When Volta Inc. went public late last month, it was a major milestone not just for the builder of electric vehicle charging stations, but also for Hawaii. That’s because Volta was born here, funded by Hawaii investors: Hawaii Angels and Blue Startups.
Although Volta years ago moved its headquarters to San Francisco, its success shows Hawaii can produce innovative, successful companies.
That idea is especially relevant now, as the public and policymakers see the risks of relying on tourism for so much of Hawaii’s economic well-being. The Covid-19 pandemic toppled an economy that was red hot by some measures, fueled by record numbers of tourists. Hawaii’s unemployment rate was hovering around 2%, among the nation’s lowest.
Then Covid-19 came along, Gov. David Ige effectively shut down travel to Hawaii, and the Aloha State went from first to worst, with an unemployment rate of 22% when the crisis escalated in April 2020. The economic pain is clear, says Chenoa…