Students Present Pitches and Receive Feedback from Venture Capitalist May Samali

By Aya Chang

 May Samali joined Nalukai 2018 yesterday over video conference.  Photo by Aaron Schorn. 

May Samali joined Nalukai 2018 yesterday over video conference.  Photo by Aaron Schorn. 

Yesterday, teams delivered their pitches to venture capitalist May Samali, a Senior Associate at the Urban Innovation Fund.  Samali provided the groups with honest feedback from an investor perspective.

“I was genuinely impressed by the teams’ pitches,” said Samali.  “I don’t need an app that will make it easy for me to order cookies at three in the morning.  It was nice to see this generation addressing real problems.”

It was an encouraging and motivational experience for the campers, as they were able to pitch to a powerful industry professional and receive useful feedback.  Initially, the students were not aware of Samali’s position–they were only informed that she was of importance.

“When I found out that May was a venture capitalist, I was shocked that she was willing to take the time to help us,” said Kayla Cho, whose group is developing a website platform connecting local volunteer-seeking organizations with high school students.

Students were beyond grateful for the advice.  Hunter Karas, whose group is developing an app to connect high school students wanting to discuss coursework, said, “She pointed out the flaws in our project and even things we never thought to address.  She brought a whole new perspective to the table.”

Cho said, “Her feedback was exactly what we needed to hear. She helped us to refocus our vision, while also providing reassurance, as she saw a lot of potential in our idea.”

Students will be launching their MVPs today at 3:45PM HST.

David Clarke