Blue Startups was founded with the goal of diversifying Hawaii’s economy by leveraging its unique strengths. Historically dependent on the tourism industry, we envision a Hawaii with a thriving technology sector, creating high paying and interesting jobs for our “keiki” (children).
As one of the first accelerators in Hawaii, Blue Startups has been essential in the creation of “Startup Paradise”, now a thriving new startup ecosystem in Honolulu, Hawaii. Founded in 2012, Blue Startups was the brainchild of Henk Rogers and Maya Rogers of the Tetris company and Chenoa Farnsworth of Hawaii Angels. The partners saw an opportunity to leverage Hawaii’s strengths to develop and bring more technology companies (such as Tetris) to the islands. Targeting scalable technology companies that could grow and thrive here, taking advantage of our sector strengths such as tourism and sustainability, and our unique global position between the Asian economies and the West. Blue Startups was founded as a public-private partnership funded by the State of Hawaii, Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, the Tetris Company and private investors.
Blue Startups was designed to give startup companies every advantage: mentorship, access to business expertise, product testing, peer review, customer acquisition, pitch development, introductions to investors, and seed funding. We were one of the first accelerator to join the Global Accelerator Network, an invite-only community founded by TechStars, that provides startups with the best resources to create and grow their businesses.
Blue Startups is an intensive mentor-driven program. Our world class lead mentors provide hands on help without limiting their availability: each company is assigned a lead mentor that works with them exclusively throughout the program, and spends a significant amount of time with them. With access to our entire mentor network of experts (over 150) we guarantee all the help our companies need to get to the next stage. We have a strict “no sales” zone at Blue Startups, so we ensure that our mentors are there for the right reasons.
We also choose the startups for the right reason: we look for the DNA of the funding team, coachability, diversity, balance of skill-sets, good communication on the team, mutual respect, vision and flexibility. We value innovation and integrity above all else. We only want to work with entrepreneurs who have a strong moral compass and a burning desire to bring innovation to society.
Given the development of a technology sector in Hawaii is relatively new, it is important to foster this community. We have created a community of startup founders, mentors, partners and investors throughout the last couple of years, and they all consider a part of Blue community. All of our companies are also treated as “ohana” (family) from day one.
To bring together thought leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs from Asia, Hawaii and North America we organize East Meets West each year. The conference features amazing international speakers, deep-dive learning opportunities, and ample networking.
We strongly believe that the technology playing field is leveling, you no longer have to be in Silicon Valley to compete. Innovation can and will happen anywhere. Hawaii not only captures the imagination, but it also an ecosystem that feeds entrepreneurs and helps them to navigate their company globally from the heart of the Pacific. It is a hidden gem, and the perfect middle ground between East and West markets. Many international companies will be working in both markets in the future and we believe Hawaii is the perfect place to do this work.