START GARDEN FUNDS COMPRESSION SHORTS MADE FROM RECYCLED MATERIAL

Posted on by Start Garden Intern, filed under Press Releases

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START GARDEN FUNDS HELO SHORTS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich,. October 17, 2013 - Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects an individual idea each week based on endorsements from the public and the Start Garden team to receive a $5,000 investment, today announced Helo Shorts, an undergarment made from recycled polyethylene (PET) fibers, which retain minimal water and are designed to dry fast. 

Most people wear something under their boardshorts during water sports activities. These range from Under Armour and Nike compression shorts to Hanes boxer briefs. These garments often stay wet longer after their boardshorts are dry, causing itchiness and discomfort. Jake Howison, creator of Helo Shorts, will use the $5,000 from Start Garden to work with an e-commerce expert to optimize the company's website, which serves as the primary sales channel. 

"While Helo shorts were created to be THE short to wear under boardshorts, they are great for any athletic activity that demands ventilation and moisture wicking performace with compression in all the right places," said Howison. 

Helo Shorts was selected through the endorsements of the public and selection of the Start Garden team. The Start Garden management team accepts submissions through startgarden.com. Ideas with potential to become businesses can be submitted. Each week the Start Garden team selects an idea and 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. Lean more about submission criteria at startgarden.com/help/criteria.

The next round of $5,000 investments will be announced Thursday, October 24, after the noon deadline. Additionally, the next Update Night is Thursday, October 24, and will include update presentations from Scoutfoto, SurgeryEdu, The Satellite, PAKCheck, Pi Garden, The Ultraflex Series, and GAPro. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events. 

About Start Garden

Start Garden is an unconventional venture capital fund that invests in over 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

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CONTACT
Brian Burch
Start Garden
616-828-9813
brian@startgarden.com

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START GARDEN FUNDS CLOUD - BASED DATABASE

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START GARDEN FUNDS LIFE DOCUMENT STORAGE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., October 10, 2013 -- Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects an individual idea each week based on endorsements from the public and the Start Garden team to receive a $5,000 investment, today announced LIfe Document Storage, a cloud-based database that guides users through critical documents their family will need following the user's death, and stores them for future reference. 

The idea allows useres to store all their information their family would want and need to know in the event something were to happen to them, wills, trusts, key accounts, among others, and help guide them through that process. Bill Simpson, creator of LIfe Documetn Storage, will use the $5,000 from Start Garden to develop a comprehensive marketing campaign to reach and test interest with funeral directors as well as leaders in the financial, insurance and estate planning industries. 

"Most people don't know what information their families will need in the event of their death or incapacitation. Life Document Storage will help solve that problem with our comprehensive database which will guide a person through the gathering, storage and transfer of that information when the time comes," said Bill Simpson, creator of Life Document Storage. 

LIfe Document Storage was selected through the endorsement of the public and selection of the Start Garden team. The Start Garden management team accepts submissions through startgarden.com. Ideas with potential to become businesses can be submitted. 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 round of $5,000 investments will be announced Thursday, October 17, after the noon deadline. The next Update Night is Thursday, October 24. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.

About Start Garden

Start Garden is an unconventional venture capital fund that invests in over 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 

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CONTACT
Brian Burch
Start Garden
616-828-9813
brian@startgarden.com

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START GARDEN FUNDS WEBSITE TO HELP PEOPLE FIND STORAGE

Posted on by Start Garden Intern, filed under Press Releases

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START GARDEN FUNDS GARAGEMATCH.COM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., October 2, 2013 -- Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects individual ideas each week for investments, today announced GarageMatch.com, which matches private individuals, who have extra space in their garage, with people who need storage, was selected by the public and Start Garden team from submissions to startgarden.com.

Garagematch.com will provide a place for individuals who have extra garage stalls and want extra money to list their space. Individuals who want to store a car, boat or other large object can find a convenient location to store their stuff. Garagematch.com will run a background check on both parties, provide electronic contracts, and serve as an escrow agent for collection and release of funds.

