What does “Ulu” mean?

When people meet us, often their first question is, what does Ulu mean? We’ve spent a lot of memorable times in Hawaii, so when we created the firm, we wanted to find a word meaningful to us that was also meaningful in the Hawaiian culture. We picked Ulu, which in Hawaiian means breadfruit and figuratively means to grow; to inspire; to be possessed as if by a spirit or god.

We have since learned that ulu (or ullu) carries significance in other languages.

Ulu is the Hindi and Sanskrit word for the owl. Fitting for a venture capital firm, the owl is associated with Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Wealth comes in many forms, including relationships at work; a nurturing community; inspiration from our entrepreneurs.  The owl because of its repetitive call is also associated with foolishness. Risk seeking founders may sometimes be viewed as foolish too.

In the Inuit language, ulu is the carving knife given to brides on their wedding day.  The women use it to do everything from skinning animals to cutting children’s hair. The ulu is passed down through generations and is believed to carry ancestral knowledge. Passing on our knowledge and networks to founders is an essential part of Ulu’s mission. In turn, we collaborate and learn from our founders and share their hard-earned wisdom.

In Turkish, Ulu means great, sublime or supreme.

These definitions embody the aspirations of Ulu Ventures. Our entrepreneurs work with an often unearthly inspiration. They take a vision of the future and create companies that sometimes become enduring institutions with global impact. At their best, Ulu entrepreneurs use technology and business in service of people. We are privileged to support their journey.

Our team has decades of experience in all phases of startup life. Our managing directors co-founded a venture backed company and between them have both grown and built early-stage, venture-backed companies.

Miriam Rivera

Managing Director

Clint Korver

Managing Director

Steve Reale

CFO and Venture Partner

Kevin Hoffberg

Venture Partner

Trina Weller

VP Analytics and Operations

Rusty Dornin

Director of Marketing and Communications

Loren Michael Ford


Nancy Torres


Kathy Chen

Senior Principal

David White

Venture Partner

Dave Strohm

Strategic Advisor