Hawaii’s Startup Paradise Demo Day gives companies a chance to pitch investors

Hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors and companies that support startup businesses will gather at the Sheraton Waikiki on Wednesday for the 2013 Hawaii VC Summit and Startup Paradise Demo Day, hosted by Sultan Ventures and the Hawaii Strategic Development Corp.

The full-day event will include a crowdfunding workshop, a “Startup Paradise” panel discussion, lunch with keynote speaker Don Dodge of Google Ventures Advisor, financing case studies, and pitches by companies participating in the Blue Startups and Energy Excelerator programs.

I had the opportunity to get a sneak peak at the Blue Startups companies’ demos on Tuesday at the accelerator’s Skybox office at Harbor Court in Downtown Honolulu. They are the second cohort, or group, of companies to participate in the venture accelerator program founded by entrepreneur Henk Rogers.

Blue Startups Program Manager Meli James said the goal of Demo Day is to give the companies a platform to pitch to investors, and also to strengthen community support.

“We try to help them not have that expectation where you walk off stage and someone is handing you a check — because some people actually think that — but it’s starting the conversation, or the continuance of the conversation,” James said. “In terms of the community, we’re just getting started here. This effort and this ecosystem is budding and we need to continue to have the support.”

She added that Demo Day is an opportunity to showcase the companies to the community — including the mentors, investors and the state — that has come together to support Blue Startups.

The seven companies participating in Blue Startups will make six-minute pitches at the Demo Day portion of the event. They are: eSee/Rescue, Gibi, Happy Hour Pal, Ritify, SIFT, Workers On Call and XMAP.

“Mostly we want exposure for the companies and interest in the companies for various reasons, ranging from investment — but it doesn’t have to just be investors — people are looking for partnerships, customers, connections and leads, anything that can help these companies move forward from where they’re at,” said Blue Startups Managing Director Chenoa Farnsworth.

Three of the eight companies that participated in the accelerator’s first cohort — Volta Industries, Flo Water and Tealet —have raised a collective $3 million.

Blue Startups will begin accepting applications for its next cohort on Jan. 1.

Walk-in registration for the Demo Day is available.

See original Pacific Business News article by Stephanie Silverstein here.