University of Hawaii today launched XLR8UH, a totally new “proof of concept center” that aims to “hasten innovation and entrepreneurial excellence by helping entrepreneurs traverse the startup and commercialization chasm.”
At an event in Kakaako, the XLR8UH team, led by Omar Sultan, managing director, also announced their inaugural cohort of incoming startups, which includes:
- Diagenetix, maker of low-cost, portable pathogen detection hardware.
- Innovative Optics, creator of large optics technology.
- Fly Wire, maker of line-of-sight HD cameras.
- Live Sift, a SaaS tool for group interactions at large events.
- Infrasound, whose technology provides early detection of utility, civil, and natural disasters.
- Smartummy, maker of abdominal training mannequins.
- Cosmos Company, maker of spacecraft operations software.
XLR8UH provides a typical startup accelerator program, which their website says offers “University of Hawai‘i’s entrepreneurs with the skills, connections, and expertise needed to drive startup success.” Additionally, XLR8UH companies are eligible for up to $175,000 in seed capital, which is well beyond that of other local and global accelerators.
Adding to the prestige and potential success of their program is a stacked deck of board members, from Silicon Valley venture capitalists Barry Weinman and Jim Lally, to seasoned executives, like Central Pacific Bank’s CEO John Dean and Bill Melohn, former CTO of Cisco, not to mention other local startup heavy-hitters.
According to their presentation, XLR8UH intends to bridge the gap between existing UH initiatives, such as their office of technology transfer and their UPSIDE investment fund.