Investor of the Year

HIR CEO Keoni Lee & Co-Founder Lisa Kleissner Win HVCA Investor of the Year

This spring HIR CEO Keoni Lee and Co-Founder Lisa Kleissner were honored as  Investor of the Year in the 21st annual Hawaii Venture Capital Association’s Entrepreneur Awards.

The Hawaii Venture Capital Association represents entrepreneurs, private equity firms and venture capital firms with global investment interests. Its Investor of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding individual or entity that has contributed significantly to investing in the Hawaii startup ecosystem – not only in the literal capital definition but also in terms of their investment in the community.

HIR is committed to building and resourcing the relationships, enterprises, and systems working towards a just and equitable future for Hawaiʻi. We have the privilege of seeding and scaling solutions for social, environmental, and financial wellbeing.


Dana Shapiro of HIR Enterprise Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative (HUC) was also honored as Social Impact Entrepreneur of the Year.

The co-op was founded in 2016 to build a network of small-scale, diversified farms on Hawai‘i Island working to revive the popularity of ʻulu (breadfruit) and improve community access to sustainable, nutritious food. It has grown to be a key player in Hawaiʻi’s food system and food security with environmentally responsible growing and production techniques.


During the pandemic, Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative helped launch a relief campaign to serve farmers and the community. The COVID-19 Relief and Response Campaign distributed more than 60,000 pounds of local starches and fresh produce to families in need. An additional 3,170 pounds of food was donated to the Hawaii Food Basket directly through HUC’s website. This effort allowed the co-op to continue supporting their 85 small-scale farmers and 14 employees and to lend a hand to other food producers.

The COVID-19 crisis exposed the vulnerabilities in an overreliance on imported foods and a tourism economy. HIR Enterprises like Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative are helping to build a healthier, more secure, and more equitable food system, and we are honored to support their work.

Explore the work of our enterprises here and sign up to receive updates about the ecosystem!

HIR aggregates resources for investors, social entrepreneurs, and startup founders. As we build this library, please let us know if there is anything you would like to see or learn.

Interested in supporting HIR’s work to build capacity, resilience, and create pathways to a better Hawaiʻi economy? We’d love to chat!

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