Climate startup Hohonu raises $1.8 million

The company's technology is currently deployed in 95 locations across the U.S.

Co-founders Dr. Brian Glazer and Stanley Lio show off the sensor they created.

Hohonu, an award winning Hawaii-based climate tech startup, announced it has completed a $1.8 million pre-seed funding round to scale its efforts to provide actionable data and insights to mitigate coastal flooding both nationally and internationally—including Asia and the Pacific.

Hohonu’s low-cost real-time technology is currently deployed in 95 locations across the U.S., having captured over 900,000 hours of water level data across 12 coastal states. Its existing customers include sub-agencies of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Consulting Firms, Coastal Managers, and Environmental NGOs.

Cofounder and Oceanography professor at the University of Hawai’i, Dr. Brian Glazer, initially leaned on mentorship from the University of Hawaii Office of Innovation and Commercialization, who connected him to the Purple Mai’a Foundation (PMF).

“The PMF incubator program was created to nurture and support innovative and grounded founders, who are focused on regenerating Hawai’i ecosystems,” said Donavan Kealoha, Co-Founder and CEO of PMF, “Working with Dr. Glazer over the last two years allowed us to build a relationship and trust, mature the technology and strategize how to take research technology outside of academia into a scalable economic opportunity.”

The company practices reciprocity by partnering with local nonprofits to better understand how its lower-cost sensors and real-time data can benefit local communities. In Hawai’i, they partnered with Kuaʻaina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA) and PMF to engage with 40 fishponds across Hawai’i to aid in a grassroots effort to restore Hawaiian fishponds – with project funding coming from the office of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. It has also partnered with nonprofits like American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI).

“We are so grateful for the support that has been provided to us by local partners such as PMF and the University of Hawaʻi,” said Dr. Glazer, whose University of Hawai’i research lab has been funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, and others. “We will continue to embed into our corporate DNA the collaborative process that prioritizes reciprocity with local partners in order to solve problems occurring at a global scale.”

The $1.8 million pre-seed round was filled out by climate and ocean-focused investors such as Builder’s Vision, Elemental Excelerator, TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, and Sustainable Ocean Alliance. Also participating were Susquehanna Foundation, Blue Startups, Echo River Capital, and angel investors such as Reece Pacheco and Justin Stevens of Overlap Holdings.

“Technology to measure the environment at localized scales is critical in helping coastal communities adapt to climate change, and Hohonu has developed an innovative product that will be essential to this effort,” said Peter Bryant, Program Director at Builder’s Vision. “We are excited to partner with Hohonu on their mission to make these technologies accessible to communities all over the world.”

About Hohonu

A climate technology startup company and 2022 Island Innovators of the Year winner, Hohonu generates actionable data and insights to protect communities from future flooding. Its team of experts provide affordable, turnkey systems that enable non-experts to monitor water level and water quality in natural environments like coastlines and rivers.

About Purple Maiʻa Foundation

A technology education nonprofit whose mission is to educate and inspire the next generation of culturally grounded, community serving technology makers and problem solvers. We support Indigenous values in contemporary tech culture.

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