How the Tradition of Aloha is Delivering SDG Progress in Hawaiʻi

By MJ Altman on June 17, 2021 American Leadership on the SDGs   People across America are using the Sustainable Development Goals as a road map to recover better by turning these global ambitions into local action. In Hawaiʻi,

5 Ways to Boost Local Innovation

By Tarik Sultan and Omar Sultan for Hawaii Business Magazine Authors say Hawai‘i can help build a vibrant and diverse economy in the 21st century with a coordinated effort by business and government. Visitor numbers keep setting records year after

Two Hawaii Execs Selected to National List of Influential Young Executives

By Olivia Peterkin – Web Editor, Pacific Business News Oct 17, 2019, 7:10am HST   Isar Mostafanezhad, founder and CEO of Nalu Scientific, and Tarik Sultan, co-founder and managing partner of Sultan Ventures, have been selected for a national list

The Female Factor

By Katarina Matayoshi for Hawaii Business Magazine Does a founder’s gender shape the evolution of a startup? Three female founders reflect on how being a woman has defined their businesses. You’ve probably heard enough intriguing founders’ stories to know that

Greening the Concrete Jungle

Hawai‘i is introducing a new form of concrete that reduces greenhouse gas emissions It’s trivia night and the question is: “What’s the most abundant man-made material on the planet?” Would you guess plastic? Paper? Steel? If you think about the

Three Ways to Drive Innovation at Your Business

Three Ways to Drive Innovation at Your Business By Tarik Sultan for Hawaii Business Magazine How a trio of Hawai‘i’s Top 250 organizations stays ahead with innovations The pace of business has accelerated in a world where the internet never

Local Startups Ride the Wellness Wave

Local Startups Ride the Wellness Wave By Tarik Sultan for Hawaii Business Magazine From Silicon Beach to Wall Street, health and wellness is the hottest new frontier for tech ventures. Heavy-hitter companies like Amazon, JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway, Google, Apple

How Tech Is Re-Shaping Real Estate

How Tech Is Re-Shaping Real Estate By Tarik Sultan for Hawaii Business Magazine Two Hawai‘i-based startups are using property technology – “PropTech” – to drive innovation in condos and other buildings We are living in the rising Third Wave of

Do It for the Gram

Do It for the Gram By Tarik Sultan for Hawaii Business Magazine   Think of Instagram as a brand lab to test products and ideas Instagram has emerged as a vital (and potentially lucrative) marketing channel that not only drives

University of Hawaii’s Nationally Recognized Accelerator Selects Sixth Cohort

XLR8UH, the multi-phase education and investment program designed to help grow University of Hawaiʻientrepreneurs and startups, has selected four companies for the program’s sixth cohort. More than 100 companies applied across multiple UH campuses. The teams are eligible for up

Sensor Tech, Collaborative Workplace Startups Part of XLR8UH’s 6th Cohort

XLR8UH, the University of Hawaii’s nationally recognized startup program, has named four technology startups to its sixth cohort. The four companies are working on developing sensor technology, collaborative meeting environments and gift-wrap for digital items. They were chosen from more

University of Hawai‘i’s Accelerator Selects 6th Cohort

XLR8UH, the multi-phase education and investment program designed to help grow University of Hawaiʻi entrepreneurs and startups, has selected four companies to participate in the program’s sixth cohort. Recognized in 2017 by Forbes as one of the top 30 accelerator

Startup Weekend Maui Workshop Attendees Learn Common Pitfalls That Cause Businesses to Fail

If there was one key lesson Hawaii attendees took away with them during last night’s Startup Weekend Maui workshop, “Lean Startup Canvas,” it was know thy customer. Presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), the hands-on workshop led by Omar

Inside The Innovator’s Mindset

by Stefan Opsal XLR8HI launched their speaker series in front of a filled space at Hālau ‘Īnana on September 26th (mahalo to Education Incubator for hosting us!). XLR8HI’s Talk Story featured Richard Tedlow, renowned historian, Harvard professor, and Silicon Valley

Unplugged Conversation: Making Innovation Work For Women & Girls

By Katarina Poljakova #sheinnovates Hawaii Sultan Ventures associate Kate Poljakova represented SV on the innovation panel at the #sheinnnovates Honolulu event held at Hawaii Pacific University on September 17. #sheinnovates is an initiative under the UN Women’s Global Innovation Coalition

All Aloha Accelerator Meet Up

By Tarik Sultan, Co-founder of Sultan Ventures   Last Friday evening, Startup Paradise convened at Ka Waiwai, a beautiful coworking “Hawaiian Space where community, culture, and commerce intersect” for the All Aloha Incubator and Accelerator Meet Up, a new event

Failing Slow: Balancing Overoptimism and Overconfidence in Entrepreneurship

Overoptimism can kill. But in the world of entrepreneurship, overoptimism might very well be the life raft that helps you weather the roughest storms. While the barriers to entry for startups trying to break into the market can be quite

Expert Advice for Entrepreneurs: Lessons From The Startup Catalyst Podcast

Click here to read Lessons From The Startup Catalyst Podcast: Part 1   In Season 2, we asked accomplished founders and investors what advice they had for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here’s what they said: 1. Know yourself and know your unique

5 Ways To Promote Inclusivity In Your Daily Work-Life: Lessons From The Startup Catalyst Podcast

  Understatement: there’s a vast inclusivity gap in the startup world. Tech and startup cultures are known for their longstanding exclusivity, where the majority of founders and VCs are white men, and females and minorities are extremely underrepresented. Since Sultan

SV Travelogue Part 2: 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul

In April, I was on the tail end of my 2-month U.S. tour to meet with other startup champions when a chance invitation changed my course. I was lucky to get a last-minute, spontaneous invitation to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress,

SV Travelogue Part 1: Rise of The Rest, South by Southwest, & New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

Part of our work to drive innovation forward is exchanging knowledge with other startup ecosystems across the globe. In the first half of 2018 I set off on a multi-state tour to represent Sultan Ventures at various investor and ecosystem

Op-ed: Hawaii Should Continue to Embrace Innovation

Hawaii Should Continue to Embrace Innovation By Tarik Sultan, managing partner of Sultan Ventures and managing partner of XLR8UH, a nationally recognized startup program that invests in Hawaii’s top talent and research.   As a consumer, I look for five

Introducing The All-New Podcast: The Startup Catalyst Version 2.0

Today we’re excited to unveil the re-launch of our podcast “The Startup Catalyst” with a brand new season, a brand new host, Yasmin Dar, and a brand new podcast theme that we’re really passionate about. Season 2 is focused entirely

Immigrants Get The Job Done In Hawaii

Here’s who they are and what they contribute to the local economy. Immigrants have an outsized place in Hawaii’s history. In the 19th and early 20th centuries they came from Japan, China, Puerto Rico and the Portuguese Azores and sustained

Engine: Loss of net neutrality puts innovation at risk in Hawaii

Tarik Sultan, is a managing partner at Sultan Ventures based in Honolulu. The world of innovation is at an exciting point in time, unrivaled by anything we’ve ever seen before. The cost of launching a startup has never been cheaper

Star Advertiser: Loss of net neutrality puts innovation at risk in Hawaii

As the most isolated archipelago on Earth, Hawaii has long had a challenging economic riddle to solve: How does a group of remote islands in the middle of the Pacific participate in today’s global economy? The answer has depended on

XLR8UH named one of ‘The Best Startup Accelerators Of 2017’ by Forbes.

The Best Startup Accelerators Of 2017 by Alex Konrad , Forbes Staff. Covering venture capital, software and startups . Jun 7, 2017 The startup accelerator remains one of tech’s most popular ways to get a business up and running. But

Reversing Hawaii’s Brain Drain

Five steps local leaders are taking right now to persuade bright young kamaaina to stay home or come back By LiAnne Yu Tony Marzi is the kind of kamaaina that Hawaii’s business and community leaders hope will come home. The

XLR8UH Wins National Award For The Third Year In A Row

XLR8UH was named one of only 20 national winners of the U.S. Small Business Association’s (SBA) Growth Accelerator Fund competition. This marks the third year in a row that XLR8UH has won the competition, which includes a $50,000 cash award.


Event Description 2017 InnovateHER is a cross-cutting national prize competition aimed at unearthing innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families. From the pool of semi-finalist, The Small Business Administration (SBA) will select

XLR8UH Makes List of Best Startup Accelerator Programs of 2017

XLR8UH, the University of Hawaii’s accelerator program, was named one of the nation’s best startup accelerators of 2017. “This is great momentum for innovation and startups in Hawaii, the university and Startup Paradise,” said Omar Sultan, managing director of XLR8UH.

Master’s in Data Science Programs in Hawaii

Master’s in Data Science Programs in Hawaii The Aloha State may not be Silicon Paradise (yet), but it’s trying! To get you up-to-speed, we’ve put together a short guide to earning a HI data science degree. It has details on

Tarik Sultan, Founder of Sultan Ventures, on Overcoming Talent Deficits

Tarik Sultan is the Founder and Managing Partner of Sultan Ventures, an investment firm, and Founder and Managing Partner of XLR8UH, the University of Hawaii (UH) venture accelerator program is an active leader in the Hawaiian startup community and focused

Hawaiian Baby Food Concept Takes Top Prize at Startup Event

The Maui News Poi Belly, a Hawaiian on-the-go baby food concept company using locally sourced ingredients, took first place in the Startup Weekend Maui event, held from Friday to Sunday at the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei. Jody

Entrepreneurs Get a Dose of Inspiration at MEDB’s Three-Day Startup Weekend

Thirty would-be entrepreneurs hit the ground running for the fourth annual Startup Weekend Maui, which began Friday and culminates today at the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei. With the overarching theme of “the hardest part of starting up

Ask The Expert: How To Get Into An Accelerator

Q: I’m an independent entrepreneur with a great business plan. How do I get into an accelerator? A: First determine whether an accelerator is the right path for your startup. We get many teams looking for investment capital when they

Benefits of Lean Startup Methodology for Businesses Touted at Workshop

The old adage “If you build it they will come” flew out the door during Maui Economic Development Board’s “Business Model Canvas & Lean Startup Overview” workshop held on Feb. 15. In its place came the advice to all entrepreneurs

The Innovation Economy

Susan Yamada is the Executive Director of the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) located within the University of Hawaii’s Shidler College of Business. Omar Sultan is Managing Partner of Sultan Ventures and Founding Managing Director of XLR8UH. Kyle Chang

Hawaii start-ups swim with legislative sharks

Some “Hawaii Start-Ups” swam with the sharks at the State Capitol. Just like the hit ABC show “Shark Tank”, local entrepreneur’s pitched their innovative ideas. On the show “Shark Tank” start-ups hope to catch the eye of a billionaire investor.


  As a New Orleans college student in 2005, Tarik Sultan was on track for a career in medicine or research, like many in his family, when Hurricane Katrina hit. With the city in ruins, he had no idea how

Furikake Puff Maker Eyes Mainland Costcos

By Kathryn Mykleseth March 6, 2017 After 21 years of business in Hawaii, a family-run bakery and restaurant chain is working to sell some of its products on the mainland. Matcha macarons, the Big Boy deli sandwich and braised-duck dip

Lean Startup Methodology Touted at MEDB Workshop

The old adage, “if you build it they will come” flew out the door during Maui Economic Development Board’s “Business Model Canvas & Lean Startup Overview” workshop held on February 15th. In its place, came the advice to all entrepreneurs

#StartupsEverywhere: Tarik Sultan Interview

#StartupsEverywhere Profile: Tarik Sultan, Founder and Managing Partner of Sultan Ventures, Honolulu, HI This profile is part of #StartupsEverywhere, an ongoing series highlighting startup leaders in ecosystems across the country. This interview has been edited for length, content, and clarity.


Hawaii’s advantages and disadvantages make it a good place to experiment with ag technology and innovations. Imagine a world in which robots, drones and artificial intelligence plant, monitor, harvest, and deliver your food. This may sound like science fiction, but

Two Workshops Kick Off MEDB’s Startup Weekend Maui Series

The Maui Economic Development Board will offer two workshops in February as part of its 2017 Startup Weekend Maui Series. Entrepreneurs interested in jump-starting their new business or fine-tuning their existing business are encouraged to attend either or both of

State of Startup Paradise

The number of startups in Hawaii has increased from 18 in 2013 to 145 in 2016 and total capital (revenue and funding raised) jumped from $28 million in 2013 to over $252 million in 2016, according to a “snapshot report”

Hawaii’s Startup Scene

“To get Honolulu on par with vibrant startup communities, we need more companies emerging from Hawai‘i’s centers of excellence and more engagement from the corporate leaders.” —Tim Dick, Startup Capital Ventures Hawai‘i’s venture community has set its sights on leveraging

Hawaii Governor Will Propose $10 Million of State Budget Be Used to Help Build Innovation Sector

(TNS) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige has pledged to propose $10 million of the state budget be used to help build the innovation sector. Ige said he would request the funds be used for the state-run HI Growth Initiative, which

The Startup Catalyst Podcast: Wrapping Up a Fantastic Season

One thousand six hundred ninety. That is the amount of interview minutes we’ve recorded and published in our 30 total episodes (including bonus shows). That’s over 2.7 gigabytes worth of conversation, laughter, and yes, even some emotional moments. It’s been

And the Winners of UberPITCH Are…

A week ago, we held Hawaii’s first #UberPITCH event to promote and support our Startup Paradise ecosystem. Sultan Ventures was honored to partner with Uber on this great initiative and bring it to Oahu and Maui. The event took place

Maui investors looking for uber-good ideas

The only thing standing between a few Maui entrepreneurs and startup funding might be one 15-minute car ride. On Tuesday, aspiring business owners will get the chance to pitch their best ideas to 12 investors – nine on Oahu and

UberPITCH in Hawaii

  UBER PITCH IN HAWAII Every day Uber helps connect thousands of people to a reliable ride across Oahu and Maui. But that’s not all our technology can do. This month, we’re connecting riders with local industry experts from Sultan

Your Investor is Arriving In a Startup Paradise Uber Near You

The elevator pitch is that 30-second window entrepreneurs have to grab the attention of listeners and excite potential investors. The future of one’s company can hinge on the success or failure of your elevator pitch. We coach our startups that


The number of women in the workforce is close to surpassing that of men, yet the number of female venture capital partners dropped to a paltry six percent in 2014, down from 10 percent in 1999. To buck the trend,

Podcast Bonus Special Recap: Week of Blue Startups Cohort 7 Demo Day

Last week we interviewed three different CEO’s from Blue Startups Cohort 7. The podcasts are available on iTunes, Soundcloud, or your podcast catcher of choice. Check out the 3 interviews below! Also, if you happen to be in The Bay

The Startup Catalyst™ Podcast: 45-Days in Review

Reflecting back upon the approximately 1 and 1/2 months of the podcast, it’s been a wild ride! With about 10 guests under our belts, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some thoughts and statistics of the

Summer is No Time to Coast!

It’s officially summer. While so many of our thoughts zoom in on vacation plans, small business owners and entrepreneurs are staying busy, focusing on customer service, marketing, improving products and services to keep things heated up! There’s plenty of ideas

Garbage to Garden wins $100K Greenlight Maine prize

Garbage to Garden, the Portland-based company offering curbside composting, bested the competition Friday night to win the inaugural Greenlight Maine competition and its $100,000 top prize. The company, founded by Tyler Frank in 2012, has reached deep penetration in the

HVCA's State of the Startup Investment Industry in Hawaii

Each year, Hawaii Venture Capital Association has a “State of the Startup Investment Industry” talk with panel discussion and investor presentations reviewing and forecasting developments both locally and nationally. This year we were fortunate to attend and record the proceedings!

