GRAND RAPIDS — Only one business idea was on target to receive additional funding at the September Start Garden Update Night event.
But the company, Hip Shot Dot, not only got more funding, it leapfrogged one level of funding based on its performance with its initial award, which impressed representatives of the $15 million seed fund.
Conceived and designed by Brandon Buckingham and Tim Murphy, Hip Shot Dot is an LED light that players of “first-person shooter” video games can affix in the center of their target area on a screen in order to improve their accuracy.
In awarding Hip Shot Dot $50,000 of funding, Start Garden team members praised the entrepreneurs’ experience in video gaming and product design as well as their ability to quickly find a manufacturer, establish a supply chain and get feedback from the video game market.
The company’s performance allowed Hip Shot Dot to bypass the $20,000 round and go immediately to the $50,000 level.
This update night was the first such event held in Start Garden’s new location at 50 Louis Street NW in Grand Rapids, a space described as the equivalent of an entrepreneurship church by Paul Moore, the fund’s marketing and communications director,.
Start Garden is a $15 million seed fund that operates on a tiered system. Two ideas per week are given $5,000 each and charged with designing and performing an experiment to find out if their idea is viable, scalable and feasible as a business. One idea is selected by the Start Garden team and the second idea is chosen by public voting.
After a maximum of three months of working with the Start Garden team, the entrepreneurs present the results of their experiment at a public update night, where they give a presentation about their idea and find out if they will continue to receive funding. After the update night, funding progresses from the initial $5,000 to the remaining tiers: $20,000, $50,000, $100,000 and $500,000.
Of the remaining eight ideas presented, three received the “not now” response, meaning that, while their funding would not continue, the Start Garden team would continue to work with them on their project and possibly fund them in the future. Those ideas included This or That, Teamwork Bags and Flowstate.
The other five ideas, Gent, Vival, RitaGirl’s Mobile Bakery, Detroit Glass House and aquaponics company Growing Health Farms did not receive funding.