Luncheon to Assess the VC Scene
The President has the State of the Union, the governor has the State of the State, and the local startup scene has the annual “State of the Venture Capital Industry” luncheon, hosted by the Hawaii Venture Capital Association.
Last year’s event had marked the re-launch of the HVCA, with new president Meli James (who joined Sultan Ventures in March) and new board member Chenoa Farnsworth (of Hawaii Angels and Blue Startups). But a lot can happen in a year.
On one hand, the legislature failed to pass a bill that would have provided $10 million in additional funding to the HI Growth Initiative. As a result, “we’re seeing a lot more activity on the private side… on the public side there isn’t much activity,” James said today.
On the other side, there are definitely a lot more local entrepreneurs launching startups and hoping to build successful companies, as illustrated as the burgeoning slate of presenting companies at the upcoming Startup Paradise Demo Day.
James also noted that mbloom, the Maui-based technology fund, which announced two weeks ago that it had raised $10 million from a private investor in China (the fund had raised its first $10 million last year). Mbloom came under fire last summer, and caught more flak earlier this month for not putting its money where its mouth is… although the criticism was reframed as an attack on Hawaii’s tech scene as a whole.
But a key part of the luncheon will be an update from Tim Dick of Startup Capital Ventures, who will be sharing highlights from the most recent outlook report from the National Venture Capital Association.
“He’s already made some pretty bold statements so far, the first being the large and growing disconnect between what tech angels and the VCs community are investing in,” James said. “He believes this information is very important for startups who are looking to get funding past angel funding.”
Other panelists include Farnsworth, Omar Sultan of Sultan Ventures and XLR8UH, Greg Gaug of Ulupono Initiative, and David Mes from ARC Venture Partners, who happened to be in town to support one of his portfolio companies at Startup Paradise Demo Day.
The luncheon will kick off at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, May 28, at The Plaza Club (900 Fort Street Mall, 20th Floor). You can register in advance on Eventbrite ($34 for members, $44 for non-members and $20 for students), although the event was sold out earlier today until more seats were added.
Listen to our interview with James earlier tonight: