Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. Image credit: Tomas del Amo / Shutterstock
Hawaii is a paradise not just for the tourists looking to walk along its picturesque beaches, but for businesses too.
The Aloha State is home to Startup Paradise, a rising technology community consisting of incubators, accelerators, investment funds, and startup organizations looking to make Hawaii a destination for startups. Between 2010 and 2018 at least $468 million of venture capital was invested in companies that were founded in the state or participated in local accelerators. While this amount is just a fraction of what is invested in California-based startups each year, it speaks volumes about what can be accomplished in the middle of the Pacific.
But many challenges still remain for local startups, as the limited talent and funding pools coupled with a high cost of doing business have pushed promising ventures to relocate to the mainland.
For those that stay, there are ample opportunities to disrupt some of the islands’ main industries including tourism, agriculture, and energy. There are also opportunities to address issues that plague the area’s growing elderly population with new tools, as nearly 27% of older couples in Hawaii are at risk of financial insecurity.
Keep on reading to discover five disruptive startups that call Hawaii home.
Founded in 2016, aXessPoint set out to bring efficiency to property management through an app designed to save property managers time and money by automating manual tasks and improving communication between them and their residents. The company allows users to send push notifications about upcoming maintenance, post forms for residents to read, allow residents to schedule amenity use, make payments, and a whole lot more. aXessPoint ended 2020 on a strong note by signing a deal to expand out to the U.S. mainland and provide services to over 700 properties across California, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Florida beginning in 2021.
Shaka Guide offers the highest-rated Hawaii travel app in the App Store and Google Play store. The company’s tours include turn-by-turn directions to popular sites and local gems as well as a wealth of authentic storytelling and music by local artists. With over 20 audio tours, Shaka Guide offers a service that is well suited to the new normal spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, as tourists could look to avoid overcrowded tours in favor of their own expeditions.
Blue Planet Energy
Blue Planet Energy is on a mission is to make carbon-based fuels a thing of the past and power the world with clean, reliable, and affordable energy. Through years of research and testing on the Big Island of Hawaii, Blue Planet Energy has created a safe and powerful energy storage product with a low lifetime cost of ownership. In 2020, the company built out new project financing offerings and announced an expanded premium energy storage product line, setting it up for a big 2021.
Nest Egg Guru
Born out of frustration with existing retirement planning calculators, Nest Egg Guru’s web-based applications allow financial advisors to more realistically stress-test clients’ savings and spending strategies and illustrate the impact of changing factors that are within their clients’ control. The company also offers tools to a free version of its savings technology for consumers that has functionality well beyond most free online calculators. These kinds of tools have the power to catch on with a wider set of consumers as they wonder how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their ability to retire.
Founded in Honolulu, Smart Yields is a robust analytics platform that provides critical crop protection alerts and real-time monitoring to enhance yields by combing through a mix of real-time monitoring, data analytics, and digital agronomy. into a simple and intuitive mobile app. Designed for use in the field, the startup’s mobile app allows small- to medium-sized independent farms to embrace IoT technology to improve and safeguard their businesses.
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