Veteran-owned MOVE Systems International investing $13 million; adding 27 jobs to expand eco-friendly food cart and electricity pedestal production
Today 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.
A special news conference will be held at Rosa Park Circle Aug. 16 in which Right Place, Start Garden, Wakestream Ventures and MEDC officials will discuss this collaboration. MOVE Systems will also demonstrate 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.
MOVE 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.
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.
“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.