Start Garden invests in Startup Weekend winner and sink stopper


U-Turn is a multi purpose storage unit. Photo via

The winner of Grand Rapids’ Startup Weekend is getting a $5,000 boost from Start Garden, along with a device designed to alleviate clogged sinks.

The Start Garden Team put $5,000 into Smart Sink Stopper, an idea for a drain trap device. The device, universally designed to fit almost every type of sink, can be easily cleaned to avoid clogging, and would be able to catch small items, such as contacts, jewelry or toys, before they get trapped or lost down the drain. Smart Sink also provides a space for installing a “clearzyme” tablet that is deposited into the trap and releases a bio-enzyme to keep septic systems environmentally clean.

“A simple solution to an everyday drain problem … now a thing of the past!” wrote idea creator Tom Goilbart on his Start Garden page. “Hundreds of millions slow running lavatory sinks exist in the U.S. alone… Expanding into international markets only increases sales exponentially. Ninety-six percent of the world’s purchasing power is outside the U.S.”

Public endorsement put $5,000 into U-Turn, a U-shaped storage option originally designed and created by a team comprised mostly of Kendall College students during January’s Startup Weekend held at The Factory space, 38 W. Fulton St., downtown Grand Rapids. The U-Turn device, one of the first physical objects ever created at Startup Weekend, was awarded first place by a panel of judges that included Start Garden founder Rick DeVos.

“U-Turn has many bracketing options that multiply the uses for the product. Demand will rise as the number of laptops and tablets is growing exponentially, while space comes at a premium,” wrote idea co-creator Tim Sporte on the Start Garden page. “U-Turn could be sold through many channels including mass/specialty retail, online retail and shipped direct.”

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