SKU, the nation’s leading consumer product accelerator, will host its Showcase Pitch event on November 14 from 4:30-8 p.m. CT in Austin, Texas for the eight brands participating in SKU’s Pet Care and Women & BIPOC Tracks. RSVP here to watch the event.
The two cohorts feature brands that make some of the most innovative products we’ve seen — from an at-home pet diagnostic test to treats that relieve the symptoms of menstruation and menopause.
“We are excited for the CPG community to see these exciting brands, who all bring something unique to their categories, whether it be delicious seedy crackers or high-quality embroidery featuring your pet,” said SKU Executive Director Buff Greebe. “Join us to witness the passion of our amazing founders in the latest SKU track.”
The SKU Showcase celebrates the culmination of the 12-week program, providing the opportunity for founders to present their pitches to an audience of CPG leaders from around the country. The event integrates a panel of investor judges who each will have $1M in “Monopoly Money” to invest in the companies.
The eight brands participating in the Fall 2023 tracks are:
Pet Care Tracks
D.R.E.A.M. Pet Food (Dogs Rule Everything Around Me)
Jaime Cooper and Paul Paige, who grew up loving hip-hop music, noticed there weren’t any brands that represented the people and culture they grew up loving. Leveraging their experiences in the pet food industry, they worked to create a pet treat line consisting of the finest ingredients.
Founded by Sharon Tuggle, 5 Elements offers fresh whole food supplements to add protein, fat, and mineral-rich organic vegetables to a pet’s diet.
Founded by Robert David, Betsy Redmond, and Jamie Smith, scientists with decades of experience in diagnostic testing, Innovative Pet Lab is transforming pet care with advanced home testing to identify current and underlying health issues.
Started by Kyn and Jake Chambers, Pupsentials creates hyper-detailed custom pet embroidery apparel. Pupsentials wants to redefine what it means to be pet-obsessed with a wide range of items — from hats to fanny packs.
Women & BIPOC Track
Founded by Sarah Vilenskiy, Blossom Essentials creates clean, transformative, and effective face and body products for your customers with ultra-sensitive, dry, and inflamed skin.
Founded by Gita Vellanki, Neeshi makes functional foods based on the principles of Ayurveda and natural food healing to ease heavy and painful periods and PMS.
During the pandemic, Paul Owusu and Ama Marfo founded the premium canned cocktail brand using locally sourced ingredients and premium spirits inspired by West African flavors, and Southern cuisine and culture.
The snack food brand was founded by CPG veterans Sarah Meis, Steve Shaffer, and Jennifer Mancuso who worked together to create a healthier and tastier cracker. The Humble Seed combines six seedy superfoods — sunflower, chia, flax, sesame, pumpkin, and hemp — to make deliciously crisp crackers.
SKU was founded in Austin in 2011 as the nation’s first accelerator with a consumer products focus, SKU has produced a variety of interesting and successful brands, including Siete Foods, EPIC Provisions, and The Seaweed Bath Co. Of SKU’s more 90 alumni, more than 90 percent are still in business today.
SKU is currently recruiting brands and mentors for its Spring 2024 Track, which kicks off in March. The track will be virtual, with in-person events at the launch and conclusion of the program. Brands can be from various categories, including food and beverage, apparel, and beauty.
Ideal candidates are market-validated companies with compelling founders and innovative products in hot categories. Interested brands can apply here. The application deadline is November 19.