HSDC facilitated the establishment of Blue Startups, Hawaii first venture accelerator. Blue Startups achieved a top 20 ranking of US accelerator programs and has graduated 8 cohorts: 62 companies; 75% have raised outside capital following the program; the average raise is $1 million; and the total follow investment raised is $66 million.
Blue Startups has catalyzed an active startup scene anchored with its annual East Meets West event that brings together entrepreneurs and investors from Asia and the US to network.
HSDC facilitated the establishment of GVS Transmedia Accelerator on the Island of Hawaii. GTA has won the SBA Accelerator Challenge three years in a row and has graduated 12 projects. One movie project raised $3 million and completed filming and post-production at GTA’s Honua Studio. One web series project raised $150,000 and completed its pilot episode on Maui. Eight projects are still active and raising production funding.
GTA has catalyzed the establishment of two clusters of creative companies. One cluster is located in Kona at GTA’s Honua Studio that includes high speed connectivity, green screen stage, state of the art sound studio, screening room and co-working space. The other cluster is located in Honolulu and offers high speed connectivity, state of the art virtual collaboration room and co-working space.
HSDC partnered with the Elemental Excelerator, a Hawaii-based accelerator that is one of the world’s premier accelerator programs for clean tech entrepreneurs, to establish EEX Fund One, a follow-on fund to provide growth capital for graduates of the Elemental’s accelerator program. Several Hawaii startups, Ibis Networks, Terviva, Kunoa Cattle, and Pono Home, have been able to use funding from EEX Fund One to grow their Hawaii operations.
Value Added Agriculture
HSDC partnered with the Maui Food Innovation Center to support the establishment of an accelerator program to help food companies access business and industry mentors to develop investable business plans. MFIC has developed a growing cluster of food entrepreneurs centered around their commercial kitchen facility and their network of mentors. 25 companies have graduated from the program and several have gone on to attract investment and develop distribution arrangements with national partners.
HSDC partnered with the University of Hawaii Foundation to establish a commercialization fund to target companies licensing technologies from the University of Hawaii. In 2017, HSDC invested in Reef Fund II, an investment fund targeting innovative companies commercializing IP funded by research grants.
HSDC is currently working with stakeholders in Hawaii’s aquaculture industry to develop commercialization resources for startups that will enable the establishment of an investment program for this sector.