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Browse our Frequently Asked Questions
What is SKU?
SKU is the nation’s leading CPG accelerator program specially designed for early-stage consumer product companies. Our team, mentors, and partners work hand-in-hand with CPG startups on every aspect of their businesses to propel their growth and create industry leaders of tomorrow. Our mission is to accelerate innovation & entrepreneurs within the consumer products industry. We accomplish this through our best in class accelerator program driven by a community of serial entrepreneurs & industry experts. We lead with our values of innovation, integrity and community that produce ongoing success for our CPG community and its founders.
What does SKU stand for?
In CPG, SKU (pronounced skew) stands for Stock Keeping Unit and it is the way that brands track and manage their inventory. Most consumers know it as the bar code that appears on the products they purchase. It is the ideal name for an accelerator dedicated to the growth of emerging brands.
Where are you located?
SKU is headquartered in Austin, Texas.
What is SKU looking for in a consumer product startup?
We seek out startup companies selling one or more products, with traction in the market. Products may be food, beverage, apparel, jewelry, toys, tools – anything a consumer would use. We look for innovation in a hot category – something new and better you bring to the market. Brands participating in SKU give up equity in their company. In exchange, you will get an intense, best-in-class education and will be working closely with some of the top experts in the industry who all are dedicated to helping you scale your business.
What is SKU not looking for in a consumer product startup?
SKU typically will not accept a company that is just an idea – a concept that is not market validated. We want to see that your brand has achieved some distribution. We are not looking for brands who are not working toward a significant liquidity event, such as an acquisition by a strategic partner. SKU alum EPIC Provisions, for example, was acquired by General Mills for $100 million. Also, we are focused exclusively on products rather than services or franchises.
What does my company get out of SKU?
Your company is likely to be a much different company at the culmination of SKU than it is when the program kicks off. Among the things you will gain during the 12-week program are:
- A Clear Understanding of Your Business: The combination of SKU’s curriculum and mentorship will provide you with a deep understanding on everything from channel strategy to fundraising – concepts that might otherwise take years to learn. This may result in significant changes in strategy, whether that be repositioning your to a new market, rebranding or tweaking your product roadmap
- Investor Readiness: Throughout the track, you will be working on a powerful investment pitch. You and mentors will work not only on the content of the pitch but also on the presentation. You will have an understanding of what funds will be needed to scale your business and how best to communicate your growth strategy to potential investors. At the end of the track, SKU produces a video pitch event that is presented during a virtual premiere. In addition to posting the video on YouTube, each brand receives their own pitch video to present to potential investors.
- A Community of other CPG Founders:SKU is dedicated to creating the opportunities and environment to develop bonds with other founders – both those within your own cohort as well as those going through other tracks. This peer support is invaluable, providing opportunities to network, share ideas and celebrate wins.
- Lifelong Mentorship: SKU’s mentors are some of the nation’s top CPG experts and they are focused on your success. Many mentors continue their relationships with founders long after the program has ended, sometimes going on to be advisors, board members and even team members. These mentor relations are forged not only with mentors on your team but also with all of the mentors participating in a track. This community of mentors is an email away should you need them.
How much money will I receive if my company is accepted?
Most companies receive a cash stipend typically in the $20k range, with an installment at the beginning of the track and a second once the track is completed.
Are there any other perks?
We work with a number of partner and sponsor organizations to provide special pricing, free trials and other privileges. SKU regularly hosts continuing educational programming on topics of high interest to our alums.
How much equity will I give up?
The amount of equity that SKU takes varies depending on your company’s revenues, ranging from 3-5 percent. It is important to note that the majority of that equity goes to the equity mentors participating in your track. That means you have up to 40 expert/advisors vested in your company, appearing as one entity on the cap table.
I’m not located in Texas. Can I still participate in SKU?
Absolutely! SKU is a hybrid program, with most classes and mentor meetings done remotely. We still create in-person opportunities to enable the mentors and founders to meet face-to-face at least twice during the course of the program. Founders with mentors in their city are encouraged to find times to meet in person if it is convenient and safe (with Covid, that has been more challenging).
What happens after the program is over?
You will be prepared for growth and will have the encouragement and network to support you. SKU maintains regular communication with alumni companies. Both the SKU team and mentors remain available to help as needed.
How do I become a SKU Mentor?
Our mentors are a who’s who of the CPG world, and we’re selective about who can join our community. We’re looking for accomplished CPG leaders, successful entrepreneurs, investors and subject-matter experts – all with a passion to help shape the next generation of consumer product startups, Our program is structured in a way that facilitates participation from mentors from across the country, whether you’re based in Austin or California.
Prospective Partners & Media
How do I become a SKU partner or sponsor?
When you become a partner of SKU, you become a part of the leading CPG community in the country. We work with our partners to ensure that you are positioned to our founders and mentors as an authority. SKU is not focused on having a lot of logos on a sign. We are looking for well-respected service providers. 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?
SKU is considered a leading authority when it comes to the CPG industry. In addition to exciting things happening with our accelerator and our brands, we are on top of the latest trends. For press inquiries, contact Michelle Breyer at Michelle@SKU.is.