FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
START GARDEN ANNOUNCES $20,000 IN FUNDING FOR BIKESHARE HARDWARE, SOFTWARE COMPANY
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., February 27, 2013 -- Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects individual ideas each week for investments, and opportunities for further investment, tonight held their monthly Update Night at 50 Louis St. Among the four companies vying for the next level of investment, the Start Garden team chose A2B Bikeshare, a company providing communities with hardware and software for automated bike rentals or bikeshares, to recieve $20,000 in additional funding.
A2B Bikeshare, created by Ansgar Strother, is a "Smart Bike - Dumb Rack" solution. Since all the technology is on the bike, it doesn't have to be locked up at a central kiosk for rental. Users can pay using technology on the bike, which can in turn be locked anywhere. The hardware and software combination includes a touch screen secured between the bike's handlebars, giving users access to an easy rental process, and features like navigational maps, guided tours, and points of interests during their ride. GPS on the bikes tracks location and system status at all times.
"Bike sharing programs are rapidly growing throughout the U.S. which is a good thing, but it means A2B Bikeshare has their work cut out for them because their competitors have a head start," said Joe Lampen, controller at Start Garden. "We think their solution to reduce obstacles to market entry is a strong competitive advantage. So yes, we're pleased to provide additional funding for their next round."
In addition to its $5,000 investments, Start Garden invited two entrepreneurs funded at $20,000 or greater to present on the status of their projects before a live audience. These include:
Organicycle: a curbside composting service for food, paper, yard & pet waste
Benefit: a mobile commerce app combining everyday shopping and charitable giving
Social accountability is essential to the Start Garden program. Entrepreneurs are required by Start Garden to present their experiment during a monthly Update Night. Teams that recieved a $5,000 discuss their key learnings and prove whether it was viable, desirable and feasible. Teams that received $20,000 explain where they are after nearly a year in the Start Garden ecosystem.
During Update Night, teams have three minutes to present before a live audience and explain how the money was used to complete an experiment that proved their idea is desirable, feasible or viable. Following the presentations, a panel of advisors discusses each project and announces which projects Start Garden will continue to invest in.
Three additional entrepreneurs presented during Start Garden's February Update Night, but did not proceed to the next level of investment. These include:
Guest Edge: a membership site filling seats for shows, concerts, and events
OneBowl: a microwave-safe single serving bowl with a built-in strainer
Rani's Yummy Granola: 100% natural granola in an on-the-go snack pack
The Start Garden management team accepts ideas with potential to become businesses through startgarden.com. Each week the Start Garden team selects one idea to recieve $5,000, with the broader community endorsing ideas they feel should recieve the investment. Start Garden can continue to invest up to $500,000 in a single idea. Learn more about submission criteria at startgarden.com/help/criteria.
The next Start Garden Update Night will take place Thursday, March 27. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.
About Start Garden
Start Garden is an unconventional venture capital fund that invests in more than a hundred ideas a year in small increments. The program brings financial, intellectual and social capital to ideas at the earliest stage by connecting them to the resources of an entire region. Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it is founded by Rick DeVos who's past projects included ArtPrize, 5X5 Night, Momentum and Spout.com.