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Collaboration between Start Garden and The Right Place leads to innovative mobile food cart manufacturer expansion in Walker

Michigan Business Network
August 17, 2017 9:00 AM

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Veteran-owned MOVE Systems International investing $13 million; adding 27 jobs to expand eco-friendly food cart and electricity pedestal production

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH (Aug. 16, 2017)- The Right Place, Inc., the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and Start Garden’s venture fund spin-off Wakestream Ventures celebrated its first collaborative effort to bring jobs to the region with the announcement that New York-based mobile food manufacturer Move Systems International (dba MOVE Systems) will invest more than $13 million and add 27 jobs at its Walker production facility.

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A special news conference was held at Rosa Park Circle Aug. 16 in which Right Place, Start Garden, Wakestream Ventures and MEDC officials discussed this collaboration. MOVE Systems demonstrated their innovative products.

This announcement of 27 new jobs is the first economic development project success for the partner organizations, The Right Place, Start Garden and Wakestream. Although they have collaborated on several initiatives in the past, this is the first early-stage, corporate expansion collaboration involving direct new jobs and investment.

Brooklyn Born.jpgMOVE Systems International, created in 2016 under the leadership of Michigan native and decorated Army veteran James Meeks, has experienced rapid growth due to its popular eco-friendly food cart, the MRV100 and its electricity pedestal Simple Grid. The food cart, which has so far been constructed for street vendor use in New York City, is outfitted with a solar roof, propane gas, lithium battery, refrigerator, grill, handwashing sink, steam table, double basket fryer and counter space for serving and food prep.

The Simply Grid device is an anti-idling electricity pedestal used by emergency vehicles and food trucks to eliminate generators and idling vehicles, which replaces dirty, noisy generators and engines with a silent, eco-friendly alternative.

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MOVE Systems will invest $13.3 million to increase production, add machinery and equipment as well as expand administrative areas of their facility, 3691 Northridge Drive, Walker, Michigan, 49544.

The MEDC is supporting the expansion effort with the approval of a $200,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

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“Michigan has the manufacturing talent and capabilities, combined with a venture capital market that also understands our goals to create cutting edge, smart, connected technologies and systems for our urban environments,” said James Meeks CEO of Move Systems, and a Purple Heart and Bronze Star-decorated former U.S. Army combat veteran. “Furthermore, we are committed to building social equity in the local communities where we operate, so we are excited to expand here in the area and continue that mission.”

The Right Place worked with the company in collaboration with the MEDC to assist the company’s growth in Walker versus out of state possibilities.

“The company was courted heavily by several other states but they wanted to continue manufacturing in Michigan,” said Therese Thill, Vice President, Business Development, The Right Place, Inc. “Our region’s diverse manufacturing supply chain combined with entrepreneurial support from Start Garden and Wakestream made West Michigan the smart location decision for MOVE Systems.”

Start Garden spun off its venture fund to launch Wakestream Ventures in August 2016. Based in Start Garden’s downtown Grand Rapids offices, Wakestream Ventures focuses on making early-stage investments in high-growth tech, hardware-software convergence and e-commerce enablement. Rick DeVos is serving as Wakestream’s CEO.

“Move Systems has shown the strong convergence of hardware and software systems that has defined Michigan for more than a century,” said Kim Pasquino, portfolio manager at Wakestream Ventures. “It is important to have a leader like Move Systems, which is transforming the landscape of Manhattan, build its smart, connected mobile food cart in Michigan, the state that has transformed mobility for generations.”

With the support of Start Garden, FreeRise Capital, LLC, the MEDC, LevelOne Bank, and DeWys Manufacturing, MOVE Systems has brought the manufacturing of the MRV100 on-shore from China to the state of Michigan to create the mass production of a truly American made product.

About MOVE Systems

MOVE Systems provides an environmentally friendly food cart that utilizes a hybrid energy system to reduce emissions and save money on energy costs. The cart is equipped with restaurant grade equipment in a modular format to meet the customer’s needs and an onboard GPS for fleet management. The company offers many solutions to the mobile food industry from franchising, catering events, brand activations and advertising, to mobile food management and mobile food cart sales. For more information about MOVE Systems, visit our website at movesystems.com.

About Start Garden

Start Garden is the epicenter of West Michigan’s startup ecosystem, and administrator of the Grand Rapids SmartZone. The organization brings together financial, intellectual, and social capital to entrepreneurs by connecting them to resources critical to their growth-stage. Start Garden advances the economy of Grand Rapids by establishing the area as a desired place for new businesses to begin. More at startgarden.com.

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 2016 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, Michigan. Details at wakestreamventures.com.

About The Right Place, Inc.

The Right Place, Inc., is a regional nonprofit economic development organization founded in 1985 and supported through investments from the private and public sector. Its mission is to promote economic growth in the areas of quality employment, productivity, and technology in West Michigan by developing jobs through leading business retention, expansion and attraction efforts. For more information, visit: www.rightplace.org.

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