Back to Blog February 09, 2015 in

MEMBER NEWS: Start Garden Expands Venture Capital Fund, Accepting Applications to the Start Garden Space

Navigate all the resources featured in the Landscape Guide by geographic location, industry sector, and organization type. Landscape Guide
Everything you need to know to make a meaningful first connection can be found in our 2021-22 Landscape Guide! Download the Guide

2023 MVCA Research Report

Our state's entrepreneurial economy hinges on our ability to provide capital to our high-growth, high-potential companies. Download the Report


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., February 9, 2015—In fewer than three years, Start Garden, the unconventional, early-stage, venture capital fund, has transformed Michigan’s startup ecosystem. Today the organization announced it has increased the amount of its cumulative investment limit from $500,000 to $1.5 million. It has also opened the application process for startups to work in its new location at 40 Pearl St. in downtown Grand Rapids, nicknamed Start Garden Space.

Since its launch in 2012, Start Garden has provided financial capital and more to entrepreneurs in the region. During its first years, the organization focused its efforts on seeding hundreds of ideas that could become potential businesses. Having developed a portfolio of promising startups, Start Garden’s next phase will raise the maximum investment it can make in a single startup from $500,000 to $1,500,000, further cultivating the portfolio and playing a larger role in Midwest early stage deals.

“Start Garden needed to establish a volume of ideas, which we have done, but it’s now important for us to raise the amount of our cumulative investment, so we can play a bigger role in deals happening in Michigan and the Midwest region,” said Rick DeVos, CEO of Start Garden. “At the point a company has proven its viability and is ready to expand, it needs a significant capital injection from multiple investors, and we are now positioned to lead and manage those types of series-A or pre- series-A investment rounds.”

Michigan has historically been a difficult place to raise a large, early stage investment round. To help guide and develop Phase II portfolio companies, Start Garden has hired Mike DeVries, a veteran venture capitalist from EDF Ventures out of Ann Arbor. DeVries will work with the existing portfolio and investment team to build out a portfolio of companies into which more than $500,000 is invested.

Start Garden will continue to find great entrepreneurs and great companies, and not only connect them with financial capital, but intellectual and social capital for entrepreneurs in the region. The organization’s move to 40 Pearl is not just a relocation, but a change in how it helps Michigan’s startup ecosystem mature.

“In 2012, we set out to make a place where people in the region could take their ideas. With the Start Garden Space, we’re making a place where entrepreneurs take their companies,” added Paul Moore, director of marketing and communications at Start Garden. “It’s modeled as a neighborhood where entrepreneurs that know they’ll need to fundraise can bump into new investors, trusted consultants and, of course, other entrepreneurs.”

The Start Garden Space will be home to several startup companies, venture capital funds and corporate partners seeking to co-work and participate directly in the ecosystem. Any company, whether or not they are part of Start Garden’s portfolio are invited to apply for membership in the new space. Applications are available at

Additional detail about Start Garden Phase II and the Start Garden Space can be found at

About Start Garden

Start Garden is an unconventional venture capital fund that invests in over a hundred ideas a year in small increments. The program brings financial, intellectual and social capital to ideas at the earliest stage by connecting them to the resources of an entire region.  Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it is founded by Rick DeVos who’s past projects included ArtPrize, 5×5 Night, Momentum and


Brian Burch

Start Garden


[email protected]