Hohonu co-founders Brian Glazer and Kevin Mukai were named 2022 Island Innovators of the Year by the Hawai’i Venture Capital Association. Hohonu is a tech startup that helps communities monitor and forecast water levels to better respond and adapt to flooding and climate change. Glazer, an associate professor in SOEST’s Oceanography Department, who is also involved in the UH Office of Innovation and Commercialization’s (OIC) Hacking 4 Oceans program, said he hopes to engage his students in an emerging field with major public impact.
“The fact that all kinds of technological innovations that have taken place over the past 10 years coming out of Silicon Valley and elsewhere that haven’t yet been applied to ocean and earth science or climate change science, I think that’s an opportunity,” Glazer said. “We have a lot of potential solutions that have existed or are starting to emerge and become commonplace in other sectors, and if we now start to apply those to the climate change problem, that is a glimmer of hope for us.”
Hohonu was launched in 2019. However, since 2014, Glazer has been working on critical tools needed to kickstart the company, such as creating water level data sensors and testing them in Hawaiʻi’s waters for groups helping to restore Hawaiian fishponds. Sensors have already been installed in 14 states. In October 2021, Hohonu embarked on its biggest project when the startup was commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to assist cities in the southeastern U.S. hard hit by flooding events to enhance their water level network. Glazer hopes to reach more communities in the coming years.
The company has received funding and support from OIC and one of UH Ventures’ portfolio companies. For more information on innovation and commercialization initiatives and opportunities, visit the OIC website.
More than a dozen faculty, students and alumni from the University of Hawaiʻi System were recognized with state entrepreneur awards from the Hawaii Venture Capital Association. This is another example of how UH is playing a key role in innovation and entrepreneurship, critical areas to diversifying our economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s theme was “Re-imagining Hawaiʻi’s Economy,” emphasizing sustainability, innovation and diversification.
Read more on UH News about all the UH innovators who were recognized this year.