Vol. 127 - NO. 39

Blog Startup CPG

SINCE 2019

CPG Accelerator Seeks Brands
for Dallas Cohort

Emily Kealey is the managing director of SKU, the nation’s first CPG accelerator. Learn more about how SKU works with brands to create the next generation of household names.

SKU is looking for the next Siete

Over the past decade, SKU has worked with more than 100 brands, including such powerhouses as EPIC Provisions, Siete and DUDE Wipes. Over the course of the program, brands have rebranded, pivoted and grown into stronger brands much better prepared to scale.

SKU – the nation’s first accelerator – is looking for innovative brands for its third Dallas cohort, which kicks off in August. Applications are open until May 30th.
SKU is looking for innovative market-validated brands led by passionate founders. Brands can be in a variety of categories, including food, beverage, apparel, personal care, and household products.

SKU’s ecosystem creates lasting change in CPG by providing all the resources founders need to accelerate the growth of their brands.The world-class program is driven by a community of the nation’s top CPG leaders, successful founders and industry experts. The intensive programs offer best-in-class education, hand-picked teams of  mentors and access to retailers and investors, all dedicated to building brands that change lives.

The 12-week program kicks off Aug. 23rd and culminates Nov. 15th, followed by the Premiere of a Showcase Pitch Video to an audience of investors, CPG leaders and fellow successful founders. The curriculum covers topics important to CPG startups, including Mission + Vision, Branding, Channel Strategy, Supply Chain and Innovation.

The program is supported by DFW CPG, an organization co-founded by Richard Riccardi and Rick Jordan last year to help connect and build food and beverage companies in the Metroplex.

Mentoring: SKU’s Special Sauce

One of the most valuable components of SKU is its elite community of mentors from some of the most successful consumer product companies as well as successful CPG founders, subject-matter experts and investors.
Each SKU founder is surrounded by a hand-picked team of mentors focused on helping them scale their businesses as they guide them through the program. In addition to the rewards of working with founders to help them achieve their potential, mentors benefit from the experience of working side-by-side with their peers.

“SKU was like a mini-MBA”

Paul Voge, SKU Austin alum and co-founder of Aura Bora, said the accelerator had a huge impact on his business.
“SKU was incredible,” said Voge. “In January, I was a guy with 30,000 cans of sparkling water in my basement. By May, we had a real CPG business. The curriculum is great, but the community is best in class.”

Last year’s SKU Dallas cohort included Core & Rind, Crated with Love, Daily Crunch Snacks, Hella Cocktail and wildwonder.

“SKU Dallas has accelerated us in all aspects of our business,” said SKU Dallas 2021 alum Laurel Orley, co-founder and Crunch Executive Officer of Daily Crunch Snacks. “Looking back at our brand positioning, it’s night and day compared to where we were before after going through SKU. There was so much about our brand in the market that I wasn’t aware of and now I have a clear sense of how to move forward and succeed.”

“SKU was like a mini-MBA for me,” said Hella Cocktail co-founder Tobin Ludwig. “It offered powerful weekly seminars and inspiring mentors that in aggregate created a huge amount of value for our business. SKU also connected us with a valuable network of people and institutions that can help our business reach its goals.”

SKU was founded in 2011 by lawyer Shari Wynne Ressler and serial entrepreneur Clayton Christopher, founder of Sweet Leaf Tea and Deep Eddy Vodka, with the mission of accelerating CPGs. It has been a key factor in establishing Austin as a CPG powerhouse.

SKU Dallas

  • Curriculum: 12-week program
  • Equity: Based on trailing 12-month revenue
  • Timing:  ’21  Track runs August-November
  • Curriculum: Covers topics important to CPG startups, including Mission + Vision, Branding, Channel Strategy, Supply Chain and Innovation.

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