GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., August 23, 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 ten companies vying for the next level of investment, the Start Garden team chose Sportsman Tracker (strt.gd/x80B) a hunting and fishing prediction and tracking tool, Seat Side Service (strt.gd/x2OC), a mobile application enhancing consumer's experiences at entertainment venues, and New Era Green Energy (strt.gd/x25B), an anaerobic digester that makes clean energy.
Update Night offers teams that have received an initial $5,000 investment a chance to provide an update to the public on their projects. The next round of funding for Sportsman Tracker, Seat Side Service and New Era Green Energy starts at $20,000.
Sportsman Tracker, the creation of Jeffrey Courter, won its original $5,000 investment by public endorsement. The mobile app uses an adaptive algorithm to analyze past hunting and fishing activities to generate the best places and peak times for sporting activity. The company used the Start Garden investment to develop a multi-platform mobile application.
“We originally doubted that hunters would want to share their best hunting locations, however with more than 2,500 users and a one-year licensing deal, Sportsman Tracker’s experiment proved us wrong,” said Kim Pasquino, portfolio manager at Start Garden. “Signing a significant deal with a major sporting goods retailer really sold us. We are looking forward to seeing what Jeff and his team do next.”
Seat Side Service, created by Barak Liebovitz, is a mobile application for Android and iOS devices that allows fans at a sporting event or concert to order food, drinks and merchandise and have it delivered directly to their seats. It processes credit cards and directs commissions so it simplifies concessions for venues. The team use the initial $5,000 investment to build partnerships with several event spaces and stadiums.
“Who hasn’t been to a concert or sporting event and wanted your food and drinks delivered straight to your seat? Seat Side Service delivered a service that worked well and people were able to avoid long concession lines,” said Pasquino. “Great results are tough to pull off, and we are eager to see the next phase of Barak’s experiment.”
New Era Green Energy, founded by Wayne Craker, created a new approach to anaerobic digestion that thoroughly digests any organic waste at a much faster rate, with a byproduct of high quality methane [natural] gas and high quality liquid fertilizer. The Start Garden investment allowed New Era to build a larger digester to test the scalability of the system.
“New Era has an exciting technology, and we love the biomimicry of a cow's stomach happening with the ‘super bacteria’,” said Rick DeVos, CEO of Start Garden. “Ordinarily, this is the stage when we would encourage inventors to team with other businesses, and we are pleased to see Wayne is already working with Organicycle, another Start Garden portfolio company.”
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.
Seven additional entrepreneurs presented during Start Garden’s August Update Night, but did not proceed to the next level of investment. These include:
• Birdhouse for Autism (strt.gd/x6YC)
• CHIEF Gunfire Detector (strt.gd/x9MC)
• Circus of the Mind (strt.gd/x8sC)
• Cineperks (strt.gd/x6qD)
• Greenitian (strt.gd/x6jB)
• Integrisync (strt.gd/x8FB)
• Snap Script (strt.gd/x0oC)
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 Update Night will take place Thursday, September 26. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.