“GarageMatch.com is like AirBnB for garages,” said Laurie Veneklasen, creator of GarageMatch.com. “I have worked four years as an office manager for a large self-storage facility, the industry is topped-off, and charging top-dollar for available space. GarageMatch will free up new space, household or commercial items in basements or barns.”

GarageMatch.com was selected through the endorsement of the public and selection of the Start Garden team. The Start Garden management team accepts submissions through startgarden.com. Ideas with potential to become businesses can be submitted. 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 round of $5,000 investments will be announced Thursday, October 10, after the noon deadline. The next Update Night is Thursday, October 24. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.

About Start Garden
Start Garden is an unconventional venture capital fund that invests in over 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.

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CONTACT
Brian Burch
Start Garden
616-828-9813
brian@startgarden.com

There have been 0 Replies

WEEKLY INVESTMENT: ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATION EXPERIMENT

Posted on by Paul Moore, filed under Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., September 20, 2013 -- Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects individual ideas each week for investments, funded EV Anywhere. It’s an experiment by former Ford Motor alternative vehicle specialist in developing charging stations for electric vehicles.

Que Johnson will receive $5,000, pending the completion of the investment agreement, to prototype an EV charging station in downtown Detroit.

“Our customers (businesses and municipalities) may not need many EV charging stations now, but as EV sales pick up they will. In which case they would have to hire a person or team to assess those needs. We save them those costly expenses by doing all the leg work for them and provide them with the most current data, the best best chargers installed at the guaranteed lowest prices. And it won’t cost them anything in addition to the chargers. We’ve negotiated contacts with the charging station manufacturers and receive a commission from them.”

The Start Garden management team accepts submissions through startgarden.com. Ideas with potential to become businesses can be submitted. 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 round of $5,000 investments will be announced Thursday, September 26, after the noon deadline.

The next Update Night is Thursday, September 26. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.

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START GARDEN FUNDS DISCOUNT HOME APPRAISAL SERVICE

Posted on by Nichole Kladder, filed under Press Releases

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., September 13, 2013 -- Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects individual ideas each week for investments, today announced Appraisal150, which offers home appraisal services at a discounted price, was selected by the public and Start Garden team from submissions to startgarden.com.

Scott Allen Packer, a full time real estate appraiser and entrepreneur, will receive $5,000, pending the completion of the investment agreement, to find a reliable, local programmer, who will help re-design a new website, and rebrand the company for a national launch.

“Appraisal150 is a network of independent licensed appraisers. Our website utilizes common sense tools that put the homeowner in charge throughout the process,” said Packer. “By automating the ordering, delivery, and scheduling process, Appraisal150 can lower the time and overhead costs of an appraisal, cutting the cost by more than 50 percent.”

While online services such as Zillow and CyberHomes offer an automated, algorithm based valuation, utilizing publicly available data, they don’t accurately estimate a home’s value. Appraisal150 appraisals are full interior/exterior inspections with the same detail and quality demanded by banks and the court system.

The Start Garden management team accepts submissions through startgarden.com. Ideas with potential to become businesses can be submitted. 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 round of $5,000 investments will be announced Thursday, September 19, after the noon deadline. The next Update Night is Thursday, September 26. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.

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WITH 156 STARTUP EXPERIMENTS, FUNDING AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, START GARDEN REDUCES TO ONE IDEA/WEEK

Posted on by Paul Moore, filed under Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., August 30, 2013 -- Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects individual ideas each week for investments, and opportunities for further investment has operated at a feverish pace since its launch in April 2012.  Today the team announced that its investment plan is ahead of schedule. With investments in 49 startups ranging between $25,000 and $500,000, and more than 136 $5,000 experiments funded in just 16 months, Start Garden adjusts its process to fund a single $5,000 investment per week.

In its final week of double $5,000 investments, Start Garden chose FlipsiBottle, a reusable drinking bottle that is designed for easy cleaning, while the public endorsed The Elf Factory, a holiday school program specializing in handmade gifts for parents.

