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Sunday, 28 April 2013 22:00

How to win at Start Garden

Written by  MiBiz staff
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The public voting aspect of Start Garden is a sexy twist that generates buzz, but it appears the path to higher-level funding from the local venture fund requires the staff’s endorsement right from the get-go, according to an analysis by MiBiz.   

Of the publicly endorsed companies, 11 netted a follow-on round of investing from Start Garden, the analysis shows. To date, none has received additional funding beyond the $20,000 level. In total, those companies netted approximately $275,000 including first and second-round funding, according to data compiled from the Start Garden website on April 24, 2013.

The companies endorsed by Start Garden staff fared better in the second round, with nearly half of them obtaining funding above the $20,000 level. To date, the largest investments made in companies that applied via the website appear to be Hip Shot Dot, an electronic gaming accessory, and Benefit, a mobile app that lets consumers combine everyday shopping with charitable giving. Each received $5,000 in first-round funding based on Start Garden staff endorsement, and each earned a follow-on round of at least $75,000.

In total, some two-dozen companies selected by Start Garden staff have received investments of $20,000 or more, totaling nearly $1.5 million. The largest of those is Blue Medora LLC, a Grand Rapids-based enterprise software developer that netted $500,000 from Start Garden. Blue Medora is one of 10 ideas that entered Start Garden from the outside rather than via the website.

The overall numbers could change drastically in the coming weeks: As of April 18, there were 30 simultaneous experiments taking place at the $5,000 level, according to Start Garden. 

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