Rick DeVos’ Pomegranate Studios, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based business incubator, has launched Start Garden, a $15m venture capital fund that focuses on investing in ideas.
The fund, which is backed by the DeVos family, aims “to remove the barriers for an idea to become a project and a project to become a startup business“.
Each week, Start Garden will invest $5k in two ideas submitted to the website at www.startgarden.com. One of the ideas will be chosen by Start Garden team members, with a broader community to select the other. The idea with the most supporters at the end of each week receives the second $5k investment.
During a first stage, Start Garden will first stage provides the necessary resources. Each person who receives the initial $5k investment has 60-90 days to get some traction with his/her idea, and return to give an in-person update at a public event. The update informs Start Garden management and mentors which candidate made a smart use of the funds. Ideas can receive an additional $20k to continue to move forward. Projects that demonstrate continued growth can ultimately receive as much as $500k in incremental investments.
Several national corporations including Steelcase, Amway, Cascade Engineering, Fifth Third Bank, among others, have already committed to provide their expertise and resources.
The website goes live today to accept ideas and endorsements with first $5k investments to be decided on Thursday, May 3.