Two Hawaii schools to use Smart Yields ag-tech through Whole Foods grants

Smart Yields

By Anna Hrushka, Pacific Business News
Posted April 25, 2017, 2:40pm HST

Two local schools in Hawaii will be using technology from Honolulu-based Smart Yields this upcoming school year after winning grants from Whole Foods (Nasdaq: WFM).

The supermarket chain has awarded two $2,000 grants to Lanakai School in Kailua and Koloa Elementary School on Kauai.

As part of the grant requirements, the schools must partner with a local business or organization for support. Honolulu-based Smart Yields will serve as a local partner for the two schools.

Lizzy Schiller, Smart Yields’ co-founder and head of education, told Pacific Business News the schools will use some of the grant money to utilize the Smart Yields app as well as purchase the ag-tech company’s sensors, which measure moisture and fertilizer levels in the ground.

Schiller said Smart Yields will donate time and energy to help the schools grow and tend to the edible gardens.

Schiller said Lanakai will also use the grant funds and Smart Yields technology to expand its existing eighth of an acre micro farm, while Koloa will be using the support to help grow its newly established garden.

“Working with the schools in this way and in any capacity really goes back to our longer-term vision, to educate and empower the next generation of leaders,” Schiller said.

Smart Yields said it will be expanding its education initiatives this year. Its its pilot schools Iolani and SEEQs will try to integrate the company’s technology into their curriculum.

The ag-tech company recently announced the launch of its newest version of its mobile app to 2,000 external beta users, while at Elemental Excelerator’s annual Interactive Week event in Silicon Valley.

The company was accepted into the Honolulu-based accelerator’s go-to-market track in February and will be launching its next seed round, raising $1 million.

Honolulu-based Blue Startups targets Japanese entrepreneurs with new partnership

By Anna Hrushka, Pacific Business News
Posted April 20, 2017, 2:20pm HST

Chenoa Farnsworth

TINA YUEN PBN.  Chenoa Farnsworth said Blue Startups is trying to target different foreign markets with specific programs.

Blue Startups just announced the seven startups that will participate in its ninth cohort.

Hawaii’s Blue Startups hopes a new partnership with a Japanese accelerator will encourage entrepreneurs in the Asian country to submit applications to join one of its future cohorts.

The Honolulu-based accelerator, which just announced the seven startups that will participate in its ninth cohort, said a partnership with 01Booster will hopefully result in Japanese companies applying for and completed its program.

“Japan is a unique market, it’s pretty focused on Japan as opposed to globally,” said Chenoa Farnsworth, managing partner for Blue Startups. “We’ve received applications from other Asian countries like Korea and Singapore, China and the Philippines, but Japan hasn’t really jumped in the global startup scene in a big way. We’re hoping we can help them reach that.”

Like most accelerators in Japan, Farnsworth said 01Booster is backed by corporations.

“What we’re talking to them about is probably doing some joint programming in the fall, specifically for Japanese entrepreneurs and Japanese intrapreneurs.”

Farnsworth said the accelerator is looking at holding a weeklong program at Blue Startups’ Honolulu headquarters that would instruct Japanese startups on about how to do business in the U.S. and how to market to U.S. customers.

“We’re trying to leverage our expertise and really target different foreign markets with specific programs for them,” Farnsworth said.

Farnsworth said the partnership will be mutually beneficial, with 01Booster also offering its expertise to Blue Startups companies that want to expand into Japan.

Farnsworth said 01Booster will also help promote Blue Startups through its corporate partners.

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Anna Hrushka
Reporter
Pacific Business News

Blue Startups Open House – Cohort #9

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Open House – Cohort #9

Join us on Thursday, April 27 at Blue Startups HQ to meet the companies of Cohort #9!
Here’s a great opportunity to talk story and network with founders and mentors,
and listen to each team pitch their company idea.

Free drinks and snacks provided.

Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017

Time: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Location: 55 Merchant Street, Suite 1700, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813