The practice of the Start Garden team choosing one investment and the public endorsing the other from the website, will become a hybrid process. Visitors to the website still endorse an idea on startgarden.com, but only one idea is ultimately chosen every week.

“The number of investments we have today between $25,000-$99,000 is way more than we anticipated," said Mike Morin, head of portfolio relations. "With the amount of activity those startups are generating, the flow that began with $5,000 is maturing. We'll keep the door open for new experiments, but we see the volume of activity spreading out across funding levels now.”

In April of 2012, Start Garden launched in April 2012 as a way to discover, create and grow a new generation of businesses in Michigan. To do this, it used venture capital in a way that it had not been used before. Rather than investing in startups on the verge of a massive growth phase, Start Garden funds ideas, projects and experiments.

In the 16 months since it launched, Start Garden has invested:
$5,000 into 136 ideas
$25,000 - $99,000 into 39 projects
$100,000 - $500,000 into 10 startups

“The entrepreneurial spirit is strong here,” said founder Rick DeVos. “If this region can become as good at helping entrepreneurs get started as we are at philanthropy, there's no telling what this city could look like in ten years."

While the number of weekly investments changes, the process remains the same. The Start Garden team still seeks an endorsement from the public in order to help them make the selection. Additionally, the change has little affect on the monthly Update Night events, where people who receive $5,000 investments report back in front of a live audience and explain what they learned and how their idea is desirable, feasible and viable. The Update Night events will start to include some of the startups funded at higher levels, who will be giving an update but not competing against the $5,000 experiments.

In 16 months, Start Garden has committed more than $4 million to 156 ideas, projects and startup businesses. 136 of its funded projects were submitted via startgarden.com. 29 ideas went to the next step and received between $25,000-90,000. 20 startups did not come through the $5,000 gateway because of their maturity as companies.

Additional detail about Start Garden and its programming can be found at startgarden.com.

About Start Garden
Start Garden is an unconventional venture capital fund that invests in over 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.

# # #
CONTACT
Brian Burch
Start Garden
616-828-9813
brian@startgarden.com

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START GARDEN ANNOUNCES $60,000 IN FUNDING FOR THREE COMPANIES: SPORTSMAN TRACKER, SEAT SIDE SERVICE,

Posted on by Nichole Kladder, filed under Press Releases

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.

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START GARDEN FUNDS HYBRID FOOTWEAR SOLE, INSURANCE COMPLIANCE SOFTWARE

Posted on by Nichole Kladder, filed under Press Releases

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., August 22, 2013 -- Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects individual ideas each week for investments, announced this week’s round of $5,000 investments from submissions to startgarden.com. These include The Ultraflex Series, lightweight, terrain-responsive hybrid sole assemblies for outdoor and military footwear, and GAPro System, a web and mobile platform for managing property and casualty insurance compliance.

Public Selection
The idea selected by the most endorsements from visitors to startgarden.com is The Ultraflex Series (strt.gd/x9SF), versatile shoe and boot sole assemblies that provide greater impact resistance, enhanced elasticity, multi-directional stability and terrain-dependent rigidity, without the weight or bulk of a traditional boot.

“May adjustable soles have mechanisms that add unwanted weight to a shoe, making it heavy, and the mechanics are often prone to damage from debris,” said Brian Schuster, founder of Ultraflex. “Ultraflex replaces this traditional sole construction with a lightweight, hybrid smart assembly that absorbs and distributes impact.”

Ultraflex will use the $5,000 Start Garden funding to perform impact testing with its material supplier in the UK.

Start Garden Selection
The idea selected this week by the Start Garden team for funding is GAPro System (strt.gd/x8YE), a single source cloud-base system for the property & casualty insurance industry that centralizes existing silos of compliance information to accept, verify, and warehouse policy data in real-time.

“GAPro centralizes all policy data to create standardization, efficiency, and compliance the leads to significant cost and time savings,” said Herb Gibson, founder of GAPro.  “This low cost solution scales rapidly into other areas to reach this nearly $36.2 billion.”

The $5,000 Start Garden investment will allow GAPro acquire the first beta customers that want to manage their compliance requirement more efficiently.

