A blog by TechTown President and CEO Leslie Smith
Soup. Startups. Two seemingly disconnected ideas, right? Wrong. In Detroit, the most disparate concepts can come together to make magic, and this past Friday night they did exactly that. TechTown, in partnership with the committed folks from Detroit SOUP joined forces to highlight start-up entrepreneurs in the city and give them some critical seed funding.
Imagine this: It’s a Pure Michigan summer night (that means it was hot, super hot!) in a warehouse in Corktown and there are hundreds of people gathered to hear from four promising innovators. Did I mention it was a FRIDAY night, after a long week of work?
Well, it was and what you’re imagining is real. It happened and it was amazing. Together, we heard from Good Sweat, an online platform designed to support cause-based physical activity; Protean, a smart card that replaces all of the credit cards in your wallet; Rhiza Food Co., a four-season, urban-teaching farm; and Star Toilet Paper a company that employs the historically underutilized white space on toilet paper to sell advertising opportunities (yes, it’s recycled, biodegradable and non-toxic).
While the companies pitched, we were hot, but we didn’t mind. We were together, in fellowship, with people who care deeply about Detroit, economic vibrancy, independence and change.
We mingled, heard pitches, ate soup and voted. In the end, we gave $2,081 to Rhiza Food Co. (door kitty funds plus a $1,500 check from our generous sponsors, Huntington Bank and Hennessey Capital) and implored them to go advance their mission then come back and tell us how they did it.
We hope they’ll return for more support or pay some forward until together, we’ve changed the face of reality as we know it into what we know it must be.
Missed Startup SOUP? Check out the photo album on Facebook.