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XLR8 Seed Fund Innovation Capital Ecosystem Development Project
Honolulu, HI
Capital Challenge
Federal Share: $300,000
Local Match: $300,000

XLR8X, a 501c3, will expand upon the award-winning success of its XLR8® initiatives (XLR8UH®, a nationally ranked, top 30 venture accelerator, and XLR8HI®, Hawaii’s Entrepreneurship Center) to identify and invest in innovation-based companies via the launch of the XLR8 Seed Fund. The XLR8 Seed Fund is targeting a $10-20M fund that fills the critical need for seed funding in Hawaii. While Hawaii’s Regional Innovation Community has a few nationally ranked accelerators and vast commercialization potential in groundbreaking research and technological development, its productivity is stunted by a major funding gap: Hawaii currently has NO active seed funds to help scale and grow enterprises with high growth and high-quality job creation potential.

As a result, Hawaii-based startups are left with little to no option other than to travel 2,400 miles to the West Coast of the Continental U.S. for access to the closest source of funding – a capital and time-intensive process with limited results as investors tend to stick to their geographic region. The XLR8 Seed Fund will bridge this funding gap, investing in Hawaii companies primed for high growth and providing unprecedented access to capital for startups statewide, including the underserved/rural communities of the neighbor Hawaiian Islands. Within five years of its first investment, the XLR8 Seed Fund expects to have invested in ~27 seed-stage startups who in turn will have raised over $76 million of additional funding, creating over 100 high tech jobs, and fueling increased productivity of Hawaii’s Regional Innovation Community, Startup Paradise.

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