Ideal candidates are market-validated companies with compelling founders and innovative products in hot categories, including food and beverage, pet care, beauty, and apparel.
The application deadline is November 19. The cohort will kick off on March 5 and will culminate on May 21 with the showcase pitch event. Although it is Austin, Texas-based, the track is a hybrid program and brands and mentors do not need to be based in Austin.
“We cannot state enough how amazing the SKU track has been for us,” SKU alumni Kacey Witte, co-founder of goat milk toddler formula Growth Spurt, said. “The SKU curriculum has been outstanding, and we have had in-depth and practical teaching on all aspects of business and brand building. We are so grateful for our mentors and believe they are the very best in their fields, and we can’t believe the wisdom and knowledge they have in the CPG industry. They have worked with us to develop our business and have helped us position the company for massive opportunity and scale.”
The SKU curriculum covers topics important to CPG startups, including Mission + Vision, Branding, Channel Strategy, Pricing, Supply Chain, and Innovation. The classes are taught by top experts in the industry.
One of the most valuable components of SKU is the elite community of mentors from some of the most successful consumer product companies as well as successful CPG founders, subject-matter experts, and investors. The SKU mentor community includes the man who invented the pumpkin scone, the director of emerging brands for 7-Eleven, and one of the top investors in the pet industry.
After the cohort is selected, SKU puts together a hand-picked team of mentors for each brand which guides them throughout the course of the program. They work together, pooling their expertise to provide invaluable guidance to help founders successfully scale their brands.
In addition to the rewards that come from helping founders achieve their potential, mentors benefit from the experience of working side by side with their peers, expanding their business network, and building long-term friendships.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to take what I’ve learned working on massive mature brands, and share my learnings with early-stage CPG startup founders, to help their brands grow,” Alexander Ames, Director of Content and Creative Excellence at the Coca-Cola Company, said.
SKU is looking for accomplished CPG rock stars who have an interest in mentoring the next generation of CPG founders. Those interested can fill out the Mentor Interest Form and SKU will schedule an interview.