Banking & Finance, Small Business & Startups, and Technology

Start Garden invests $120K more in hunting and moving

May 1, 2014
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Sportsman Tracker
The Sportsman Tracker predictive web app stores fishing and hunting location information. Photo via fb.com

Start Garden is investing $120,000 more in two of its portfolio companies — and one has grown to more than 80,000 users.

Start Garden, the $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids, said last week at its monthly Update Night that it will invest an additional $100,000 in Sportsman Tracker and an extra $20,000 in Gypsy Drawers.

The event allows a group of entrepreneurs who received an initial $5,000 investment from Start Garden to explain how the funds were used and the status of their startup — for a chance to receive more funds from Start Garden.

Sportsman Tracker

Sportsman Tracker, a predictive web application for hunting and fishing, incorporates log activities, analytical reports, individual dashboards, photo galleries and an advanced prediction algorithm.

Start Garden said the startup’s companion mobile apps have been downloaded 150 times a day, and the startup has grown to more than 80,000 users across its web and mobile apps.

Jeffrey Courter, founder of Sportsman Tracker, said knowing that Start Garden supports the startup is similar to having an extra boost, and the network the firm provides is beneficial to the technology company.

“I think as a younger company, you always want to have players on your team that are in your corner,” Courter said.

Courter said the goal for Sportsman Tracker is to become the digital backbone of the hunting and fishing industry, and the latest funding will go toward development and marketing.

Mike Morin, portfolio manager for Start Garden, said the Sportsman Tracker applications are aggregating a significant amount of data about users to create simplified predictions, and the fund is eager to invest further.

“Hunters and anglers spend millions of dollars every year to outfit themselves, but knowing when and where the animals are is really the most sought-after tool,” Morin said.

Gypsy Drawers

Gypsy Drawers is a line of modular drawers designed to help people move without re-packing clothes.

Designed with a light, but durable frame, the drawers are meant to eliminate one moving challenge and last for multiple moves.

“Gypsy Drawers’ experiment was a great combination of product development and market validation, which leveraged the expertise of the design community, manufacturers and retail channels,” Morin said. “The dresser is completely different from anything else in the market. It aligns with the direction of our growing, mobile workforce, and we believe additional investment will help Gypsy Drawers take things even further.”

Austin Blough, founder of Gypsy Drawers, said the latest funding will go toward launching a Kickstarter campaign and production tooling to make prototypes, with the goal of sending them to furniture stores, such as Art Van and Room & Board.

“Personally, it really just helps affirm the idea — gives me quite a bit of motivation moving forward,” Blough said.

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