Big Island Company Finalist in Entrepreneurial Competition

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Blue Ocean Mariculture website image.

The Hawaii Venture Capital Association recently announced the finalists in 12 categories honoring Hawaiʻi’s entrepreneurs from across the state, including Todd Madsen of Blue Ocean Mariculture, an open ocean mariculture company operating out of Kailua-Kona.

Blue Ocean, which is one of three nominees for the “Island Innovator of the Year” category,  is dedicated to the sustainable, responsible production of marine finfish in Hawai‘i, focusing on kampachi, according to the company’s website.

“With our sister company, OceanSpar, we are defining the technology, tools and techniques for successful, sustainable open ocean mariculture in the United States,” the site states.

These annual awards are a hallmark event for HVCA, which also holds a monthly, curated luncheon event where members and guests discuss the latest trends and developments in Hawai‘i’s business community that impact the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

A panel of judges including representatives of the entrepreneurial community and business, professional and community leaders selected the finalists from the largest number of nominations to date.


“These individuals exemplify the qualities of successful entrepreneurs who are developing astute business models of local and global relevance. All of the finalists are visionaries and have the passion, drive and talent to have taken their ideas and launched innovative businesses,” said Meli James, HVCA president. “This event encapsulates the great local successes showcasing the momentum of Startup Paradise.”

The winners in each of the categories and the Deal of the Year, Investor of the Year and Startup Paradise Champion of the Year will be announced at the HVCA Gala Awards Ceremony, from 6-9:30 PM at the Waialae Country Club on February 23.

2017 HVCA Award Finalists

Entrepreneur of the Year
Hobnob, Tina Fitch
Jetset ESL, Bianca Tubolino
Ibis Networks, Michael Pfeffer

Tech Entrepreneur of the Year
Kapalya, Sudesh Kumar
Activiter, Ikaika Sheehan
Algoritics, Alex Cabello


Social Impact Entrepreneur of the Year
The Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, Katie Chang
Purple Mai’a, Donavan Kealoha, Kelsey Amos, Olin Lagon
KMBCo, Kainoa McGee

Clean Tech/Ag Entrepreneur of the Year
Manoa Botanicals, Brian Goldstein
RealGreen Power, Dennis Furukawa
Kunoa Cattle Company, Jack Beutell / Bobby Farias, Jr.

Life Science Entrepreneur of the Year
iFirst Medical, Luke Joseph
Kineticor, Jeffrey Yu
Cythera Pharmaceuticals, Andrea Fleig

Student Entrepreneur of the Year
Herbavore, Rob Saito
HealthTechApps, Inc., Kyle N. Chang
Bánan, Zak Barry, Matthew Hong and Luke Untermann

People’s Choice Startup of the Year
Maui Cookie Lady
Smart Yields
Jetset ESL
Shaka Tea


Island Innovator of the Year
Blue Planet Energy, Henk Rogers
RealGreen Power, Dennis Furukawa
Blue Ocean Mariculture, Todd Madsen

Corporate Intrapreneur of the Year
Oceanit, Ian Kitajima
Hawaiian Electric Company, Dora Nakafuki, PhD
Kamehameha Schools, Stacy Clayton

Cost for tickets range from $25 from $1,500.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the HVCA Gala on Feb. 23, visit:

About HVCA

Since its founding in 1988, the Hawaii Venture Capital Association has served as a catalyst and beacon in the heart of the Pacific for entrepreneurship, venture capital activity and growth. To learn more, visit

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