Economic Development, Small Business & Startups, and Technology

Start Garden invests $70K in five startups

August 29, 2013
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Start Garden invests in gunfire detector and entertainment-venue app
The Seat Side Service app allows users to order food, drinks and merchandise from their mobile devices. Photo via

Start Garden recently invested $70,000 of its $15 million seed fund in five startups.

Of that sum, three separate $20,000 investments were made in three startups that presented at Start Garden’s Update Night last week.

The remaining $10,000 was split into $5,000 investments between two new startup ideas, as is Start Garden’s weekly practice.

Update Night is an evening where Start Garden’s funded ideas return to present on their progress and find out who makes it to the next level of funding.

Ten startups presented, and three reached the $20,000 level of funding: Sportsman Tracker, Seat Side Service and New Era Green Energy.

Sportsman Tracker

Sportsman Tracker is an idea for a mobile app that uses an algorithm to analyze hunting and fishing patterns, generating an inside scoop for users on the best places and times for hunting.

Start Garden was impressed that has grown and is being developed for multiple platforms.

“We originally doubted that hunters would want to share their best hunting locations. However, with more than 2,500 users and a one-year licensing deal, Sportsman Tracker’s experiment proved us wrong,” said Kim Pasquino, portfolio manager at Start Garden. “Signing a significant deal with a major sporting goods retailer really sold us. We are looking forward to seeing what Jeff and his team do next.”

Seat Side Service

Seat Side Service is an idea for a mobile app for fans at a sporting event or concert to order food, drinks and other merchandise, so it can be delivered right to their seats.

Since the Seat Side Service’s initial investment, its team, led by Barak Liebovitz, created partnerships with a number of stadiums and events.

“Who hasn’t been to a concert or sporting event and wanted your food and drinks delivered straight to your seat? Seat Side Service delivered a service that worked well, and people were able to avoid long concession lines,” Pasquino said. “Great results are tough to pull off, and we are eager to see the next phase of Barak’s experiment.”

New Era Green Energy

New Era Green Energy isn’t an app, but the idea behind the business venture founded by Wayne Craker is to create a new and better approach to anaerobic digestion, allowing any organic waste to be digested at a faster rate, with high quality methane gas and liquid fertilizer produced as a byproduct.

“New Era has an exciting technology, and we love the biomimicry of a cow's stomach happening with the ‘super bacteria’,” said Rick DeVos, Start Garden’s founder. “Ordinarily, this is the stage when we would encourage inventors to team with other businesses, and we are pleased to see Wayne is already working with Organicycle, another Start Garden portfolio company.”

GAPro System

The Start Garden’s team invested $5,000 into GAPro System.

GAPro System is an idea for a web- and mobile-based platform for the property and casualty insurance industry, which would centralize existing silos of compliance information to accept, verify and store policy data quickly and on a subscription basis.

“(This allows the) industry to reduce effort and cost by 80 percent of today’s $36 billion compliance cost. By sharing and communicating data through the platform, GAPro gives insurance carriers and agencies an opportunity to get a return on their data without the high cost of IT infrastructure and integration,” writes idea creator Herb Gibson on his Start Garden page.

“GAPro centralizes all policy data to create standardization, efficiency and compliance that leads to significant cost and time savings,” Gibson writes. “This low-cost solution scales rapidly into other areas.”

The Ultraflex Series

The Start Garden community voted to award $5,000 to The Ultraflex Series, an idea for outdoor and military footwear that would be lightweight and terrain responsive.

“I’ve worked with talented engineers and designers to create the Ultraflex series and offer versatility in footwear by replacing old-school sole construction with a lightweight hybrid smart assembly. . . a terrain-responsive sole that absorbs and distributes impact to keep you trekking on the roughest terrain, without the bulk of a traditional boot,” writes idea creator Brian Schuster on his Start Garden page.

“Rather than manufacturing and selling gear independently, we will take advantage of established brands by licensing the UltraFlex trademark, design patent and utility patent,” Schuster writes. “We have already met or spoken with footwear executives at Feelgoodz, Vibram USA and McRae Footwear.“

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