Hawaii Startups Are Making Progress…Quietly


With my post of a few months ago that pointed to the relative lack of news on Hawaii-based startups and their traction and/or funding (or lack thereof), it seems as though I may have ruffled a few feathers.


Great! Startups and supporters need to have someone call bullshit on them, or at least offer some constructive criticism here and there. If everyone toots their own horn, talks about how great they are doing, but nothing seems to be happening, then I think that’s a disconnect. Wouldn’t it be better for the ecosystem as a whole for startups and entrepreneurs to be honest and open about their challenges? But that’s another story…

In light of my perceived un-positiveness, I was emailed a list of “news” about local startups. So, here’s the news available for local startups and their funding progress (with my parenthetical comments added for color commentary, of course):

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140109005867/en/EPIC-Ventures-Invests-Volta-Industries#.U4kqFLBOUY0  (Great! But the announcement counts a total traction of “nearly 50” charging stations as of Spring 2014, while an article from November said that Volta would have 150 stations by the end of 2013. That’s a huge miss, right?)

http://ulupono.com/news_posts/ulupono-initiative-invests-175-000-in-volta-industries  (Great! Nice to see local investment from local investors.)

http://www.trutags.com/1961/wuxi-pharmatech-corporate-venture-fund-invest-trutag-security-platform-drug-safety/  (Awesome! But no mention of the amount…)

http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/flo-water  ($990k? Nice! But why is the investor listed as “unknown?”)

http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/print-edition/2013/03/08/uh-queens-backing-mri-startup.html?page=all  (This is over a year old. Although, in recent news, they did travel to Italy last month. Great use of funds, eh?)

http://mauifeed.com/maui-news/vantage-sports-wins-equity-opportunity-at-maitai-maui-tech-night/ (Great to see local startups getting recognition, but they just won a “listing” to ask for money, they didn’t get any investment…yet. Good luck to them!)

http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/contix (Nice to see Dan’s startup doing so well and raising over $400k! Contix has a good premise, so hopefully they will share more and more insights into their path from idea to raising cash to building a great Hawaii-based business.)

http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2014/02/07/cardax-pharmaceuticals-becomes.html?page=all (Um, not sure how to categorize a pharma firm “completing a reverse merger with a publicly-traded Houston coffee-roasting firm.” And, since everyone says that there’s plenty of investment money in Hawaii, just nothing to invest it in, not sure why Cardax went this route. But, great to see another publicly-traded company in Hawaii, right?)

And, do me a favor: If you have a nit to pick about this info or you have your own point of view, summon up the courage to write a comment below and attach your real name to it. Or, better yet, write your own piece and post it here, or anywhere.