SKU, the trailblazing consumer product accelerator, this month launches its first Petcare Track and a cohort centered on Women & BIPOC founders' brands. The four brands selected for each cohort showcase creativity, passion and true innovation--from functional foods to ease painful periods to hip-hop inspired pet treats.
The petcare cohort includes D.R.E.A.M. Pet Food, 5 Element Food Therapy, Innovative Pet Lab and Pupsentials. The Women & BIPOC Track includes Blossom Essentials, Neeshi, Phreshly and The Humble Seed.
The 12-week cohort kicked off Aug. 24th. The founders and mentors will celebrate the culmination of the tracks with a Showcase Pitch event in Austin on Nov. 14th.
“I am most looking forward to networking with some of the best and brightest in the CPG space and forging meaningful connections and collaborations,” says Sarah Meis, co-founder of The Humble Seed. “My dream for The Humble Seed is to disrupt the snack category so your whole family can snack happy and healthy.”
SKU works by equipping startups with the tools they need to succeed. Startup companies receive the resources and relationships that they require to become breakout successes and household names. During the 12-week program, SKU surrounds founders with a customized curriculum focused on the entire CPG ecosystem, advanced operations support and access to funding.
While the curriculum is best in class, the true stars of the show are the mentors–a dream team of industry leaders, successful founders and investment luminaries. Each brand is surrounded by a hand-picked team of mentors who guide them through the 12-week program, all focused on helping these startups successfully scale.
“While working with SKU seasoned mentors, industry experts, and networking with like-minded entrepreneurs, we hope to supercharge growth, gain essential skills, and position Innovative Pet Lab for long-term success,” said Jaime Smith, chief executive at Innovative Pet Lab.
Both cohorts will be hybrid programs with both online and in person programming--a model SKU first adopted during the onset of the pandemic that also gives founders across the nation access to SKU without geographic barriers.
SKU’s mentors are what truly sets the accelerator apart. Brands are surrounded by a customized mentor team hand picked to meet their needs. SKU’s mentor community is a who’s who in the CPG industry and includes successful entrepreneurs, investors and top executives from some of the most successful consumer product companies including Coca-Cola, 7-Eleven and Target. They all are united in their desire to help founders successfully scaling these companies
SKU's track record speaks volumes and includes such brands as Siete Foods, EPIC Provisions and DUDE Wipes. Of its impressive alumni lineup, over 80 percent are thriving to this day.
The four Petcare Brands include:
- D.R.E.A.M. Pet Food: D.R.E.A.M. (Dogs Rule Everything Around Me) was founded by Jaime Cooper and Paul Paige, who grew up loving hip-hop music. They noticed there were no brands that represented the people and culture they grew up loving. Leveraging their knowledge and experiences from the pet food industry, they worked to curate a pet treat line consisting of the finest ingredients. The name was inspired by an iconic hip-hop song.
- 5 Element Food Therapy: 5 Element Food Therapy, founded by Sharon Tuggle, offers fresh whole food supplements to add protein, fat and mineral-rich organic vegetables to a pet’s diet. 5 Element got its start when Tuggle's dog, Hoochie, had a seizure one day. A week later she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given no more than two months to live. She contacted her vet who suggested she had food therapy--a combination of protein, vegetables and herbs. Hoochie lived for nine months.
- Innovative Pet Lab: 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 by identifying current and underlying health issues and evaluating whether diet and lifestyle are working with a simple at-home stool collection. Easy-to-understand digital reports and targeted recommendations provide a path to improve overall pet health.
- Pupsentials: Pupsentials creates hyper-detailed custom pet embroidery apparel. Started by Kyndall and Jake Chambers. Pupsentials wants to redefine what it means to be pet obsessed with a wide range of items--from hats to fanny packs. Pupsentials has been featured on Oprah's Fav list, Goop and Yahoo.