We are focused on recruiting capital efficient and scalable technology companies, including web, software, and mobile. In addition, the program is targeting companies in particular sectors including travel technology and gaming technology – with a strong preference for B2B solutions. We recruit from Hawaii, Asia and North America and are particularly interested in companies addressing both East and West markets.
Blue Startups follows the mentor-driven approach pioneered by techstars. Lean product development and go-to-market strategies are emphasized throughout the program and access to our extended international network is encouraged:
- Up to 10 companies per session.
- 14-week intensive full-time program.
- A network of more than 100 mentors reaching from Asia to Silicon Valley.
- One-on-one assigned lead mentor based on sector expertise.
- Cohort working space in the heart of downtown Honolulu’s business district.
- One week of intensive networking and pitching in the Bay Area.
- Startup Paradise demo day in Honolulu, Investor event in the Bay Area.
- Top-tier global partners provide free and reduced services to our companies.
- GAN membership provides access to over $800,000 in free perks offered by over 400 of the best vendors in the world.
Blue Startups invests up to $100,000 in each company that comes through the program.
- $25,000 up front investment, space, education, perks, mentorship and business development services for 3-10% equity.
- Up to $75,000 in follow on funding per company.
The curriculum will be tailored to each individual company needs to the extent possible. A general outline of the program follows:
- Phase 1 – “Customer and Company”: This phase is focused on finding the right customer-product fit. Sessions will be focused on customer discovery through lean startup methodology. There will also be time for teams to meet as many mentors as possible via “mentor dating”. By the end of this phase teams should have found their lead mentors.
- Phase 2 – “Product and Market”: Teams will then focus on product development. This is the time to leverage the knowledge gained in the first month. Outside distractions and sessions will be kept to a minimum while teams work with their lead mentors and technical experts. For the duration of the program there will be weekly check-ins, group sharing on progress, and speed testing.
- Phase 3 – “Traction and Pitch”: Growth hacking and marketing strategies will be explored and tested in this phase. Sessions will also be held to coach teams on pitching and teams will practice repeatedly with staff, peers, and mentors. Refining the pitch is very important to the success of the program.
We are a member of the GAN, an invite-only community of the world’s most respected organizations that provide startups with the best resources to create and grow their businesses, wherever they are. Startups accepted into a GAN accelerator have access to a variety of exclusive perks including over $1M worth of free services, introductions to a network of investors and access to soft landing spaces worldwide.
Technology-based companies that can scale quickly and have global market potential. Examples include SaaS, mobile apps, gaming, and data analytics. We are not looking for small businesses or businesses that are only focused on serving the Hawaii market.
13 weeks in Honolulu followed by 1 week in Silicon Valley.
We do expect at least 1 founder to be here in Hawaii and in the office for the duration of the program. The remainder of the team can reside elsewhere but this is not ideal. Ideally your core team (3-4 people) will participate and be in the office.
We expect all teams to work on-site at the Blue Startups space in downtown Honolulu. At a minimum you should be here at least 5 hours a day. All teams are also expected to participate in all planned activities including workshops, mentor meetings, peer-to-peer meetings and social events. Failure to participate will impact your team’s ability to participate in Demo Day at the conclusion of the program.
We invest $25,000 upfront into each team accepted into the program; $25,000 note based on milestones achieved; and up to $50,000 in follow up funding.
How much equity will you take of my company in exchange for the cash, space, education, mentorship and business development services?
Equity requirement is based upon the stage of the company and ranges from 3-10% in each company in the program. Due to this funding structure, you must be incorporated as a c corp to participate.
We reserve the right to participate in follow on funding rounds up to $50,000 when the following criteria are met: 1) the company has acquired an outside lead that has negotiated the terms of funding; and 2) the funding round has been 2/3 filled by outside investors.
We expect all companies to keep us apprised of major developments as they evolve. At a minimum we expect quarterly financial reports and company updates including details on subsequent financing rounds and valuations. We also encourage graduates to stay closely connected with us as alumni – continuing to visit the program on a regular basis to offer advice to our cohorts and build a vibrant entrepreneurial community in the space. We may have space available for co-working arrangements following graduation.