Episode 18: Lauren Primiano, Managing Member at Reef.VC


Lauren discusses her startup and investing journey, being a competitive wrestler and Hawaii’s startup community

Lauren has had a diverse career to date, working with various companies and agencies. She’s been an early startup employee in several medical and early stage companies, helped on the investor and community side with roles at HSDC and now mbloom / Reef vc.

In the interview, we talk about how her wrestling focus has impacted her career (yes she wrestled in high school and yes she’s pretty competitive), We get into some of the exciting companies and projects she’s worked on, her tips on how to approach economic stimulus (so if you’re in a small tech community looking to replicate some of the models, she’s got your playbook) and we also get into the story of mbloom and where that story is at today from her perspective.

Lauren is the exact kind of talent and individual this community needs: smart and hungry. Someone who wants to get things done and make a difference. So get to know one of Hawaii’s bright lights in the startup ecosystem and enjoy our conversation with Lauren Primiano.


1:50 – Working in the Chinatown ROC office

4:03 – Lauren’s background in wrestling

7:30 – Studying industrial engineering at Northwestern

11:34 – Lauren’s shift toward entrepreneurship

16:14 – Lauren’s key findings

19:07 – How Lauren ended up back in Hawaii

21:43 – The attractiveness of the startup industry

24:04 – Why Lauren left startups and joined HSDC

29:19 – Some of the early work that Lauren did at HSDC

33:41 – Why to invest in accelerator programs?

36:32 – The best ways to invest in the local community

39:30 – Some tips on how Lauren determines the needs of a community

43:22 – Luke briefly discusses his startup story

46:50 – What inspired Lauren to work at mbloom

49:47 – Interesting anecdotes from Maui Tech night

52:59 – Where Reef Capital Ventures is at today, transition from mbloom

59:25 – How Lauren stays focused everyday

1:02:24 – Lauren’s Modus Operandi

1:05:02 – What’s currently missing from Hawaii’s startup community

1:07:33 – Rapid Fire Q&A: What is your favorite thing about Hawaii, favorite beach, best podcasts you listen to, startup founder or investor you admire, what advice would you give year 20-year old self, final tips for entrepreneurs