Startup Paradise in Hawaii: Rainbows, Sunshine, and Tech

Everything amazing you think Hawaii is about is true: the beaches, perfect weather, surfer chicks, island living, and so on. But it gets even better if you’re an entrepreneur - Hawaii is also home to Startup Paradise, a rising technology nexus with three incubators, five accelerators, six investment funds, and six startup organizations. It’s where you can work hard and play hard without losing your sanity or giving up your soul.

There’s a lot happening here in Startup Paradise. Here is the CliffsNotes version of what went down last year in 2015:

  1. Governor David Ige called for $30 million to be spent supporting innovation enterprises over the next six years.

  2. Blue Startups, which was started by Tetris founder Henk Rogers, was ranked in the top 20 U.S. accelerators by TechCrunch.

  3. We held our second East Meets West conference, bringing together investors and entrepreneurs 
from A$ia (see what I did there?) and North America.

  4. XLR8UH, University of Hawaii’s accelerator, was established as one of the first public university investment programs in the nation and is revolutionizing the way innovation is commercialized at universities.

  5. The Energy Excelerator, funded primarily by the U.S. government to help startups solve the world’s energy challenges, expanded into two new verticals (!!!).

  6. HVCA (The Hawaii Venture Capital Association) celebrated its 27th anniversary.

By the way, did you know Hawaii has the fourth-highest number of millionaires per-capita in the country? Hawaii Angels is one of the oldest, active angel Investor groups in the country. Just throwing that out there.

  1. MaiTai Global swung by Maui again for the best kiteboarding on the planet during the day and drinks with local entrepreneurs after the sun goes down (you should really Google them if you don’t know who they are).

  2. On another front, we're getting 'em while they're young - Lemonade Alley (K-12), Nalukai (high school), and Purple Maia (middle school) are all programs geared towards our keiki (little ones).

  3. Then there's also DevLeague, Hawaii's web developer coding bootcamp, for people of any age that want to learn how to code.

I could keep going with this all day. But let me tell you the real reason why Startup Paradise is special. In Hawaii, you don’t just join a community; you become part of our ohana, our family. There is love, collaboration, appreciation, wisdom, and aloha in the way that we work and live. We respect the relationships that tie us all together, including the connection we each have with our own bodies and minds, nature, and the rest of the world. Entrepreneurship in Hawaii is about more than developing a work-life balance and building a business in paradise. We are solving big, real problems that affect the future of mankind on our fragile planet: energy, food, infrastructure, communication, and sustainability. Startup Paradise is where technology meets humanity.

We are excited to join the Startup Grind network and bridge Startup Paradise to tech communities all around the world. Those requiring any reason (ahem, excuse) to spend some time in our beautiful Aloha State should contact the Startup Grind Honolulu Chapter. We'll work something out. Come speak. Come hold a workshop. Come start your next company. Come learn how to code while learning how to surf. Come on in, the water is fine.

Mahalo nui loa!