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Start Garden Invests $5,000 in Three Ideas its First Week

Posted on by Paul Moore, filed under Press Releases

Jeremy Bakken

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Grand Rapids, Mich., May 3, 2012 -- Today Start Garden, the $15,000,000 seed fund that selects ideas each week for $5,000 investments, announced the results from the first week of submissions to

Last Thursday, Rick DeVos, launched the fund with a website where 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.

“We were overwhelmed by the amount of ideas submitted this first week--over 250,” said Rick DeVos, Start Garden founder. “We were not anticipating that many ideas, so the Start Garden team decided to pick two, in addition to the one selected by the public.”

The two ideas selected by the Start Garden team for funding are Click Plow  and NxtMile Sport Insoles. The third idea, Dirty Water Beer, was selected by visitors to who gave it the most endorsements. Each idea receives a $5,000 investment, pending the completion of the investment agreement, which can be found on

Click Plow is a web enabled product to make it simple for consumers to schedule snow removal as its needed, instead of the traditional seasonal commitment required. NxtMile Sport Insoles are designed specifically for young athletes (pre-college) to reduce common injuries that take them out of playing the sports they love. Dirty Water Beer is a for profit business with a philanthropic mission; to sell a distinctly packaged beer whose profits fund fresh water wells in developing countries.

“There were a lot of ideas we found interesting and we hope to see them resubmitted to the website,” says DeVos.

Each Thursday at noon the ideas on are stored in the database, and the slate is cleaned for the next week. Anybody who has already submitted an idea and wants it reconsidered for the next week must go back to the website to resubmit.

The next round of $5,000 investments will be announced Thursday next week, May 10, after the noon deadline.

Since its launch, has had over 20,000 visitors generating over 136,000 page views. Of the visitors, 1,825 endorsed an idea.

Monday, May 7, Start Garden will experiment with open hours from 2:00 to 5:00PM. The purpose is to make the Start Garden team available to help people think through their ideas. It is not intended for people to pitch ideas for investment. Anyone wanting to reserve a time during Monday open hours should do so from

Thursday, May 17, the general public are invited to come to the Start Garden Party at The B.O.B. to wrap up the Michigan Lean Startup Conference. RSVP at

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 whose past projects include ArtPrize, 5x5 Night, Momentum and

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