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 from Hawaii and five from out of state. They are:

  • BlueSpotPark: A venue-specific, mobile platform-based, premium parking solution that dynamically optimizes an organization’s parking resources.
  • Findally: A visually driven product engine. Find answers to whatever you want, on-demand.
  • Freshr: Creating and opening up markets that sustainable fishermen can sell into.
  • Grumble: A mobile app and social media message board for the times in life that aren’t so great.
  • Keyreply: An omnichannel keyboard that helps the mobile workforce respond faster and better for increased customer satisfaction and employee happiness.
  • Leet: A skill-­based eSports platform where players compete against each other in their favorite video games for money.
  • NestEggGuru: Offers financial advisors and consumers an innovative, intuitive way to stress test retirement savings and spending strategies.
  • QuestOrganizer: A flight search engine that adds value with spontaneous destinations while lowering the total booking cost.
  • SmartYields: A SaaS that monitors and adjusts inputs to enhance growing conditions.
  • Zefyr: A personal CRM for Gmail.

A couple of these startups may sound familiar: Grumble was the second-place winner at the seventh Startup Weekend Honolulu event in June, and Freshr is returning to the program after making it into Blue Startups’ previous cohort. But SmartYields is new, and the startup I’m a part of.

Having followed, covered, and supported the local startup scene for years — including more than a few blog posts about Blue Startups in particular — it’s thrilling and daunting to now see things from the inside. And I’m grateful to our team’s lead founder, Vincent Kimura, for bringing me aboard.

I’ve known Vincent for more than fifteen years, first crossing paths when he worked as an intern at my first “real job” at the Pacific Basin Economic Council. And we’ve kept in touch ever since, as he went on to study in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Beijing, earned his Environmental Science degree at Oregon State Un