Hawaii is Startup Paradise: Blue Startups is a Catalyst

The recent CNN Money article ranking Hawaii as one of the top ten most entrepreneurial states validates that the islands attract and inspire the creative class. Those close to the local entrepreneurial community know that Hawaii is a rising star in the startup world. It’s affirming to see it in print.

The ranking* validates what we have known for some time: Entrepreneurs today can and will work from anywhere. The recent cohort of Blue Startups confirms that new companies coming out of Hawaii are globally competitive. Blue Startups is Hawaii’s first venture accelerator, a program that combines an intensive 12-week mentoring program with investment and in-kind services for startup companies. Blue Startups was founded by Henk Rogers of Blue Planet Software (sole agent of Tetris®), with funding from the State of Hawaii and private investors.

We at Blue Startups are energized to be part of Hawaii’s broader entrepreneurial grassroots movement with co-working spaces, incubators, investors and accelerators nurturing our rising entrepreneurs. More than fifty mentors and experts have volunteered their time with Blue Startups alone.

At our first Startup Paradise Demo Day—a joint event showcasing the companies of Blue Startups and the Energy Excelerator—we presented 15 promising new companies to investors in both Hawaii and Silicon Valley. The response was overwhelming. After operating under the radar in Hawaii, it was rewarding to showcase our companies on a national stage and wow the audience of investors. The companies of Blue Startups have alreadt attracted over $3 million in investment capital and all continue to execute on their businesses with laser focus.

Blue Startups is recruiting capital-efficient and scalable-technology companies, including Internet, software, mobile, gaming and e-commerce. The program is highly competitive and will only accept up to 10 promising new companies in each cohort. The application deadline for the Fall 2013 cohort is July 31. We can offer entrepreneurs a great lifestyle coupled with access to the Asian economies and close cultural proximity to Asia.

Blue Startups is introducing a new program this cohort called “Henk’s Wild Card”. In addition to the regular program, entrepreneurs can apply for the wild card spot wherein our founder Henk Rogers will provide the business idea and the team selected will execute on the business plan with funding and support provided by Blue Startups.

Applications for the second session of Blue Startups are closing August 14th. Learn more and apply here.

* 2013 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, published by the Kauffman Foundation. The 2012 startup rate for each state is based on a yearly national survey of about half a million people — adults aged 20 to 64 who start a business each month with 15 or more hours worked.

Chenoa Farnsworth is managing director for Blue Startups, a venture accelerator creating new high growth business opportunities in Hawaii. She has more than 15 years experience in business strategy and venture investing. Farnsworth is also the managing director of the Hawaii Angels, Hawaii’s only angel capital investment network.