In 2012, Start Garden changed the landscape for entrepreneurship in West Michigan. In 2016, we do it again.
As a venture capital fund, Start Garden has always behaved very differently. Based on the belief that there’s no point investing into fast growth startups without a culture in which they could grow, we served as both fund and catalyst to stimulate a lot more risk taking from both entrepreneurs and investors.
In three years we funded
190 $5,000 “experiments”
68 $20,000-$50,000 potential startups
23 $50,000-$500,000 portfolio companies
Today, Start Garden separates into three different entities in order to build upon the work we previously did as one company. We join together with the Grand Rapids SmartZone and eMerge West Michigan to align the public and private sector around the needs of entrepreneurs.
A for-profit venture capital fund that continues to manage and invest into a portfolio of between 25-30 companies.
An “ecosystem” entity to bridge public and private efforts, for-profit and non-profit, to align the entire region around what’s best for those seeking an opportunity to get a start in West Michigan. Currently, it manages services for the Grand Rapids SmartZone and Seamless Accelerator.
A 501c3 not-for-profit (formerly known as eMerge West Michigan) to allow philanthropic dollars to converge with public dollars and private investment to most equitably serve all entrepreneurs looking to launch new businesses, from neighborhoods to the high tech sectors.
Start Garden has a long-term commitment to turn our region into one of the best places to start up a business. This long view is executed in a step-by-step approach to learn what is needed today in this particular context, then adapt to that context. To best serve our region and its present needs, Start Garden has adapted its structure to deepen its devotion of time and resources toward a true culture of entrepreneurship.
We'll be sharing a lot more about what this all means in the months to come, but for now check out the Rapid Growth article, Making It In Grand Rapids.