Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and is known for its tourist attractions. With the natural harbor, the city has become a major gateway for the United States, but that’s not it.
Since the city has a huge potential for rising businesses and future entrepreneurs, many angel investors and venture capital firms have started funding startups. They provide startups with not only financial aid but also mentorship programs and entrepreneurship workshops, allowing them to reach success.
Thinking about who these angel investors are and what could be their investment ideologies?
Well, let’s waste no time and jump onto the list of Top 4 Angel investors in Honolulu and their investment interests.
Honolulu is still developing, and the city hasn’t become a hotspot for startups yet.
That is why many famous investment networks still hesitate to fund a startup belonging to Honolulu.
But fear not!
With low competition, your idea always has the potential to get funded and attract investors.
So, here is the list of top investment networks, venture capital firms, and individual angel investors in Honolulu.
Investor Type: Venture Capital Firm
Investment Interests: Agriculture, CleanTech, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Transportation, Venture Capital, and Water Solutions.
Founded by Dawn Lippert and Jill Sims, Elemental Excelerator is one of Honolulu's biggest Venture Capital firms. The network focuses on a wide range of startups.
Ever since its inception in 2012, the network has funded around 150 startups, being one of the most active investors. The screening tests of Elemental Excelerators, like any other huge VC firm, are designed to be tough.
The process starts with the initial stage, which is the online application. If a startup matches the investment interests of the VC firm, it is passed to the next stage (physical screening tests). During these physical screening tests, startups are given 10-15 minutes of time to explain their business idea and, most importantly, explain how their startup has the potential to impact the markets.
After this stage, the team of investors has a separate “Questioning Phase,” asking entrepreneurs several questions related to why their business should be funded compared with hundreds and even thousands of other startups.
However, once a startup can pass these rigorous screening tests, it doesn’t just receive the required funding but also access to a network of experienced mentors. Elemental Excelerator hosts many mentorship programs throughout the year to educate individuals about the business ecosystem and boost startup culture.
The investment range of Elemental Excelerator ranges from $500,000 to $4M. Some of their portfolio companies are;
Allume Energ: Allume Energy is a company that has developed a system called SolShare, which delivers solar energy to apartments and businesses in a affordable way.
Amber Kinetics: Amber Kinetics is a startup company developing scalable, low-cost flywheel energy storage solutions.
Ambri: Ambri is an American startup company that produces molten-salt batteries for energy storage in wind and solar power systems.
Website: Hawaii Angels
Investor Type: Venture Capital Firm
Investment Interests: Tech, automotive, healthcare, consumer products.
Hawaii Angels is another giant investment network that strongly focuses on startups in Hawaii. The Venture Capital firm was founded by Robert Robinson in February 2002 and has funded over $100M in over 100 startups.
Although compared with other investors, Hawaii Angels might not sound like the most active VC firm, and that’s because of its breif screening tests. The firm carefully invests in startups, evaluating different factors that might impact the growth potential.
Like Elemental Excelerator, Hawaii Angels also has a brief screening test process. The only major difference is that Hawaii Angels are more interested in knowing the idea of the startup and seeing how it can become a future brand.
Aside from funding, Hawaii Angels are also very active when it comes to mentorship programs. Throughout the year, they hold several mentorship programs and business workshops to guide startups and help them grow.
For instance, Hawaii Angels have started their Mentor Hawaii program, a signature mentorship program of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii Young Professionals Program (YP).
Other than its mentorship programs, Huwaii Anglels also organizes many accelerator programs like the “FoundHer” accelerator program that boosts women entrepreneurs and helps them seek funding for their startups.
The investment range of Hawaii Angels ranges from $300,000 to $2.5M, depending on the startup. Some of their previously funded startups include;
Kiana Analytics: A cloud-based smart facility management solution.
Neural Analytics: A startup that used artificial intelligence to transcranial Doppler ultrasound, capturing blood flow data.
Selly: A modern Automotive CRM & communication platform that allows dealerships to manage leads, text messages, and calls.
Ibis Networks: Now known as WattIQ, the startup provides plug-level energy monitoring and control to solve energy-related problems.
Website: Reef Capital Partners
Investor Type: Venture Capital Firm
Investment Interests: E-commerce, Tech, Consumer Products.
Reef Capital Ventures, founded by Christian O. Edler in 2014, is another Venture Capital firm that invests in Honolulu's tech and healthcare ecosystem.
In the previous 3 years, Reef Capital Ventures has raised almost $1.5B for 7 startups. They actively invest in startups as long as they show high growth potential with a unique idea.
The screening tests of Reef Capital Ventures are rigorous. They analyze different factors of a startup that may impact its growth potential during the questioning stage.
Once the startup passes these screening tests, the firm provides them with the required funding and best guidance.
As for public mentorship and accelerator programs, there are no previous records of Reef Capital Ventures.
Currently, the Venture Capital Firm provides startups with an investment ranging from $500,000 up to several million dollars and even does fundraising, utilizing their extensive network of investors.
Some of their portfolio companies include ;
AreaMetrics: AreaMetrics provides geo-location data that powers insights for marketers and brands.
WattIQ: WattIQ is an enterprise-grade company that connects thousands of unconnected electrical assets, allowing for the first time to monitor utilization, condition, and location.
Vantage Enterprise: The startup is a tech-related company mainly providing electronic hardware and software solutions.
ReadyCart: ReadyCart is a social commerce platform that allows publishers to link a shopping cart to their content, filled with relevant products.
Investor Type: Individual Angel Investor
Investment Interests: Tech, consumer products
Started funding startups in 2015; Doug Schatz is a famous name in the art industry. He has been a musician, a sculptor, and now an individual angel investor who loves to fund different startups.
Ever since the inception of his funding career, Schatz has always provided funding to deserving startups that had the potential to impact the markets. Even during his screening tests, Doug Schatz strictly focuses on startups that have high chances of growth potential.
Aside from his investing career, Doug also hosts numerous mentorship programs and accelerator programs to guide individuals about challenges faced by early-stage startups.
The investment range of Doug Schatz ranges from $200,000 up to several million dollars.
Some of his previous investments include:
Ampt: Ampt is a privately held company serving the global solar market to optimize systems, lower costs, and increase energy production.
VERICATCH: Vericatch is a catch reporting and seafood traceability software.
Solayer: Solayer provides thin film deposition and surface treatment. They support customers from process development to industrial production in the fields of Precision Optics, Optoelectronics, Sensors, and Emerging Technologies.
In a nutshell, angel investors love to fund startups that can generate high profits and stand out in the markets.
But, you might be thinking, how do I show the potential of my startup to angel investors?
Generally, investors are more likely to fund a startup that they know about. That brings in the importance of networking and getting a warm introduction to angel investors.
Wrapping up, just remember that you are pitching the right way and pitching to the investors with identical business interests to secure the funding.
A: Early-stage startups are newly established businesses with a limited market presence, a small team, and innovative product or service ideas. These ventures are at the initial stages of development, seeking to validate their concept, secure funding, and gain traction within the market.
A: Yes, Honolulu holds the potential to become a startup hub. This is because of its geographic location that offers proximity to Asia Pacific markets, creating international partnerships.
Moreover, the city also has a great startup ecosystem, with co-working spaces and accelerators, creating collaboration and innovation.
A: To get a warm introduction to angel investors, make relationships within your professional network.
Search for mutual connections or mentors who can vouch for your credibility and introduce you. Attend industry events, workshops, or startup networking gatherings to expand your network.