Banking & Finance and Small Business & Startups

Start Garden invests $40K more in two startups

November 27, 2013
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Start Garden invests in real estate appraising
Appraisal150 sells discount real estate appraisals. Photo via appraisal150.com

Two startups in Start Garden's portfolio have each been awarded $20,000 more from the Grand Rapids-based seed fund.

The Start Garden team said “yes” to startups Appraisal150 and Elf Factory at the fund’s November Update Night, where entrepreneurs already backed by the fund present on their progress to learn if they'll receive more funding.

Appraisal150

Appraisal150 is a real estate appraisal startup that’s being used in West Michigan.

It was created by Scott Packer to be an “online network of independent licensed appraisers.”

“The appraisal industry hasn’t been re-thought in a long time, and often when an entrepreneur re-thinks an entrenched market or process and finds they are on to something, it can draw some opposition,” said Kim Pasquino, Start Garden portfolio relations. “Appraisal150 seems to have lit a fire in the industry. We see the biggest challenge with Appraisal150 is scaling this project quickly. We have confidence in Scott, based on his execution so far, to make it happen, and we are pleased to provide further funding.”

Elf Factory

Elf Factory is a holiday school program where students pre-order gifts to make for their families.

It was created by Kirsten Morian Field as a “turnkey program” designed to be the new version of the educational holiday gift program.

“This problem was identified from Kirsten’s personal experience with her children’s schools,” said Rick DeVos, Start Garden founder. “It’s an idea that is definitely under the radar, but the experiment showed that the idea can grow. The Elf Factory model appears replicable, but it needs to extend beyond the founder’s involvement. We are eager to see if this will happen, so it is a yes for additional funding.”

Start Garden’s next Update Night is Dec. 19.

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