Start Garden spins off venture fund to create Wakestream Ventures

Start Garden has spun off its venture fund to launch Wakestream Ventures. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wakestream Ventures will continue to focus on making early-stage investments in high-growth tech, hardware-software convergence and e-commerce enablement. Rick DeVos is serving as Wakestream’s CEO.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., August 30, 2016—Start Garden, West Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, is spinning off its venture

capital fund into a private entity. The newly independent VC will operate under the name Wakestream Ventures with Rick DeVos as its CEO. The fund will continue to make early stage investments with a focus on high-growth technology, hardware-software convergence and e-commerce enablement.

The venture capital fund launched in 2012 as the investment function of Start Garden, a critical component of the organization’s commitment to expanding the financial, intellectual and social capital in West Michigan’s startup ecosystem. The venture fund will remain an active investor in the region, but will separate its funds from any public or foundational support.

“With early stage, venture capital investment comes significant risk, which our ecosystem needs, and the separation with Start Garden ensures there will be no confusion between the investment activity of the fund with the social investments being made through Start Garden,” said Rick DeVos, CEO of Wakestream. “The Midwest is rich with investment opportunity, and Wakestream will continue to lead and co-invest in early stage, series-A or pre- series-A investment rounds that expand the ecosystem.”

In April, Start Garden announced it would manage the administration of the Grand Rapids SmartZone and merge with eMerge West Michigan, to create two new entities—Start Garden Ecosystem and Start Garden Foundation, a Michigan 501c3. Wakestream will be wholly funded by private assets and will not operate using public dollars or dollars designation to the Start Garden Foundation. Kim Pasquino and Mike DeVries, will serve as Wakestream’s chief investment officers.

“The incorporation of new public and non-profit funds allows Start Garden to expand its work within the West Michigan community, by developing programming, talent connections and space for emerging entrepreneurs,” said Mike Morin, CEO of Start Garden. “Spinning off the for-profit venture capital fund allows Wakestream to focus solely on high-growth, high-risk financial investments.”
Additional details about Wakestream Ventures and its portfolio is available at

About Wakestream Ventures
Wakestream Ventures is the financial investment and strategic counsel behind fast-moving, high-growth emerging technologies and platforms. The firm was founded in 2012 by Rick DeVos to make early stage investments in high-growth technology, hardware-software convergence and e-commerce enablement. Wakestream Ventures is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich.