Want to Apply or Get Involved with SKU?
Browse our Frequently Asked Questions
What is SKU?
SKU is a startup accelerator program specially designed for early-stage consumer product companies. Our team, mentors, and partners work with selected CPG startups on every aspect of their businesses.
What does CPG stand for?
Consumer Packaged Goods.
What does SKU stand for?
Stock Keeping Unit. Pronounced “skyoo.”
Why is your accelerator named SKU?
SKU is the atomic unit of consumer products.
Where are you located?
Our HQ (that’s startup lingo for headquarters) is in Downtown Austin, Texas.
Is Austin as cool as everyone says?
No. No, it isn’t. (Wink, wink.)
What is SKU looking for in a consumer product startup?
Startup companies who are accepted into our programs are usually selling one or more physical products to actual, paying customers. Their products may be food, beverage, apparel, jewelry, toys, tools, or anything you could imagine being sold at your favorite brick-and-mortar or online retailer. The people who use or consume your product think it’s awesome, want to buy more, and want to tell their friends about it. The founders of most startups accepted into SKU anticipate raising outside capital to fund their growth (i.e., selling an equity stake in the business to one or more angels, VCs, or PE firms).
What is SKU not looking for in a consumer product startup?
SKU typically will not accept a company that is just an idea or a one-off prototype. We are looking for what we call “market-validated products” that have achieved some distribution and revenue (even if it’s not much at this point). If your product is in a stagnant or slow-growth category, we will expect to see something truly remarkable or innovative about what you’re doing. Your company is probably not a good fit for SKU if you don’t have plans to grow outside of your local market or are averse to sharing equity with partners outside of the founding team. If you have an eighty-page business plan, are planning to raise five million in venture capital, and have zero dollars in sales, we’re probably not for you. Also, we are focused exclusively on product businesses, so your service or franchise business isn’t in our wheelhouse.
How much money will I receive if my company is accepted?
Each accepted company will receive at least $5K per founder, as soon as possible once the program begins (assuming you have a bank account, etc.). In many cases, our network of mentors and investors choose to make further equity investments in participating and alumni startups.
Are there any other perks?
Yes. We have a number of partner and sponsor organizations that love to work with SKU companies. Our program companies gain privileged access to a range of services (e.g., design, research, manufacturing, fulfillment, web hosting, travel, legal, accounting, etc.), as well as to additional financial options (e.g., equipment and production loans).
How much equity will I give up?
Companies with less than $1M in annual revenue in the preceding 12 months (for SKU 4, effectively 2014 numbers), will provide SKU with an 8% equity stake. Companies with more than $1M in annual revenue during the same period will provide SKU with a 6% equity stake. These two basic scenarios cover 99% of cases.
I’m not located in Texas. Can I still participate in SKU?
Absolutely! We’ve structured the SKU 5 schedule and program benefits to make it much easier for consumer product companies from across the country to participate. In our experience, proximity matters a lot, so we still want to see your smiling face in Austin once a week, but we don’t require you to move here for the duration of the program.
What happens after the program is over?
Fly, birdie, fly! SKU will prepare your startup for amazing growth and will provide ongoing encouragement and support after the program is over. SKU maintains frequent communication with our alumni companies, and both the SKU team and mentors remain available to help as needed.
How do I become a SKU Mentor?
If you are a successful serial entrepreneur, subject matter expert, and/or active investor with a passion for helping the next generation of consumer product startups, we’d love to talk with you about becoming a SKU mentor. Our program is structured in a way that facilitates participation from mentors from across the country, so you don’t have to be Texas-based to become a part of our community.
Prospective Partners & Media
How do I become a SKU partner or sponsor?
We have a number of different ways for companies and organizations with complementary missions to integrate into the SKU ecosystem. Reach out to us, and we’ll set up a time to chat.
Where should I direct an interview request or other press contact?
We enjoy talking about the cool stuff that is happening at SKU, but we LOVE to tell the world about the awesome consumer product startups we get to work with. If you’re a member of the media, feel free to drop us a line.