Start Garden invests $20K in Groovebox Studios, funds soda and heating ideas


Proper Soda was publicly endorsed for $5,000 from Start Garden. Image via

Only one of the nine returning startups at Start Garden’s monthly Update Night made the cut to move on to the next level of funding.

Groovebox Studios, a Detroit based music-company that uses Kickstarter funding to create a platform for independent artists to break into the music industry, received $20,000 in next-step funding on Thursday night.

In the 90 days since Start Garden’s first $5,000 investment in Groovebox, the company generated $30,000 in revenue, partnered with Chicago-based Icon Live Studio and hired two more employees. Groovebox also produced 14 live sessions and three fully produced projects, each of which was actually over-funded thanks to the generosity and excitement of fans.

“Ninety-five percent of bands are independent artists, and the majority will never sign to a major label,” said Shawn Neal, Groovebox co-founder. “They are in every city, in every country and fans are eager to support them. Groovebox live sessions and recorded products are becoming a gateway to creating instant commercial value for an artist.”

The other ideas that presented during update night but did not reach the next level of investment were BARK! Microstudios, Paintware CRM, Durabot, Fancy Fray, Ice Cream Gallery, PillPouch, Play and The Revolution.

In addition to the $20,000 investment made during Update Night, Start Garden also invested its weekly $10,000 split between two new startups, one chosen by the Start Garden team and one chosen by public endorsement on Start Garden’s website.

The Start Garden team put $5,000 into nuDawn Heat, a heating device that acts as both a durable and odorless heater and an air purifier that lowers the level of carbon monoxide.

“We have been working on this venture since early 2002. It’s been our mission to see this technology get to market because we know that it will help save people’s lives,” wrote idea creator Kevin Stoltz on his Start Garden page.

“We can and will design other types of burners using the same technologies but on different scales. There is market potential in the home heating industry as well as many other applications.”

Public endorsement put $5,000 into Proper Soda, an idea for a beverage company known for its unique flavors, including Hop Soda, Strawberry Rhubarb Soda and Beet Soda.

“There are other ingredients that have been used, but have been married with high-fructose corn syrup, for beverages that are not as tasty as they could, or should, be. Our goal is to take a natural ingredient and highlight it, to create great tasting, interesting sodas,” wrote idea creator Stephen Curtis on his Start Garden page.

“Professional beverage producing companies have agreed to do this small scale run, with the goal of making this line one of their staple production runs. These companies produce millions of beverages per year.”

Proper Soda and nuDawn Heat will be the last weekly investments Start Garden will make for a while, as the team begins a four-week hiatus from weekly investment, monthly updates and classes. The break is to allow the team to focus on its portfolio companies, ideas that have all reached or exceeded the $20,000 level of funding. Start Garden’s Second Step Series will be held on July 11. During this time, Start Garden will still continue to accept ideas throughout the month of July and return to full schedule on Thursday, Aug. 1.

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