Economic Development and Small Business & Startups

Start Garden invests in painting business web app and 'lowbrow' art gallery

April 8, 2013
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Start Garden invests in paint business web app and 'lowbrow' art gallery
Paintware CRM is a web-based app that allows users to manage their painting businesses. Photo via startgarden.com

Apps and art galleries seem to be becoming quite a favorite of Start Garden, Rick DeVos’ $15 million seed fund that invests in a pair of new startup ideas every week.

Start Garden once again gave both types of business ideas funding, putting $5,000 into an web application designed for paint production and $5,000 into an art gallery that also serves as a restaurant.

The Start Garden team selected the paint-production app, Paintware CRM, a web based customer relationship management platform that allows users to manage all the aspects of a painting business.

“Painting contractors can manage leads, schedule customer appointments, track payroll and expenses, create proposals and sign contracts with customers on a tablet device and automatically send out emails as the customer moves through different stages of the sales process,” writes idea creator Michael Henry on his Start Garden page. “Painting contractors are just the start. This product is extremely useful for any kind of residential construction contractor (roofers, window installers, tile installers, etc).”

The Start Garden community selected Ice Cream Gallery and Grill, which would serve as a “destination restaurant/gallery/gift shop/ice cream parlor, celebrating Americana and lowbrow art,” writes idea creator Ronnie Edison on his Start Garden page.

“The hospitality industry is hungry for new concepts that haven’t been tried and lowbrow art has gone untapped," Edison writes. "The idea builds brands that can be licensed for premium rates, (including) frozen dinners, cookbooks (and) premium lines of ice cream sold in local stores. The gift shop can tap the big profits of trend marketing. The first-round investment will assist in the equipment list for the kitchen and ice cream parlor and selection of artists and designers for the gallery and gift shop.”

Start Garden's next monthly Update Night — when funded entrepreneurs present their progress for more funding — is April 25.

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