Blue Startups Hawaii Selects Accelerators First Cohort


Venture acceleratorBlue Startups has selected seven teams for its first cohort. Chosen companies hail from Honolulu, and San Diego, and Redwood City, CA.

Companies accepted into the Blue Startups program receive $20,000 as an up-front investment, and access to more than $100,000 in in-kind services. The purpose is to provide a company access to the resources needed to move to the next level. Teams will have workspace at the “Sky Box.” In exchange for the capital and in-kind services, Blue Startups will take an equity stake in each company. Monday, March 11, marks the start for the Spring 2013 session.

“The selection process focused primarily on our assessment of the team’s ability to execute and their relative competitive advantages in the global marketplace,” said Chenoa Farnsworth, managing director for Blue Startups. “We received over 100 applications and narrowed it down to these seven, so we are extremely confident in our first cohort and anxious to get these startups ready to compete in the global market.”

Honolulu-based, SurroundsMe automates social media marketing, turning loyal customers into advocates and online content creators for businesses. Led by Ann Boots, chief marketer, and Rob Bertholf chief software architect, SurroundsMe, uses an online platform connecting brands with their constituents to engage in social media. For more, visit:

Tealet, founded by Elyse Peterson of Honolulu, is a direct-from-grower e-commerce marketplace that allows US tea drinkers to connect with tea growers from around the world. Growers post stories and teas while drinkers browse, review and purchase teas. Tealet curates tea for drinkers with the Global Tea Taster subscription service allowing drinkers to learn more about and purchase their favorite teas in the marketplace. For more, visit:

Aptly Inc., co-founded by Mark and Tiffany Quezada of Honolulu, aims to create a suite of applications (apps) to give people the tools they need to be more thoughtful within their social circles. The first app is called Minded. Minded keeps track of important events like birthdays or anniversaries and provides tailored gift suggestions according to a person’s profile.

Dave Kozuki and Robert Chang of Honolulu are co-founders of Tow Choice. Using an instant bidding platform, Tow Choice will eliminate the costs and inefficiencies of tow truck dispatch centers using mobile and instant bidding technologies.

Volta, founded by Scott Mercer of Honolulu, provides electric vehicle charging stations to major metropolitan areas and commercial sites. Volta partners with commercial site owners providing charging stations and installation and a split of advertising revenue. For more information, visit:

Wicked Loot, a game development studio, addresses the core gaming market for mobile by making games that feature content generated by the users themselves. From Redwood City, CA, team members include John Lee, game designer, Craig Cerceo, lead programmer, and Shouguo Li, backend engineer.

Pharmbid is the first software of its kind directed at the pharmaceutical industry to combat drug shortages. It is a reverse bidding platform that allows healthcare facilities to request bids from vendors for all pharmaceutical needs. Pharmbid is designed to drive down healthcare costs and foster small business through competitive bidding process. Founded in San Diego, Pharmbid’s team includes Samantha Godfrey, chief executive officer, Kubs Lalchandani, chief communications officer and Anup Marwardi, chief technology officer.

Blue Startups is a technology accelerator founded by Henk Rogers, founder of Blue Planet Software (sole agent of Tetris®). Blue Startups concentrates on helping scalable-technology companies including Internet, software, mobile, gaming and e-commerce compete on a global scale. Part of the Global Accelerator Network, Blue Startups aims to become a nexus of entrepreneurial activity in Hawaii, and between Asia and Continental U.S. For more information, visit: