Episode 08: Chenoa Farnsworth, Managing Director of Blue Startups and Hawaii Angels


Chenoa discusses startup culture, Hawaii’s global startup paradise brand and what she looks for in an investment

Chenoa Farnsworth is the managing director of Blue Startups, a top 20 U.S. Accelerator, located in Honolulu, Hawaii. She also manages the Hawaii Angels investment network, which has invested over $40 million in startup companies. In 2006, she co-founded Kolohala Ventures, a Hawai‘i-based venture capital firm that invested $50 million into Hawai‘i-based technology start-ups. Prior to that she provided strategy development and business planning consultation for start-up companies and high-growth businesses through her company Farnsworth Consulting. Farnsworth has served the community as chair of the Women’s Fund of Hawai‘i, director of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, director of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Hawaii, director of the Impact HUB Honolulu, and judge and coach for the University of Hawai‘i business plan competition. Farnsworth earned a BA in political science from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an executive MBA from the University of Hawai‘i.


Books Mentioned

Angel Investing by Mark Van Osnabrugge and Robert Robinson

The Startup Communities by Brad Feld

The Shark Diologues by Kiana Davenport

Podcasts Mentioned

James Altucher Podcast

TED Radio Hour

Entrepreneurs Mentioned

Rob Robinson

Henk Rodgers

David Cohen

Karl Fooks

Rechung Fujihira

Tiffany Quezada

Dave McClure

Companies Mentioned

Kolohala Ventures

Box Jelly



Foundations and Conferences Mentioned

Blue Planet Foundation

Global Accelerator Network (GAN)

East meets West Conference


2:48 – Moving to a Macadamia nut farm at 14

4:59 – Working at the legislature on Oahu

5:48 – Chenoa’s journey from Politics to Tech

9:48 – Helping to start Hawaii’s first angel investing network

14:50 – Kolohala Ventures funds

19:04 – Chenoa recounts act 221

22:05 – How Blue Startups began

29:00 – Coming up with the Wildcard idea

33:15 – The future of Hawaii’s startup culture

37:15 – What Entrepreneurs can learn from the Aloha Spirit

40:56 – Where Hawaii’s startup community currently sits

42:50 – Chenoa’s motivation for building a diversified economy

45:50 – Hawaii’s contribution to the international startup scene

49:43 – What Chenoa looks for when making an investment

54:50 – Rapid Fire Q&A: Favorite thing about Hawaii, favorite beach, favorite blog or podcast, book you’ve read or gifted the most, something you believe to be true that no-one else believes to be true, something in your career that you’re really proud of, who has inspired you in your career, final tips for investors or entrepreneurs