our team

Experienced operators focused on growth strategies.


Melialani james

Meli James is a founding partner of Mana Up. James is also currently the president of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association (HVCA). Previously, James has been the head of new ventures at Sultan Ventures, as well as program director of XLR8UH. Born and raised in Honolulu, Meli lived in Silicon Valley for over ten years; there, she co-founded and contributed to numerous startups, 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 graduate of Punahou School and Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

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brittany heyd

Brittany Heyd is a founding partner of Mana Up. She is also General Counsel at Union, a software company based in Washington, DC. Before Mana Up, Brittany was cofounder and Managing Director at 1776 and worked on economic policy at the Obama White House. Heyd holds a Juris Doctor / Masters of Public Policy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s of Arts from the University of San Diego.



Nohili Thompson is a project manager at Mana Up. Born in Honolulu and raised in Waimea on Hawai’i Island, Nohili graduated in May 2018 from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration with a BS in Hospitality Management and a concentration in Service Marketing. In college, she served as the President of the School of Hotel Administration’s Hotelie Entrepreneurs Club, an organization which aimed to serve as an outlet for students to experiment with and express business ideas.