For nearly a decade now the heir apparent to the Amway fortune, Rick Devos has been establishing his own name in Michigan’s business circles. He is a creative entrepreneur who loves getting feedback from the public on his business endeavors, that’s why he’s started the Start Garden.
The Devos family has pledged $15 million dollars to the very unique Start Garden fund, competition, accelerator, contest of sorts. Here’s how it works. Every week the new venture capital fund will invest $5,000 in each of the two new ideas. They will continue to invest incrementally as the startups gain momentum. The first uniquely Devos twist is that the Start Garden team will choose the first idea, while the public at large can vote on the second.
Startups and entrepreneurs will submit their idea on the Start Garden website at startgarden.com. The public will have the opportunity to come to the website and vote on the idea. At the end of the week the idea with the most endorsement will win the second $5,000 dollars.
More after the break
“Anyone familiar with my past projects knows I enjoy getting the public involved with a ‘vote’,” added DeVos. “It’s not just to find out what people like, an idea has a much better chance of success when an entire community gets behind it.”
Once an entrepreneur or startup wins the $5,000 they will be invited back to Start Garden where they will make a presentation to Start Garden management. These update sessions will be 60-90 days down the road. The Start Garden management team will see who made a smart use of the first investment. At that point Start Garden could invest another $20,000 into the startup to see it continue it’s growth. Ultimately a startup or entrepreneur could get a total of $500,000 in incremental investments.
While this approach speaks to the way Devos likes to do things, it also insures that company’s and entrepreneurs use the money wisely. Rather than betting big sums like $500,000 in a seed round just to see an idea fall on it’s face the Start Garden management team of mentors and investors can monitor the progress, and encourage the company’s to make smart uses of the funds.
“Start Garden is one of our most ambitious projects to date and is the culmination of several years of work by the entire Pomegranate Studios team,” continued DeVos. “However, Start Garden won’t be successful if it’s just a few of us doing something big. Thousands of people doing small things in the same direction is the only way to make Michigan an incredible place for new ideas to grow.”
Startgarden.com opens up today. The first $5,000 investments will be decided on May 3, 2012 and at that time a new round will open up.
Submit your idea to Start Garden here
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