Conference for startups set to include investors

Conference for startups set to include investors

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Henk Rogers of Tetris fame has started a program called Blue Startups to provide funding and other support for young entrepreneurs.


(This story originally appeared in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Dec 19, 2016 ( Written by Kathryn Mykleseth with photo by Dennis Oda.)


Blue Startups, a Honolulu-based startup support program, said it will bring investors managing more than $1 billion to Hawaii in January.

The startup program announced plans Thursday for the third East Meets West Conference, which will host investors and entrepreneurs from Hawaii, Asia and North America at Hilton Hawaiian Village on Jan. 19 and 20.

The conference is hosted by Blue Startups and the state-run HI Growth Initiative. The program supports Hawaii’s entrepreneurs through events, accelerators and investment funds. Gov. David Ige recently announced he would request $10 million of the state budget be used for the HI Growth Initiative.

Blue Startups said that during the conference companies will get the opportunity to pitch to investors on the beach or at one-on-one meetings at the lagoon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Investors will also visit Honolulu accelerators — support programs that help new companies network and find funding.

The accelerators include Energy Excelerator, the University of Hawaii’s startup support program called XLR8UH, Blue Startups and GVS creative media accelerator.

Current members of Blue Startups and alumni companies from other local accelerators will also pitch their businesses as part of a Startup Paradise showcase.

According to a survey of four accelerators in the state, startups created more than 1,000 jobs over the past four years and raised more than $250 million.

Other events on the agenda include the East Meets West All-Stars Pitch-Off competition, which allows previous competition winners to pitch to a panel of investors for more than $100,000 in prizes.

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