GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 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 nine companies vying for the next level of investment, the Start Garden team chose to invest $20,000 in Groovebox Studios (strt.gd/x6Ez) a startup for crowdfunding music that helps independent artists fund and create a music video.
The June update night comes before the Start Garden team takes a four-week hiatus from its weekly investment, monthly updates and education classes. While the team will continue to accept ideas through the entire month of July, its full schedule will return on Thursday, August 1. In the meantime, they are devoting attention to the growth of their portfolio companies—those investments of $20,000 or greater—during the Second Step Series on July 11.
Joining the ranks among the next step companies is Groovebox Studios. As an independent music startup based in Detroit, Groovebox creates high-end audio and video content for musicians, and the funding is 100 percent fan-supported. Using existing platforms such as Kickstarter, artists pay nothing, and the fans are part of the entire process.
“Ninety-five percent of bands are independent artists, and the majority will never sign to a major label,” said Shawn Neal, co-founder of Groovebox Studios. “They are in every city, in every country and fans are eager to support them. Groovebox live sessions and recorded product are becoming a gateway to creating instant commercial value for an artist.”
In the 90 days its initial Start Garden investment, Groovebox hired two new people, partnered with Icon Live Studio in Chicago, produced 14 live sessions and three fully produced projects and $30,000 in revenue. Every project was over-funded by the fans of each band.
“Groovebox is playing in an industry that is continues to be in-flux, which makes it difficult to generate consistent positive cash flow, but also makes it ripe for disruption,” said Benjamin Gott, entrepreneur-in-residence at Start Garden. “We think the team has a challenging journey ahead, and we are excited to take Groovebox to the next level.”
Update Night offers teams that have received an initial $5,000 investment a chance to provide an update to the public on their projects. 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.
Eight additional entrepreneurs presented during Start Garden’s May Update Night, but did not proceed to the next level of investment. These include:
• BARK! Microstudios (strt.gd/x1AA)
• Paintware CRM (strt.gd/x49z)
• Durabot (strt.gd/x6DA)
• Fancy Fray (strt.gd/x89x)
• Ice Cream Gallery (strt.gd/x7OA)
• PillPouch (strt.gd/x4Nh)
• play. (strt.gd/x8oB)
• The Revolution (strt.gd/x22z)
The Start Garden management team accepts ideas with potential to become businesses through startgarden.com. Each week the Start Garden team selects an idea and the broader community on the website endorses another idea to receive $5,000. 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 event is the Second Step Series on Thursday, July 11. Four teams, who received $20,000 from Start Garden, will return to tell their story and have a candid conversation with Start Garden about whether or not they're in a position to receive further funding. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.