitching and presenting their work after a 54-hour marathon of designing, building, and preparing. And if you thought it was remarkable that a teenager won the last local event, then hold on to your hats. First prize...

UH Accelerator Announces Third Cohort Finalists

The University of Hawaii venture accelerator, XLR8UH, is now in its second year, and this week announced the finalists for its third cohort of startup companies. The diverse group is building solutions ranging from athletic coaching to scientific algorithms to tiny homes. As finalists, the seven companies will enter the first...

Startup Weekend Honolulu Returns Friday

The eighth Startup Weekend Honolulu is this weekend, coinciding with the sixth annual Global Startup Battle, which this year spans over 250 cities around the globe. A mix of developers, designers, entrepreneurs and marketers will come together on Friday night to pitch ideas and form teams, and will be expected...

Workshops Set the Stage for Next Startup Weekend

The next Startup Weekend Honolulu is three weeks away, coinciding with the 6th annual Global Startup Battle. And preparations are already underway. Starting this past Thursday, there are three weekly workshops leading up to the main event. Similar to the run up to the last local Startup Weekend in June, the workshop...

Rallying to Raise Young Entrepreneurs

The Hawaii Venture Capital Association sees a lot of young people who want to change the world. But its luncheon on Thursday will focus on an even younger cross section of the next generation. After taking last month off for the Hawaii Innovation Initiative forum, the HVCA will host a...

Mark Takai | XLR8UH SBA Award

SBA Lauds Three Local Accelerator Programs

Three Hawaii accelerator programs were among 80 such programs across the country recognized by the Small Business Administration for supporting entrepreneurs in their efforts to build successful companies and growing their local business community. XLR8UH, the Maui Food Innovation Center at Maui College, and the GVS Transmedia Accelerator on the Big Island each...

Energy Excelerator Assesses Its Success

The Energy Excelerator, born out of a pivot from a grant-based operation to a dual-track accelerator program, released its first impact report today, illustrating its evolution and reporting on how well it’s doing with its more than $30 million in federal, state, and private funding. “It reveals what we’ve been working on for the past three...

Blue Startups Announces Sixth Cohort

Blue Startups, Hawaii’s first and longest-running technology venture accelerator, is hosting an Open House event at its downtown Honolulu headquarters tomorrow to introduce the members of its latest and largest cohort of early stage startups… including one I co-founded. There are ten companies in this sixth accelerator round, five of them...

Dev League Adds Coding Prep Course for Beginners

DevLeague, Hawaii’s first and only coding bootcamp, is launching an introductory offering to help would-be students ensure that they have the basic skills needed to enter and succeed in the program. DevLeague was founded in 2013 by local entrepreneurs and friends Jason Sewell and Russel Cheng. Modeled after popular and successful programming...