The Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), helmed by Karl Fooks, today announced a new Maui-based fund focused on investing in Hawaii’s early-stage tech companies. HSDC committed half of the fund’s $10 million, with the other half coming from Devon Archer, a New York-based investor and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Rosemont Capital, LLC.
I was curious about Rosemont, having never heard of them. The tangled web of Rosemont affiliates doesn’t offer up much information, but the overall Rosemont conglomeration does have some high-profile connections to the Federal Government: Vice President Biden’s son, Hunter, is a co-chair of the related Rosemont Seneca Partners, as is Christopher Heinz, son of the late Sen. John Heinz, heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune and stepson of the now Secretary of State, John Kerry.
HSDC and mbloom released separate announcements this week, both posted below.
Karl Fooks, HSDC President, commented that, “With mbloom we have two experienced entrepreneurs ready to roll-up their sleeves alongside their portfolio companies to help mold and grow them into successful businesses.”
And, mbloom co-founder Arben Kryeziu commented with, “Innovation happens in Hawaii, but many companies leave the island for growth opportunities on the mainland. We want to keep Hawaii startups here, giving them opportunities to develop, connect, and make a mark just like the startups in Silicon Valley.”
This is a huge win for both HSDC and mbloom, but more so for the budding startup ecosystem here in Hawaii. We’ll be looking for more great news from this team, and we’re especially excited to hear of their initial investments…hopefully soon!
STATE CLOSES $10 MILLION INVESTMENT FUND BASED IN MAUI
HONOLULU — The State’s Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), an agency that promotes economic development through an innovative public-private partnership investment program, announced the closing of a $10 million investment fund, mbloom Fund I.
HSDC’s $5 million commitment was matched by an affiliate of New York-based investor, Devon Archer.
The Maui-based mbloom Fund will target early-stage Hawaii technology companies, including those that are supported by the State’s HI Growth Initiative programs such as Blue Startups, Hawaii’s first technology venture accelerator.
“This fund will help to fill a critical gap in the difficult financing process that Hawaii startups face,” said Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui. “Whereas Hawaii startups used to leave for areas like Silicon Valley to raise money, the mbloom Fund will now be able to help keep startups grounded here in Hawaii.”
“We are in the early stages of deploying the HI Growth Initiative funds, but our entrepreneurial community has already managed to attract the attention of mainland investors active in sectors important to Hawaii,” said DBEDT Director Richard Lim. “We will continue to pursue investment opportunities that give Hawaii startups a chance to compete in the global marketplace.”
The fund is being managed by Maui entrepreneur Arben Kryeziu and his Venice, CA partner, Nick Bicanic.
“With mbloom we have two experienced entrepreneurs ready to roll-up their sleeves alongside their portfolio companies to help mold and grow them into successful businesses,” said Karl Fooks, HSDC President. “These are the kinds of people we need to have driving these efforts to build an innovation ecosystem.”
Fooks also noted that HSDC’s investment comprises of both state and federal funds through the HI Growth Initiative and State Small Business Credit Initiative, respectively.
mbloom, Hawaii’s First Early-Stage Technology Venture Capital Fund, Closes $10 Million mbloom Fund 1
KAHULUI, HI — (Marketwired) — 01/21/14 – mbloom LLC, a Maui-based technology fund for Hawaii startups, today announced the close of a $10 million early-stage venture capital fund.
The investment, mbloom Fund 1, is a public-private partnership with Hawaii State Development Corporation (HSDC) and Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners, an East Coast hedge fund.
“We are excited to use mbloom Fund 1 to create economic growth for Hawaii,” says mbloom co-founder Arben Kryeziu. “Innovation happens in Hawaii, but many companies leave the island for growth opportunities on the mainland. We want to keep Hawaii startups here, giving them opportunities to develop, connect, and make a mark just like the startups in Silicon Valley.”
Kryeziu and partner Nick Bicanic created mbloom after recognizing the need to keep great talent on Maui. With the fund, Kryeziu and Bicanic plan to provide mentorship, strategies, and business networks that nurture and cultivate the success of new Hawaii startups.
The Hawaii community has expressed great support and excitement for mbloom and its potential for success.
“I’ve long believed that great entrepreneurs and innovators can be found throughout the United States — and Hawaii is no exception,” said Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution. “I congratulate Arben and Nick on the launch of the mbloom fund, marking an important step for building momentum in the Hawaii technology community.”
About mbloom LLC
mbloom is Hawaii’s first early-stage technology fund. Founded and run by entrepreneurs Arben Kryeziu and Nick Bicanic, mbloom’s mission is to create an environment that seeds, develops and grows profitable Hawaii based companies by solving pain points through technology, helping entrepreneurs build their products, create go-to-market strategies, and get to the next milestone in their journeys.