Start Garden is a $15-million early stage venture capital fund in downtown Grand Rapids. Photo via fb.com
The $15-million seed fund Start Garden is taking a break from its regular schedule to focus on growing its portfolio companies.
Start Garden in Grand Rapids said at its monthly Update Night last week that it will take its annual summer hiatus during July, putting the brakes on weekly investments, Update Night and educational classes.
While entrepreneurs can continue to make online submissions, the next weekly $5,000 investment decision will be made on July 31, with the fund’s full schedule expected to resume on Aug. 6.
The fund will devote more attention to fostering growth in its portfolio companies with $20,000 or more in funding from Start Garden.
The reduced schedule in July also gives the Start Garden team flexibility in the evenings.
“If we are going to host an Update Night or an evening event at the space, our team has to be here,” said Paul Moore, a spokesperson for Start Garden. “The summer break, we still keep the regular day hours, but we stop doing those things that require the entire team . . . gives the team one month out of the year to be flexible.”
Moore said the reduction in evening programs allows the team to schedule longer meetings with portfolio companies located in cities requiring travel, such as Traverse City or Holland.
Start Garden will continue to maintain afternoon advisor hours on Tuesdays and host a week-long camp, Kidpreneur, for children ages 10-13 on July 14-18.
The all-day camp focuses on starting a business and technology, such as application development, web design and coding.
The Kidpreneur experience also includes a final presentation day, when students will discuss their business, application, game or project they worked on during the camp.
At the June Update Night, Start Garden didn’t invest further in any of the presenting startups.
“It is something we actually go back and forth on,” Moore said. “Do we invest because it is a cycle, or do we invest because we think there is a lot of potential? There were two pretty interesting ideas, but it didn’t seem like their experiment had really run its course yet.”
Start Garden has invested $6 million in entrepreneurs since it began in 2012. The fund has received 1,956 online submissions, as of May 22.
In the past year, about 100 startups have received funding from the fund.