Startup venture accelerator XLR8UH announces fourth cohort

The University of Hawaiʻi selected 12 teams as finalists for the fourth cohort of its XLR8UH startup venture accelerator. The pioneering enterprises in this round include: paddleboards for the disabled, organic cookies using locally sourced ingredients, an app for concussion

MEDB offers free “Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit Bootcamp” workshop for Lanai residents

MEDB’s Innovation Series helps build foundations for business success KIHEI, Maui, Hawaii – June 1, 2016 – Lanai residents interested in starting a business or renewing their existing one are encouraged to attend a FREE two-day workshop, “Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit Bootcamp,”

Sultan Ventures Continues Commitment To Startup Weekend

This past weekend, Sultan Ventures Partner Omar Sultan participated as a judge in the Maui Startup Weekend Event hosted by the Maui Economic Development Board held at the Maui Tech Park. “Our company has been involved in every Startup Weekend

We've Launched a Podcast! Introducing The Startup Catalyst™ Podcast Show

We’re very excited to announce the launch of our very own startup podcast. We will be interviewing entrepreneurs and investors in Hawaii and around the globe! At Sultan Ventures, we believe in learning from others and the show is all

Civil Geeks: Boosting UH Entrepreneurs

A program helps turn ideas born at the University of Hawaii into new businesses Water recycling toilets, cancer treatments inspired by marine sponges, and a new way to measure the charge left in your cell phone batteries were among the

What is Slack and Why It is So Important for Your Business

I had the opportunity to present at the Digital Marketing Summit with a Dash of SaaS Conference in Honolulu today. In addition to hosting a Startup Panel with XLR8UH Portfolio Companies Comprendio and MeetingSift, as well as Brian Rabben from

The Best of the Launch NY LaunchHour Twitter Chat

Yesterday, I was invited to participate in the Launch NY LaunchHour Twitter chat with fellow Vilcap community members. We had a wonderful and vibrant conversation addressing some serious questions facing entrepreneurs and investors everywhere. The top tweets are embedded for

It Takes a Village … And a HUI – Midweek Article

We are very fortunate to have Christina O’Connor from Midweek write a story on the recent Vilcap announcement that we are joining with a group of innovators here in the state of Hawaii that was selected as part of the

Sultan Ventures Is Everywhere In Hawaii’s Tech Scene

Thanks to our friends at Civil Beat for covering us in a recent article. Thank you to Jason Rushin for the piece! See the full article on Civil Beat’s website. Civil Bytes: Sultan Ventures Is Everywhere In Hawaii’s Tech Scene

Sultan Ventures Leads Hawaii HUI To Be Part Of Inaugural VilCap Communities

We are honored to be a part of the VilCap Communities Program! See press release excerpt below and check out the Pacific Business News article covering the exciting news. – – Sultan Ventures, a boutique venture firm based in Honolulu,

XLR8UH Awarded $1M from Economic Development Association and University of Hawaii

XLR8UH, the University of Hawaii’s proof of concept center and venture accelerator, has received a $500,000 grant from the federal Economic Development Administration to strengthen its commercialization projects across the state. Matching funds are provided by the University proving their

XLR8UH receives $500K federal grant

XLR8UH, the University of Hawaii’s proof of concept center and venture accelerator, has received a $500,000 grant from the federal Economic Development Administration to strengthen its commercialization projects across the state. The grant was part of the 2015 Regional Innovation

UH accelerator awarded $500,000 to expand statewide outreach

  The University of Hawaiʻi’s proof of concept center/venture accelerator XLR8UH was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to expand its successful commercialization efforts statewide, including underserved rural communities on the neighbor islands. “We are

Proto HUB Honolulu Now Being Hosted at Sultan Ventures Offices Downtown

Sultan Ventures is proud to host the Proto HUB members in its downtown Honolulu Headquarters. Members have access to 1,500 square feet of co-working space as well as break-out rooms and a 12-member conference room. Guests are treated to spanning

XLR8UH Recognized by SBA as one of the Nation’s most Innovative Accelerators

We are incredibly proud to have XLR8UH recognized by the U.S. Small Business Association as an innovative accelerator program. See excerpt of the press release below: XLR8UH has been recognized as one of the nation’s most elite accelerators by the

Talk Story – Omar & Tarik Sultan

Hawaii Business Magazine Featured SV Partners Omar and Tarik Sultan in the May 2015 issue. See original article on the Hawaii Business Magazine website, and full copy included below: The Sultan brothers are a major new force in Hawaii’s venture

Hawaii-based Sultan Ventures hires three executives as it expands

Hawaii-based Sultan Ventures, a boutique venture firm focusing on early-stage startups and investments, has hired executives to head three areas — new ventures, strategic partnerships and investor relations. Meli James will head the new ventures department and will focus on

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