Founders of the six brands that participated in this year’s Food & Beverage cohort will celebrate the culmination of the program with an in-person event on May 23. The Showcase Pitch Day will take place from 4:30-9 pm CT at the Native Hostel in Austin, Texas. Tickets are available here.
“We are so excited to bring our Showcase Pitch Day to a live audience and be able to stream to our larger SKU community across the US and other countries,” said Emily Kealey, Managing Director of SKU. “We are excited for these founders and the opportunity to integrate our very successful ‘Shark Tank’-style investment event, Insider Round, into our showcase day. This is a great opportunity for our founders to learn about fundraising and a supportive environment.”
The Showcase event will integrate SKU’s Insider Round. A panel of investor judges will have $1M in “Monopoly Money” to invest in each company. After the pitches, the judges can ask founders detailed questions. At the end, they will announce which companies they would “invest” in and how much.
It is an opportunity to hear the pitches from the impressive founders in person. The pitches kick off at 5:00 pm. For those interested in watching virtually, it will be live-streamed from 5-6:30 pm CT. The in-person event will be followed by a party with complimentary food and drink and a sampling pavilion of products from the six brands.
Get to know SKU’s 2023 Food & Beverage brands
Blue Norther was founded by a father-son duo (both named Austin Pittman) on their family ranch. They believed hard seltzer shouldn’t just be light and easy drinking, but it should also be natural and delicious. Brewed in Austin, Texas, Blue Norther offers craft Ranch Water and Hard Seltzer that’s made with real fruit, organic agave, and is ”as refreshing as the Cowboy Cold Front that it was named after.”
Sisters Claudia and Cristina Sanchez Gutierrez de Piñeres craft delicious healthy frozen cheese sticks and empanadas that all are keto, gluten-free, plant-based, and whole grain, without any additives. They are pioneers in the healthy food industry in Colombia, gaining brand recognition nationwide with a large market share of the frozen baked goods category. They’re now bringing her delicious products to the United States.
Growth Spurt, founded by Kacey Witte, is a full-fat goat milk toddler formula that is modeled after breastmilk and naturally easier to digest than the other leading dairy and cow milk formulas. The most common allergy in children under the age of three is cow’s milk. Growth Spurt adds essential vitamins and minerals to the formulation to meet all of your baby’s needs for growth and development.
Leisure Project was founded by two brothers and former D1 collegiate athletes Alex and Steve Michaelsen. They realized the hydration drinks they used their whole lives to fuel physical performance no longer served them, their peers, or the younger generation’s needs as a whole. The effects of dehydration were leaving them feeling stressed, anxious, and mentally fatigued. They dealt with brain fog on a daily basis. They observed that no products in the hydration category were made with their mental well-being in mind, so they created Leisure Project.
RoRo’s Baking Company is a family-owned and operated Dallas-based company, specializing in delicious handmade rolls. Founder Amy Collins was inspired by her grandmother, better known as “RoRo”, who began baking her rolls many years ago in her kitchen and selling them around the community. People went crazy for her cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls and Amy wanted to share her baked goods with even more people. RoRo’s products now are available in the frozen sections of grocery stores across the Southeast.
Married couple Luis Gramajo and Hans Schrei built Wunderkeks out of their belief that the foods we share help tell the story of who we are and that by openly and fearlessly telling these stories, it creates the safe spaces others may need to tell theirs. They moved from their home country of Guatemala to Austin, Texas and their farmer’s market cookie business flourished. Ever since then, they made it their mission to share the joy they both found. They hope people will share a box of Wunderkeks cookies and that Wunderkeks will become a symbol of allyship and a marker of a Safe Space.
SKU was founded in Austin in 2011 as the nation’s first accelerator with a consumer products focus, SKU has produced a variety of interesting and successful brands, including Siete Foods, EPIC Provisions, and Seaweed Bath Co. Of SKU’s more 90 alumni, more than 90 percent are still in business today.
SKU has three exciting tracks kicking off in August 2023 and is now accepting brand applications here. Brands can be from a wide range of areas in their following categories:
Pet Care | Fall 2023: Open to companies in the pet care space that specialize in apparel, supplies, toys, and food. The deadline to apply is June 4. Apply here.
Women’s & BIPOC Owned | Fall 2023: A track for Woman/BIPOC-owned brands. The cohort will be open to brands from a wide range of categories — from beauty to beverages. The deadline to apply is May 7. Apply here.
BeyondSKU | Fall 2023: SKU has partnered with BeyondBrands, a top-tier consulting agency in New York City, whose primary focus is natural CPG companies, to create BeyondSKU which will bring the SKU Accelerator to New York City and the tri-state area. Apply here.