Hawaii’s Startup Paradise

Photo: David Croxford

Published in Hawaii Business Magazine (February 2015). 

Reif Tauati got the idea for his startup after visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for the first time since the second grade.

“I remember walking through the lava tube and hearing about how ancient Hawaiians stored poi and water there. But, when I returned recently, nobody was sharing those stories anymore. In Hawaiian, we call it wahi pana – the stories and culture of a place. When you understand these, you develop a stronger connection to that place.”

His startup, Lilikoi, seeks to enable curated content, such as stories, photos and reviews, to be pushed to people’s phones once they enter a specific location. Technology, he believes, can help preserve wahi pana.

Tauati, 24, is one of a growing number of young entrepreneurs who have embraced a startup lifestyle in Hawaii that combines technology, innovation and collaboration instead of taking jobs in tourism, banking, law, healthcare or other traditional, safe professions.

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