NEW YORK — Five food and beverage startups have been selected to participate in the BeyondSKU accelerator program for early-stage consumer packaged goods businesses. Now in its fourth year, BeyondSKU is an extension of Austin, Texas-based SKU in partnership with BeyondBrands, a natural products consulting agency in New York.
Participants will receive education, mentorship and networking opportunities during the 12-week track, held in New York through December. Brands are selected based on market traction, innovation and founder story. The program culminates in a pitch event in January. The curriculum will cover topics including mission and vision, branding, investment, legal, channel strategy, supply chain and innovation.
“Building on the continued success of the 20-plus tracks between our Austin and New York chapters, we are excited to kick off BeyondSKU Track 4 in September 2023,” said Eric Schnell, founder and chief executive officer of BeyondBrands. “Along with our sponsors, including NieslenIQ and Ampla, I am proud that our New York-focused accelerator plays a key role in growing our local entrepreneurial community of small brands to become household names, while leveraging the collective wisdom of our diverse and talented group of seasoned CPG veterans who lean in deep with mentorship and networking.”
The BeyondSKU cohort includes:
Dam Good English Muffins, a family-operated baker of vegan sourdough English muffins with an open hiring model;
Down to Earth, a brand of ready-to-drink iced teas formulated with functional ingredients;
Gourmend Foods, a maker of organic, gut-friendly broths and seasonings;
Kekoa Foods, a manufacturer of organic purees incorporating herbs, roots and spices to expand babies’ palates; and
Pinsa Love, a brand of Roman-style, frozen pizzas.
More than 120 companies including Epic Provisions and Siete Family Foods have participated in SKU since it was established in 2011. In recent years, SKU has developed programs in additional cities, including Dallas, Minneapolis and Atlanta. Previous participants of BeyondSKU include Dalci, Occo, Sunny Culture, Creation Nation and Fabalish.
“BeyondSKU provided us with an incredible opportunity to refine our brand, perfect our pitch, and build an incredible network of industry veterans,” said Paul Majcherczyk, co-founder of Fabalish. “In addition to the excellent coursework, we were assigned a team of dedicated mentors that gave us hands-on support in building our business and strategy. It has enabled us to take a big step forward as a brand.”