Each idea receives a $5,000 investment, pending the completion of the investment agreement, which can be found on startgarden.com.

The fund’s management team takes submissions through startgarden.com. Ideas with potential to become businesses can be submitted. 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 round of $5,000 investments will be announced Thursday, August 29, after the noon deadline. The next Update Night is Thursday, September 26. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.

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START GARDEN FUNDS CIGARETTE INVENTORY SYSTEM AND HYDROPONICS SYSTEM

Posted on by Nichole Kladder, filed under Press Releases

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., August 15, 2013 -- Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects individual ideas each week for investments, announced this week’s round of $5,000 investments from submissions to startgarden.com. These include PAKCheck, an automated inventory system designed to deter theft that attaches to cigarette racks, and Pi Garden, computerized environmental controls for hydroponic garden systems.

Public Selection
The idea selected by the most endorsements from visitors to startgarden.com is PAKCheck (strt.gd/x2xF), an automated cigarette inventory system that automatically counts each pack as its pulled from a rack, removing the need for convenience stores to hand-count cigarettes during every shift.

“Currently 40 percent of convenience stores pay their employees to hand-count cigarettes during every shift. This process is fraught with error and does not limit theft,” said Patrick Kapenga, creator of PAKCheck. “Automating and centralizing the cigarette inventory process will help convenience stores reduce labor costs, tighten control and monitor multiple locations at once.”

The $5,000 from Start Garden will allow the team to install PAKCheck in two convenience stores to test and prove the product design.

Start Garden Selection
The idea selected this week by the Start Garden team for funding is Pi Garden (strt.gd/x2IF), an affordable, plug-and-play, environmental controlling system for hydroponic and greenhouse systems.

“When you can control the environment you control what you decide to do with it, but often these commercial technologies are expensive for gardeners and small farmers,” said Drew Mellema. “Pi Garden and potentially Pi Pro would be a powerful, but affordable system that is useful for commercial growers and hobbyists.”

The $5,000 Start Garden investment will allow Mellema to create a low-cost prototype and test in a community hydroponics garden.


Each idea receives a $5,000 investment, pending the completion of the investment agreement, which can be found on startgarden.com.

The fund’s management team takes submissions through startgarden.com. Ideas with potential to become businesses can be submitted. 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 round of $5,000 investments will be announced Thursday, August 22, after the noon deadline. The next Update Night is Thursday, August 22. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.

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START GARDEN FUNDS PORTABLE CAMERA LIGHTING FOR PUBLIC ENDORSEMENT AND TEAM SELECTION

Posted on by Nichole Kladder, filed under Press Releases

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., August 8, 2013 -- Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects individual ideas each week for investments, today announced The Satellite, a portable light source for photography that emulates studio lighting, was selected by the public from submissions to startgarden.com, as well as the official selection of the Start Garden team.

Ian Geiman, an art and business student at Kalamazoo College, will receive $5,000, pending the completion of the investment agreement, to test his design and create multiple sets of working prototypes that he can give to professional photographers for testing in the field.

Wireless flash units used for directional lighting are costly, and studio lights don’t move. The Satellite is designed to provide an affordable and portable alternative to existing ways of lighting while providing a continuous source of light, making planning and taking the picture easier.

“I’m a photographer that loves playing with light, either in low light or light painting,” said Geiman. “Over the years my biggest struggle has been a way to consistently control light in an outdoors or low light shot, so I designed the Satellite as a means to change this.”

The Satellite was created to allow professionals, students and hobbyist photographers to emulate studio-style lighting outside of the studio, using neutral-white, high power LEDs.  The device would allow photographers to experiment with advanced lighting techniques—from macro to portraiture lighting—or work with multiple Satellite units in tandem to create new lighting effects. 

The fund’s management team takes submissions through startgarden.com. Ideas with potential to become businesses can be submitted. 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 round of $5,000 investments will be announced Thursday, August 15, after the noon deadline. The next Update Night is Thursday, August 22. Learn more about Start Garden events at startgarden.com/events.

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