Smart Yields, led by lead founder Vincent Kimura, was named the winner of the first ever “Pitch the Capitol” event, held at the Hawaii State Capitol earlier this week.
The fast-paced, “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition was designed to showcase #StartupParadise, Hawaii’s innovation and startup ecosystem. The “sharks” included state Rep. Derek Kawakami, Sen. Glenn Wakai, Donovan Kealoha of Startup Capital Ventures and Steve Markowitz of Hawaii Angels.
Smart Yields was one of three local startups chosen to participate.
“These budding entrepreneurs got the opportunity to pitch their startup businesses that were created right here in Hawaii to the ‘sharks,'” Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Facebook. “Congratulations Smart Yields for winning this year’s ‘#StartupParadise Pitch the Capitol’ event! We want to also congratulate Pono Home; iFirst Medical Technologies for giving great pitches as well.”
“I was impressed by the caliber of the companies, their pitches and Q&A,” Markowitz wrote on Facebook. “Congrats to Vincent Kimura and Smart Yields on the win… further congrats to Pono Home and iFirst Medical Technologies for their strong showings.”
He added: “Hawaii as #StartupParadise has come a long way in a few short years!”
The pitch event follows the “Startup Paradise Walk Around the Capitol,” which introduced many Hawaii entrepreneurs and their locally-born companies to lawmakers.
In his most recent State of the State address, Hawaii Gov. David Ige called for $30 million over the next six years to support innovation enterprises through the continuation of the HI Growth Initiative. The announcement was a welcome boost of support and vote of confidence in the innovation sector, which is supported by a large and broad contingent across the State and recognized as a major driver of our future economy.