NRRI startup receives state grant

DEED funding helps entrepreneur launch unique online sales platform for NRRI fast-growing hybrid tree.

A new University of Minnesota startup business, launching from the U’s Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth, received one of 26 grants from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) this month. The funding comes from DEED’s Launch Minnesota Business Operation and Innovation grant program.

DIY Trees LLC, located in Hermantown, MN, is looking to transform how people buy and grow trees by developing an app-based tutorial and user-friendly tree kits to provide personalized tree growing experiences with fast-growing hybrid poplar tree varieties, including NRRI’s InnovaTree™. This new endeavor will rent space in NRRI Duluth's greenhouse to get the trees started and ready to ship.

DIY Trees logo

Along with the app, what sets DIY TreesTM apart from more traditional nurseries is the kit that comes with the tree purchase. Everything a customer needs to successfully grow a tree, minus the shovel, is included.  This University of Minnesota start-up will be ready to accept limited orders by Memorial Day. The website has an email subscription button for those wanting to be made aware as soon as possible for tree kit availability.

Launch Minnesota is a statewide collaborative effort spearheaded by DEED to support startups and grow Minnesota’s innovation ecosystem. Innovation Grants are awarded to promising, innovative and scalable technology businesses, providing up to $35,000 to use toward operational costs such as research and development, direct business expenses and technical assistance.

Since its inception in 2019, Launch Minnesota has awarded $8.2 million in grant funding and 62% has been awarded to targeted founders. Innovation grantees have gone on to raise more than $150 million in additional post-award funding.

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