Photo by Richard Hurd
American Provenance Chosen By Nation’s 1st Consumer Products Accelerator for 9th Austin Cohort
Founder of egg giant Vital Farms will kick off the 12-week program
AUSTIN (Jan. 6, 2021) – SKU, the nation’s first accelerator for consumer packaged goods (CPGs), has selected the seven companies that will participate in the ninth track of the Austin program. The companies represent a wide range of categories, including allergy-free ice cream sandwiches, Ayurvedic hair care and better-for-you agua fresca. They each were selected based on the innovation of their products, their traction in the market and the passion of their founders.
“We had one of the most competitive applicant pools ever with brands from around the country, and these seven companies and their founders really stood out,” says SKU Managing Director Kirstin Ross. “It continues to amaze me the level of creativity and commitment these founders have. They draw on their own personal experiences to create products that bring something really new and special to the market.”
SKU Track 9 kicks off Jan. 29 and runs through mid-May. Over the course of 12 weeks, the founders will participate in a proven program that combines best-in-class CPG curriculum with mentoring. The program culminates in a showcase virtual pitch event on May 18, which provides founders with a chance to present their brands to a national audience of CPG leaders and investors.
SKU’s blue chip mentors are at the core of the program. The mentor community includes CPG founders, industry executives and investors from some of the nation’s most successful consumer-product companies, including Deep Eddy Vodka, Amplify Snack Brands (Skinny Pop, Pirate’s Booty) and Vital Farms. The SKU founders are guided through the intense program by a hand-picked team of mentors, all focused on helping them scale their businesses.
Vital Farms founder and longtime SKU mentor Matt O’Hayer will kick off Track 9, sharing his own entrepreneurial journey and tips for success. He started the egg company in 2007 with a quest to prove it is possible to produce high-quality food in an environmentally responsible manner. With his wife, Catherine, and 20 Rhode Island Red hens on 27 acres in Austin, O’Hayer built Vital Farms into the #1 pasture-raised egg and butter brand in the United States and the #2 egg brand in retail dollar sales with products in 13,000 stores. Vital Farms went public in summer 2020. “The SKU Consumer Products Accelerator is an invaluable resource to founders of emerging CPG brands,” says O’Hayer. “The program is thorough and comprehensive, guiding emerging business leaders on the many aspects of building and scaling a CPG company through a dynamic mentorship network.”