In light of current events, the founders of mbloom, Arben Kryeziu and Nick Bicanic, and the president of Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), Karl Fooks, will host a town hall-style meeting to discuss aspects of the mbloom fund, the process, and their recent investments in flikdate and Ozolio. The town hall is scheduled for 6:30pm this coming Thursday, July 24, at The Box Jelly.
Much has been written and discussed about this situation, mostly on Facebook, and the overwhelming theme behind the initial “What the…?” response is the lack of transparency. When things aren’t clear, people assume. In this case, and without any concrete (and some circumstantial) information either way, things look fishy and convoluted and connected in questionable ways.
Adding to the confusion, and since the startup industry is fairly new to Hawaii, we don’t all grasp the intricacies of startup funding, acquisitions, venture capital, etc., even though startup-focused publications like VentureBeat and TechCrunch and Fast Company are almost mainstream in their popularity (thereby making “VC” and “startup” household words). Is this type of fund-founder/startup-founder deal common? Who approved these deals and what makes them “good” deals? What’s the overall mbloom/HSDC strategy? What’s with the flikdate acquisition? Why merge a boxing company with a dating app? Why does “Devon Archer” sound like a second-tier superhero sidekick?
When there’s public money involved, I think that the public expects a certain level of transparency. The only way to clear up these concerns is for mbloom to talk it through with the community and answer their questions, which is why it’s so great to see this event being put together so quickly…and we can all get back to building a better startup community in Hawaii.