Tech Startup Paradise?

Feb 4, 2016

Chicken lamp by Sebastian Errazuriz: www.meetsebastian.com

Like many city and states across the country, Hawaii hopes to position itself as a paradise for tech start-ups.  As Pacific Business News has found, there may be another way forward.  Editor in Chief A. Kam Napier has more.

There’s been a concerted effort of the part of both the public and private sectors in Hawai‘i to create a sustainable tech startup environment.  There are a lot of good reasons to do so.  It would diversify the economy, create more high-paying tech jobs, and who knows, perhaps Hawai‘i could be home to the next Facebook.

There has been progress.  Hawai‘i is home to three incubators, five accelerators, six investment funds, and six start-up organizations.  However, a pattern has also emerged suggesting there’s a limit on how far Hawai‘i can go.  At a certain point, our fledging tech companies need to leave for the mainland to find major funding or to go public. 

Looming over all of this is the likelihood that financing for tech, in general, will get tighter now that interest rates are going up.

In this cover story, we spoke to tech leaders who think our natural role may be as a tech incubator rather than the next Silicon Valley…and that’s okay.  Local investors can still do well by securing an ownership stake in companies that go on to bigger markets.  And young talented tech entrepreneurs from the islands can still get the head start they need.  And there’s every possibility that some of them will return, bigger and better than ever to launch businesses here.