Read the original article by Anna Hrushka of Pacific Business News here.
Henk Rogers, founder of Blue Startups
Honolulu-based business accelerator Blue Startups has revealed the list of the eight companies accepted into its eighth cohort.
The list includes two fantasy sports platforms, two apps designed to improve communication between property owners and their guests or residents, a subscription-based online yoga resource, an automobile buying and selling platform, a hotel marketplace specializing in suites and a real estate crowdfunding platform.
Blue Startups told Pacific Business News on Wednesday that it received a record 350 applicants for its latest program.
Each business will be given $25,000 up front and have the opportunity to receive a total investment of $100,000 from the startup accelerator. Each can pitch for an additional $25,000 at the end of the cohort and can ask Blue Startups for another $50,000 after the program if the business is able to raise $250,000 separately with a lead investor.
Blue Startups Program Director Jared Kushi said Hawaii makes strategic sense for many of the companies in the program.
“Strategic interest in Hawaii includes access to Asian markets, hospitality industry and gaming interests, leveraging our relationship with Tetris,” Kushi said. Blue Startups co-founder Henk Rogers owns the rights to the iconic video game.
“We are very excited about this cohort coming from all over the world — Tel Aviv (Israel), Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), San Francisco — and four companies from Hawaii including a company from Maui, as we want to reach out to more Neighbor Island entrepreneurs,” Kushi said.
The public can meet representatives of the new round of startups during an open house on Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will take place at Blue Startups’ headquarters in Downtown Honolulu at 55 Merchant St., Suite 1700.
Here are the eight companies that Blue Startups selected for its eighth cohort:
The Condo App
The Condo App attempts to cut out the paper trail between property owners and their residents through the use of its mobile app. The app allows managers to send push notifications to residents, make important documents available and showcase property or events through videos and photos. The app lets residents reserve recreation areas, register their guests’ vehicles and request maintenance to their units. According to the Hawaii-based company’s website, it already lists Imperial Plaza, 1717 Ala Wai and the Hokua as clients.
Hostfully is another platform designed to make communication easier for property owners. Based in San Francisco, Hostfully targets people who’ve listed their homes on multiple home-sharing platforms and allows them to create guidebooks for their guests. The platform’s home information section gives guests access to step-by-step instructions, photos and videos of a home’s unique features.
Tel Aviv-based Draft Fantasy is a free fantasy sports league for fans of the English Premier League, the U.K.’s top tier soccer league. Users can join existing leagues or create their own public or private leagues.
Virtual Fantasy League
Vancouver-based Virtual Fantasy League combines in-game play with real-world sporting events. On its website, the company says it “has developed a proprietary analytics and scoring system with patent-pending real-world gamification technology.”
Mojo Yoga is a subscription-based online yoga resource based in Maui that gives instructors access to a global audience. Yogis can stream classes as well as receive personalized feedback from teachers by sending in their own videos. Among the company’s goals is to give yoga instructors a chance to build residual income by posting their classes online.
Suite3Sixty is an online travel agency specializing in hotel suites. The platform, co-founded by Associa Hawaii President Doug Hesley, includes local clients such as the Sheraton Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider.
Also based in Hawaii, RoxyCar is a buying and selling platform that allows users to place bids on vehicles from over 1,000 live wholesale auctions in real time. Users can have cars shipped directly to their doorsteps, complete with a factory warranty and money-back guarantee.
RealtyReturns is a crowdfunding platform where investors can invest in individual properties for relatively little money. Users can sign all legal documents and invest online in under 10 minutes. According to its site, the San Francisco-based platform “allows investors to participate with less capital than most REITs [real estate investment trusts] require.” RealtyReturns aims to cut out the middlemen, therefore reducing overall fees. The site offers minimum investments as low as $1,000.