Economic Development and Small Business & Startups

Start Garden invests in longboard wheels and artisan boots

January 4, 2013
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Start Garden invests in longboard wheels and artisan boots
Sweet Spot Wheels gives 10 percent of all purchases to its Wheels for Wells foundation. Photo via

Start Garden might just be trying to re-invent the wheel — or at least fund entrepreneurs who can.

The $15 million seed fund invested $10,000 in two more ideas as part of its weekly selections.

The public picked Sweet Spot Wheels to receive a $5,000 initial investment.

Sweet Spot Wheels, created by Alex Bolen, is a company that creates longboard wheels and uses the profits to fund water wells in Africa. The idea is to produce wheels with specialized urethane, shapes and sliding characteristics, while helping poor communities get fresh water.

“We donate 10 percent of sales and all money made at fundraising events to our ‘Wheels for Wells’ foundation,” Bolen wrote on his Start Garden page. “Longboarders get the custom wheels they want, while villages gain access to clean drinking water. It’s a win-win situation.”

Start Garden also kicked off 2013 styling its new boots from the Standard Boot Company, which the Start Garden team selected for a $5,000 investment.

Standard Boot Company, created by the aptly named Luke Shoemaker, makes boots designed to be both fitted and functional, as well as stylish.

“Wars weren’t won in sneakers,” Shoemaker wrote on his Start Garden page. “Standard boots are not going to be the next Wolverine; we do not seek to be on every shelf in every store. We want to build our image as an artisan brand, focused on high-quality goods.”

Start Garden’s next Update Night — when funded entrepreneurs present on their progress — is scheduled for Jan. 24.

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