There’s plenty of excitement brewing in Downtown Phoenix’s historic Levine Machine building (est. 1917) these days, as the one-time machinery repair building in the heart of the warehouse district is now home to several local startups, including the nonprofit incubator Seed Spot.
AZTechBeat covered Seed Spot’s kick-off event in October, when the lucky 16 companies selected from 191 applications were just settling into their new space. Since then, entrepreneurs from those companies in the inaugural Venture Program (as well as the 40 other companies selected for the Community Program), have either been honing their pitching skills at the bi-weekly public pitch nights (for the Venture Program), or gaining knowledge and support for their business model development, marketing and branding, revenue projections and other major areas of business development during the Monday night lecture series (for the Community Program).
All this hard work will culminate at the May 17 demo night, when the 16 companies in the Venture Program and a select group of the 40 will publicly pitch their concept to an estimated 800 attendees. After that, the folks at Seed Spot will begin the application cycle again in the summer to find the second class for their Venture and Community Programs.
Co-founders Courtney Klein Johnson and Chris Petroff created Seed Spot to fulfill their dream of creating a place where early stage social entrepreneurs could receive the support, mentorship, guidance and resources necessary to bring their dreams to life.
Seed Spot is a nonprofit incubator backed by community sponsors such as APS, Infusionsoft and AT&T. Its focus is on supporting innovative, Arizona-based social entrepreneurs; those creating high impact ventures that improve the lives of people and communities on a local, national, or global scale.
To be eligible for a “spot” at Seed Spot, ventures must demonstrate social impact, showcase a strong financial model, and currently generate less than $500,000 in annual revenue. The entrepreneurs must also reside in the state of Arizona and commit to their venture full-time. A selection panel reviews all applications, interviews finalists, and selects up to 20 ventures to participate in the Seed Spot Venture Program and up to 50 ventures to participate in the Seed Spot Community Program.
You can read about all 16 Seed Spot ventures on the website, but here’s a synopsis of its more tech-oriented ventures:
- eMoneyPool: An online platform for peer-lending groups. This micro-finance model is traditionally used by millions in minority populations to save or access capital, either for business or personal use, when they can’t turn to banks or traditional credit. eMoneyPool has modernized this practice by taking it online, connecting it to banks and reporting the transactions to a credit bureau, thereby making it accessible to the masses.
- Gardenfly: A web and mobile-based application that provides a social space for backyard gardeners and locavores to buy, sell, or trade their homegrown produce and make new connections within their community. Users are also encouraged to write tips and blogs within a “Garden Kit” that is available to the gardenfly community.
- SaucyPants: A website and application that simplifies the process of cooking at home – from recipe discovery to grocery delivery. Think of it as a Pinterest for recipes with tools to take your recipe to your dinner table. These tools include drag + drop meal planning, smart grocery list creation, and online grocery shopping and delivery integration.
More About Seed Spot
Founded: 2012 Co-Founders: Courtney Klein Johnson, Chris Petroff
Funding: Non-profit with community partners
Phone: (602) 753-7811
Headquarters: 605 E. Grant Street, Suite 102 • Phoenix, Arizona • 85004