We often hear about Ulupono Initiative backing some new, innovative idea, program or company in Hawaii Nei. With the spotlight always falling on the supported organization and its practices, it begs the question, what is Ulupono Initiative? Why is Ulupono’s name heard in conjunction with Hawaii Dairy Farms and Paniolo Cattle Company or Bikeshare Hawaii? What does Ulupono do and who are the people making it work?
Simply put, Ulupono Initiative is a mission-driven impact investment firm devoted to improving quality of life in Hawaii. As of January 2015, Ulupono has invested roughly $63 million in for-profit and non-profi t ventures. The majority of investments have been focused on local food and renewable energy with a few investments in waste reduction endeavors like Re-use Hawaii. Ulupono Initiative was founded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar in 2009 to make Hawaii more self-reliant with regard to food, renewable energy and waste. What makes Ulupono different from a traditional private equity firm is that it is mission-focused and uses forprofit and non-profit investments to drive progress.