Banking & Finance, Real Estate, and Small Business & Startups

$15M seed fund triples presence downtown

November 21, 2014
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Live Video: Start Garden-backed ideas present at April Update Night
Start Garden’s downtown Grand Rapids space fills up each month for its Update Night event. Photo via

A seed fund that regularly invests in startup “experiments” is building out a new home in downtown Grand Rapids.

"Startup village"

Start Garden said yesterday that it has begun construction on the entire second floor of the Trust Building, at 40 Pearl St. NW.

The $15-million fund is planning to move into the roughly 15,000-square-foot space in early 2015.

The space at the Trust Building will triple the size of Start Garden’s current ground-floor headquarters in The CWD Building, at 50 Louis Ave. NW, and allow it to expand programming.

Start Garden expects to make additional announcements after the first of the year.

Rick DeVos, CEO of Start Garden, said the move is not only a relocation of Start Garden, but it’s also a major step in the growth of the fund after two years in operation.

“This move is a response to our ecosystem as it matures from experimenting with ideas, to building fast-growth startups,” DeVos said. “Two years ago, we didn’t have a portfolio. Now, we have a substantial number of companies into which we’ve invested — enough to populate a startup village for the region.”


Lorenz & Co. in Grand Rapids is designing the space, and AMDG Architects in Grand Rapids is the architect.

Triangle Associates in Grand Rapids is the construction manager for the project.

Trust Building

The Trust Building recently underwent an approximately $3-million renovation and is held by CWD Real Estate Investment in Grand Rapids.

Start Garden will join other new tenants in the building, including Huntington Bank. The building features vacant spaces from roughly 630 square feet up to more than 16,800 square feet, according to CWD’s website.

Start Garden

Since launching in 2012, Start Garden has funded 179 startup "experiments" through its weekly $5,000 investment program. The fund has also invested between $50,000 and $500,000 in 26 startups.

The fund offers classes, open hours for entrepreneurs to meet with advisors and Update Night events.

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