As I am sure everyone knows Start Garden started today. Start Garden is the next big thing from Rick DeVos and Pomegranate Studios, where people can submit ideas for a chance receive $5,000 in an initial investment. Each week, 2 ideas will be chosen and given $5,000 and then the winners will be required to come back in 60-90 days and present where they are at with their winning idea for opportunity to get additional funding, in the amount of $20,000. Ideas that are progressing well and have potential to become viable businesses can in theory receive up to $500,000 dollars from Start Garden. The fund is backed up $15 million commitment from the DeVos family, so there is plenty of opportunities for many ideas to get a lot of investment dollars. Throughout the process, ideas receiving funding will be able to get some resources and mentoring from Start Garden to help their idea move ahead. The public gets to be involved in the process as well by choosing one of the weekly winners and public events will be held to present the progress of previous winners.
Some things I like about Start Garden:
- Accountability. Unlike the 5×5 Nights winners, who are not required to update anyone on their progress or what they have done with money that they won, Start Garden requires winners to come back in 60-90 days and update everyone on their progress. Not to mention that great minds think alike, here is my tweet to 5×5 Night (Pomegranate Studio) on January 24, 2012 and their response. I asked them if they followed-up with winners on their progress or what they were up to, and 5×5 responded that they didn’t.. I was always curious if there was an mechanism in place besides one own morals which prevent someone from coming up with a fake idea (charity/or good cause) and win the competition and just take the $5,000 and run. Granted it would be a lot of work for someone to do all that but I am sure there must have been at least some hucksters who submitted ideas with this premise. Plus people what to know what happens next, its like a cliffhanger and people want to see a resolution or at least the next chapter. Start Garden did a great thing by adding in this extra step.
- Helping ideas get off the ground, and giving them money
- General philanthropy of the DeVos family
- Getting exposure to some new, great, and interesting ideas (it could potentially give me more fodder for my blog)
- And this great quote form Mlive “Backed by his wealthy family, [Rick] DeVos…” Wow way to empower all the troll commentators to like to spout negatives about the DeVos family.
Some things I don’t like:
- All the garden talk. I know its part of the name, and it helps complete the narrative, but look at this quote from Rick DeVos: ““Start Garden creates the field and brings the water. We ask the people to bring their ideas and plant them. And we ask existing businesses in our region to become the farmers. Because we believe the soil is fertile for business here and we can be the best place for somebody to have an idea and run with it”
- Never did they really say what is going to happen to 5×5 Night, though by looking at the website, it does say “Site Closed Temporarily closed. Check out our new project Start Garden.” None of the stories I read mentioned it, even the official press release never states what is going to happen to 5×5.
- The logo should be green or brown instead of yellow… you know garden, things growing, greenery and soil.
Start Garden, cool idea, that I will be curiously following, and I am especially looking forward for the 60-90 day recaps which I think is the best part. What are your thoughts?