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PepsiCo Selects 10 Startups for First North American Food Tech Accelerator

December 10, 2018

PepsiCo Ventures has launched the North American version of its startup accelerator called Nutrition Greenhouse, a year after its inaugural European program.

The CVC has been focused on finding emerging brands that offer premium yet functional products with benefits that consumers can easily understand and feel – two things the investment arm has identified as markers of long-term success.

“The first year of the European program saw eight brands deliver an estimated combined sales growth of over €10 million – a fourfold increase throughout the duration of the 6-month program.   The European leg is ongoing and is now in its second year,” Daniel Grubbs, managing director of PepsiCo Ventures Group, wrote to AgFunderNews.

The 10 North American finalists were selected by an external and internal committee of PepsiCo leaders and were chosen based on their product and brand qualities, focus on consumer nutrition, scalability of their business model and uniqueness in the market.

  • Bohana (Boston, Massachusetts) – Reinvented an ancient high-protein snack with popped water lily seed.
  • Hapi Drinks (Austin, Texas) – Sugar-free kids drink founded with the mission to fight childhood obesity and type II diabetes.
  • IQ BAR (Boston, Massachusetts) – A nutrition bar formulated for cognitive energy, function, and health.
  • Remedy Organics (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey) – Delicious plant-based functional beverages made with potent superfoods, ayurvedic herbs, and botanicals as well as protein and probiotics.
  • Rule Breaker Snacks (Brooklyn, New York) – Innovative bean-based treats that are packed with protein and fiber, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, free from the top eight allergens and defiantly delicious.
  • Sophie’s Kitchen (Sebastopol, California) – The first company to make plant-based seafood alternatives which are 100% gluten-free, 100% soy free, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Kosher.
  • Too FIT (Fort Worth, Texas) – A lifestyle brand dedicated to crafting and delivering the highest quality nutritional supplements to inspire, educate, and fuel the passions and journeys of adventurers, athletes, and weekend warriors.
  • Torii Labs (Calabasas, California) – A health product company creating powerful plant-based functional beverages that balance, build and brighten your body and mind.
  • Wildway (San Antonio, Texas) – A better-for-you breakfast and snack food company that inspires others with products that provide real nutrition from real food to fuel life’s wild adventures.
  • YoFiit (Toronto, Canada) – A plant-based company focusing on functional, clean and innovative meal solutions, one of which is a patent-pending high protein, high omega-3 and gum-free chickpea milk alternative with flax offering 40 grams of protein per container.

We spoke with Grubbs to learn more about why PepsiCo Ventures launched the program and what it has to offer startups.

Why did PepsiCo Ventures launch an accelerator?

Nutrition Greenhouse is a great, direct way for PepsiCo to engage with entrepreneurs who are pushing a nutrition and wellness agenda with progressive ideas. It gives us front-row seats to the most innovative startups seeking to address ever-changing consumer needs. Just as importantly, the program helps foster an entrepreneurial spirit among our colleague-mentors, giving them a unique leadership experience as they work closely with these startups to address challenges and help them grow

Why expand to North America now?

After a successful launch in Europe last year, PepsiCo brought its Nutrition Greenhouse collaborative accelerator program to North America (U.S. and Canada) this year. The launch in North America is a testament to the great benefit of having a global footprint as ours, where we can easily lift and shift great ideas from one geography to another. We hope to continue expanding the program throughout the rest of the world.

What types of startups do you look for?
For the program, PepsiCo sought companies that are helping transform the food and beverage industry and whose values are consistent with our Performance with Purpose vision. Our Performance with Purpose efforts are directed toward creating a healthier relationship between people and food while continuing to grow our business. Through our 2025 Agenda, we are making progress on our goals, which aim to deliver change across our company, value chain, industry, and the world.

What is your accelerator model?

The selected companies are provided $20,000 in grant funding and are participating in a 6-month business optimization program specifically designed to accelerate growth. The program will feature a one-on-one mentorship program, with PepsiCo executives and brand accelerator experts, whose expertise can help them overcome challenges in marketing, distribution, manufacturing, supply chain, packaging, label claims, fundraising or other elements of their business. The mentors include experts from various brands within the PepsiCo family including Quaker, Naked, KeVita, Stacy’s, Red Rock Deli and Off the Eaten Path.

Does PepsiCo Ventures invest in any of the companies?

At the end of the program, one winning company will be awarded an additional $100,000 in funding to continue its expansion, and an opportunity to continue partnering with PepsiCo to further their growth.

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