‘We are looking for the products in hot categories that bring something new to the market,” says SKU Managing Director Kirstin Ross. “The ideal SKU company has traction in the market, a compelling founder story and annual revenues of $100K and greater.”
SKU has worked with more than 90 brands in a wide range consumer product categories, including food and beverage, beauty and personal care, clothing and wellness. More than 90 percent are still in business.
SKU companies have produced more than 1,200 product skus generating a combined $2 billion in revenues and creating more than 2,500 jobs. SKU alumni include such CPG success stories as EPIC Provisions, Siete Foods and DUDE Products.
The 12-week program consists of programming that covers a wide range of topics invaluable to CPG entrepreneurs, including channel strategy, positioning and branding, packaging, labeling and safety, operations and fundraising presenters include top industry experts.
“Saying that SKU was worth the effort and time is an understatement,” David Kovalevski, Founder & CEO of Waka Coffee.” I consider SKU as a crucial phase in the growth and success of our company.”
The companies also are assigned a dedicated mentor team who advise them throughout the program. SKU mentors include some of the top CPG experts, entrepreneurs and investors, including Scott Jensen, CEO of Rhythm Super foods, co-founder of Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, Matt O’Hayer, founder of Vital Farms and Clayton Christopher, founder of Sweet Leaf Tea, Deep Eddy Vodka and Waterloo Sparkling Water. Since SKU was founded, SKU mentors have represented more than 25 industries with more than 1,500 years of experience.
Throughout the program, brands hone their investor pitch, culminating in a pitch showcase at attracting influential angels, venture capitalists and retail partners from around the country.
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. SKU has been a powerful catalyst in establishing Austin as a CPG powerhouse.
Over the two years, SKU has been in growth mode. In 2019, SKU expanded into New York with Beyond SKU. This summer, the accelerator launched ImpactSKU in the Twin Cities, an accelerator focused on purpose-driven CPG startups. SKU Dallas kicked off its second track this month. In the spring ’22, SKU is expanding into the Southeast with SKU Atlanta.
SKU was named one of the nation’s top natural foods product accelerators in an August 2020 article by New Hope Media, which puts on Expo West and Expo East, the industry’s largest trade shows. A 2016 Forbes magazine column identified SKU as one of the country’s top three accelerators.
“Seismic changes are not uncommon during the process, at times even resulting in entirely new company names or spinoff brands,” Austin Monthly wrote in a recent article in which SKU was named one of 30 companies changing Austin.
Companies can apply at sku.is/apply. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.