Image: Start Garden

Start Garden

A new coalition of companies and venture capitalists, including Start Garden and Steelcase, aims to make Grand Rapids, Michigan a specialized hub for IoT ideas and products. Dubbed the Seamless Accelerator, the coalition’s goal is to provide startups with both initial capital and mentorship to encourage innovation and solve challenges associated with IoT development.

“We really can’t replicate that entrepreneurial spirit,” said Jim Keane, CEO of Steelcase. “There’s nothing like a person waking up with an idea and throwing their heart and soul into it. We really want to tap into that idea of a person with a dream.”

The plan is to pick ten startups every six months, which will then receive $20,000, advice from corporate leaders, and access to vendors and mentors to facilitate development of products.

Seamless Accelerator is in good company. Many other accelerators, from Bolt to YCombinator to HAXLR8R, have started to embrace hardware startups or have been founded specifically to support them.