Hawaii Venture Capital Association

Serving Hawaii Since 1988

Hawaii is situated at the crossroads of East and West where a confluence of Pacific peoples, cultures, and ideas have been mixing for centuries.  Hawaii’s unique cultural environment and transnational ties make it a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.  Since its founding in 1988, the Hawaii Venture Capital Association (HVCA) has stood as a nexus for entrepreneurs, capital foundation, and networking opportunities in Hawaii.  Fostering entrepreneurship through education and exposure to prime members of our business community continues to be our goal as we strive to grow a vibrant and successful venture community.

HVCA holds a monthly luncheon event at the Plaza Club where members and guests are treated to a host of excellent speakers discussing the latest trends and developments in Hawaii’s growing Venture Capital industry.

In addition to the luncheon events, HVCA also hosts an annual Hawaii Entrepreneur of the Year & Venture Capital Deal of the Year Awards Gala, where both entrepreneurs and companies are honored for their achievements in Hawaii’s venture community.

Mission:   HVCA strives to serve as a catalyst and beacon in the heart of the Pacific for entrepreneurship, venture capital activity, and growth.

Board Of Directors

Meli James

Meli James

President

Meli James is the Head of New Ventures at Sultan Ventures, a boutique venture firm focused on early-stage startups and investments. She the Program Director and Entrepreneur in Residence at XLR8UH, a first of its kind Proof of Concept Center & Venture Accelerator – founded via partnership between the University of Hawaii & Sultan Ventures. XLR8UH has been recognized as one of nation’s most elite accelerators by the U.S Small Business Association (SBA).  XLR8UH is one of the first public university investment programs in the nation, revolutionizing the way innovation is commercialized at universities.

Meli is also the Founder of HonNewTech, a quarterly startup pitch event.

She is a serial entrepreneur with leading experience in mobile apps, web-based products and community building. Born and raised in Honolulu, Meli lived in Silicon Valley for over 10 years, where she co-founded and contributed to numerous start-ups in the Bay Area and Honolulu, including Nirvino – #1 ranked wine app, an Apple Platform Top 100 App, & Top Ten Lifestyles App.

Meli is a founding member of the Startup Paradise initiative helping to build a thriving startup community that nurtures collaboration and innovation in Hawaii. She is committed to establishing resources to grow talent and high-growth ideas.

In 2015 she was recognized by Hawaii Business Magazine as one of its 20 to Watch for the Next 20.

She is an alumna of and Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Cornell University and Punahou School.

Tarik Sultan

Tarik Sultan

Treasurer

Tarik is a Founding Partner at Sultan Ventures, a boutique venture firm focusing on early-stage startups and the 2014 Hawaii Venture Capital Association’s (HVCA) Investor of the Year. Additionally he is the Founder and Managing Partner of XLR8UH, the University of Hawaii’s (UH’s) proof-of-concept commercialization center focused on mentoring and investing in UH affiliated innovations and IP; Chair of Startup Hawaii, the regional chapter of Up Global (formerly Startup America); and Treasurer of the HVCA, a non-profit which seeks to foster entrepreneurial development through networking, education, and access to venture capital. Tarik has worked with, advised, and led several startups, most recently as Interim CFO of Ibis Networks, a venture backed cleantech startup focused on reducing energy consumption. Tarik holds a BS from Tulane University with a focus on Neuroscience and Cognitive Studies and an MBA from the Shidler College of Business.

Stewart Pressman

Stewart Pressman

Secretary

Stewart is a partner in the Honolulu law firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP, practicing in the corporate department and concentrating in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, venture capital transactions, private equity fund organization, securities law, and general corporate and business organization matters.

Bill Spencer

Bill Spencer

Former President

Bill lead the Hawaii Venture Capital Association from 1999 – 2013 and is a co-founder of the aquaculture venture, Hawaii Oceanic Technology, Inc

Chenoa Farnsworth

Chenoa Farnsworth

Board Member

Chenoa has more than 15 years experience in business strategy and private equity investing. Farnsworth is the managing director of the Hawaii Angels, Hawaii’s only angel capital investment network. In 2006, she co-founded Kolohala Ventures, a Hawai’i-based venture capital firm that has invested $50 million into Hawai’i-based technology start-ups.

Rob Robinson

Rob Robinson

Board Member

Founder of Hawaii’s angel investor network, the Hawaii Angels. Co-author of Angel Investing: Matching Startup Funds with Startup Companies. Award-winning author on business negotiation and conflict management, has over 20 years of experience in coaching companies in valuation and other negotiations.

HVCA Team

Sandy Shiraki

Sandy Shiraki

Administrator

Sandy Shiraki has been working with the Hawai’i Venture Capital Association (HVCA) as the Business Administrator since February 2015. Over the past 26 years, Ms. Shiraki has worked in the private and public sector with startups and well established corporations, delivering administrative, managerial, paralegal, accounting and banking services with such firms as Entrepreneurs Foundation of Hawai’i, Masaki School of Music, ClearFuels Technology, Inc., Sennet Capital LLC, CACI International Inc., Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher, The Pacific Law Group, The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel and American Savings Bank.

Mia Harrie

Mia Harrie

HVCA Lead Intern

Born in China and raised in Oregon, Mia is studying International Business, Finance, and Chinese at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. To push her entrepreneurship side, she is currently the President of the Hawaii Student Entrepreneurs Club (HSE) at UH and interning for Sultan Ventures. She loves sports, outdoor activities, playing piano, and building relationships with people. During the summer of 2015 she participated in a language immersion program in China.

Jacob Butters

Jacob Butters

HVCA Intern

Born in Kauai and raised on Oahu, Jacob earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Entrepreneurship from the University of Hawaii. He likes working in the laidback fast paced, startup paradise of Honolulu. When not geeking over financials and market research, Jacob can be found at one of the many surf spots of Oahu.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Show your leadership and capture the attention of target audiences as an exclusive or supporting sponsor of an HVCA event.  Work with us to develop a program or align with a topic or speaker in an existing program. Sponsorship not only supports relevant discussions in Hawaii about innovation and economic growth, but also launches your company name above the crowd, yielding business opportunities and general community acknowledgment and appreciation.

Sponsor benefits may include:

  • Display table in the foyer where your business development or marketing staff can interact directly with attendees, collect business cards, and distribute literature or giveaways
  • Complimentary seating and tables for your employees, guests, and prospects at the event
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Member and guest tickets to HVCA events
  • VIP seating
  • Access to VIP speaker receptions
  • HVCA assistance in extending VIP invitations and facilitating personal connections at the event
  • Recognition on HVCA event web page, event signage, email newsletters, and more

Sponsorship levels vary, depending upon the level and scope of a program.

To discuss opportunities and benefits or to learn which upcoming events are the best opportunities for your company, please contact Meli James, President, at 808-354-1238 or meli@hvca.org.