Start Garden invests $50K in ecommerce food platform


Local Orbit's slogan is "re-thinking the food chain." Photo via Facebook

Start Garden has decided to take part in an investment round for an ecommerce food platform at the $50,000 level.

Start Garden’s decision to invest came after several conversations with Erika Block, founder of Ann Arbor-based Local Orbit. The site, self-described as “ecommerce and business tools for the new food economy,” is an online one-stop shop for farmers, co-op producers and entrepreneurs who feed communities.

“Start Garden made some small investments in the food production space, and we’ve grown increasingly interested in the technology that enables farming over food production itself,” said Mike Morin, who handles Start Garden’s portfolio relations, in an announcement. “Local Orbit is solving a basic communication problem between producers and wholesale buyers. They already have traction and we’re excited to see where they go.”

“Local Orbit is the only company providing white label ecommerce and business management tools for the thousands of emerging market makers who are connecting wholesale buyers with local producers,” wrote idea creator Cory Van Horn on his Start Garden page. “We also offer opportunities for local marketplaces to connect within regional food systems.”

And the two scheduled selections for this week’s Start Garden funding are (drum roll, please) . . . Baby Cruize-n-Snooze and Stiletto Sweets, both of which will be backed at the $5,000 level.

Baby Cruize-n-Snooze, created by Scott DeVries, is device that connects to an infant’s car seat carrier and produces a humming sound that lulls the baby to sleep.

“With this product, both baby and parents get sleep, and it happens at home,” DeVries wrote on his Start Garden page. “In addition, the child’s existing car seat is used so baby can be easily moved back to wherever is needed. Sleeping Baby + Rested Parents = Happy Family!”

Stiletto Sweets, created by Noddea Moore Skidmore, is currently a home-based business that creates specialty-made pastries, cupcakes and cakes. Skidmore said it is her calligraphy and background as a bridal stylist that makes her treats so artistically unique.

“From untying a ribbon to opening the cover of a box and lifting a parchment-wrapped creation, every layer of Stiletto Sweets is laced in experience,” she wrote on her Start Garden page. “I’ve taken a treat that plays a part in people’s lives and made the product and packaging as special as the celebrations themselves.”

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