Luncheon Recap: Growing Hawaii’s Innovation Economy

HVCA Special Event

“Growing Hawaii’s Innovation Economy”

HVCA is proud to announce the success of the Annual Best Practices Symposium event with support from the HiGrowth Initiative and Hawaii Business Roundtable.

Hawaii Business Roundtable 

A presentation made by the Hawaii Business Roundtable of their upcoming Hawaii Innovation Assets Report. This report identified Hawaii’s current innovation assets and highlights the importance of growing the research and innovation sector to generate future economic growth.

Keynote by Enrico Moretti

A keynote speech made by Professor Enrico Moretti, author of The New Geography of Jobs, on the importance and role of the innovation sector in generating economic growth and new jobs in the economy.

Panel Discussion 

A panel discussion with audience Q&A about what was working, what was not working and what more could be done to grow Hawaii’s innovation sector.

This was a great opportunity to network with the innovation community at the new ProtoHUB while enjoying light pupus and drinks.


Rich WackerRichard Wacker is the President & Chief Executive Officer of American Savings Bank. Rich joined ASB in 2010 and leads the management team responsible for growing the bank’s business to better serve Hawaii’s retail and business customers. He also serves as a director of the bank. Prior to joining American Savings Bank, Rich was Chairman of Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), the fifth largest Korean commercial bank. In 2008, Rich was recognized as one of Korea’s “Most Respected CEOs.

Tina Fitch was a co-founder and served as CEO of Switchfly, the world’s most comprehensive, global software-as-a-service travel and loyalty platform, powering over $1.25bn in commerce annually. She grew the company from inception to operations in over 50 countries and 25 languages, connecting to over 300,000 suppliers, and working with blue-chip clients in financial services, travel and the top loyalty programs and credit providers in the US. Tina has raised over $25m in angel, debt and venture funds for technology interests and over $250m across other sectors.

Bubs Monsef was born and raised on the Big Island, Bubs is a successful startup founder that’s worked around the world and has come home to Hawaii to raise his family and help the local tech scene grow. He’s a founder and managing partner of, a local non-profit focused on entrepreneurship and innovation with Hawaii’s youth.  Bubs’ last startup,, was acquired by Autodesk in early 2014.  Based out of San Francisco, with total funding of $2.3 million, Creative Market was backed by Atlas Venture, Charles River Ventures, 500 Startups, and others. 

Dan Leuck is the CEO of Ikayzo, a software development and interactive design firm servicing customers including Sony, Nomura, PIMCO, Oracle and the federal government. He is also the Chairman and cofounder of Contix, an Ikayzo spin-out that provides social media analytics for finance customers. Dan is the coauthor of the latest edition of O’Reilly’s Learning Java, one of the most widely read books on the world’s most popular enterprise programming language. Previously, Dan served as SVP of R&D for ValueCommerce, Asia’s largest web advertising platform.

Michael J. O’Malley is a Partner at Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel and represents for-profit, nonprofit and healthcare clients in their initial organization and structuring, business dealings, merger and acquisition transactions, infrastructure, capital and other financings, regulatory compliance, tax planning and proceedings before tax authorities, and also addresses issues of corporate governance and fiduciary duty.