Meli James '00

Meli James '00

Meli James '00

President
Hawaii Venture Capital Association

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Meli James is the head of new ventures at Sultan Ventures, a boutique venture firm focused on early-stage startups and investments. She is the program director at XLR8UH, a first-of-its-kind proof-of-concept center and venture accelerator founded via partnership between the University of Hawaii and Sultan Ventures. XLR8UH has been recognized as one of the nation's top accelerators by the U.S Small Business Association (SBA) for two years in a row. XLR8UH is one of the first public-university investment programs in the nation, revolutionizing the way innovation is commercialized at universities.

James is also the president of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, an organization that seeks to foster entrepreneurial development through education, networking, and access to capital.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Meli lived in Silicon Valley for over ten years; there, she co-founded and contributed to numerous startups in the Bay Area and Honolulu, including Nirvino—a number-one-ranked wine app, an Apple Platform Top 100 app, and a Top Ten Lifestyles app (during its time).

James is a founding member of the Startup Paradise initiative helping to build a thriving startup community that nurtures collaboration and innovation in Hawaii. She is committed to establishing resources to grow talent and high growth to small business ideas.

In 2016, she was recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of five Women to Watch. In 2017, she was recognized again by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of eight Women Leaders Who Are Disrupting Entrepreneurship.

James is a graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and president of the Cornell Hotel Society—Hawaii Chapter.