The Tale of the Green Surfboard: Behind the Scenes at Connect’s Cleantech Venture Roundtable


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lived in Hawaii for a long time, we named our company Malama Composites. Malama is a Hawaiian word meaning “to take care of” or “protect.”

Of course, if business is an engine, then money is its fuel, and even as a cleantech hybrid we still needed to fill up at the service station. We submitted an application to compete in Connect’s Cleantech Venture Roundtable, which would provide us a chance to “pitch” our company to selected venture capital investors. Connect created the roundtable as a way of helping technology innovators and entrepreneurs prepare for the VC funding process, and to get venture capital partners involved with early stage entrepreneurs.

I was so excited for Malama to be in the running for this opportunity. If we made it past the selection committees, we would be one of five companies allowed to present at the Venture Roundtable.

With coaching from our mentors and Connect’s continuing support, Christoffersen, now Malama’s CEO, and I worked with our team our team to hone our presentation. One Connect EIR who provided significant coaching was a former CEO David Saltman, said we already had the key ingredients of success. He told me Malama had a strong leadership team, a great product, and a billion-dollar market opportunity. We just needed to refine our go-to-market strategy and articulate it for investors.

The next step of the selection process involved making a presentation to a group of industry experts. But on the morning of the screening presentation Leif was unexpectedly … Next Page »

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Ned McMahon is the founder and chief operating officer of San Diego-based Malama Composites. Follow @

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2 responses to “The Tale of the Green Surfboard: Behind the Scenes at Connect’s Cleantech Venture Roundtable”

  1. Bill GhormleyBill Ghormley says:

    As a San Diego surfer of a previous generation (the Hobie Alter and Dewey Webber era — Tamarack, Cardiff, Encinitas and Rincoln Point) this is the most exciting news I’ve heard — good luck, Malama!

    Regards, Bill Ghormley