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Business accelerator extends deadline for program

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Austin-based accelerator SKU, the nation’s first consumer product-focused accelerator, announces an application extension for their seventh accelerator track. 

The new date to apply by is Dec. 31, , with the program launching Feb. 19, with a kickoff event for mentors and new track companies. 

SKU seeks Consumer Product Goods (CPG) companies to apply for the accelerator track to receive mentorship from industry experts, detailed courses on relevant business practices and more.  

"It is a very exciting time at SKU. We have a very strong platform to help emerging brands get the tools they need to become household names,” SKU incoming Managing Director Kirstin Ross said. “The quality and number of applicants are greater than ever and we encourage all entrepreneurs with great products to apply.” 

SKU is a Texas-focused, female-led consumer products accelerator that advances innovation and entrepreneurship within the consumer products industry. SKU has built a community of serial entrepreneurs and industry experts to aid in turning emerging CPG businesses into strong brands and scalable companies. Since launching their first track in January 2012, SKU has taken in many local companies that have gone on to become widely successful, such as Austin Eastciders, Siete Foods (found in Whole Foods across the nation), Seaweed Bath Co. (found in Target, Whole Foods and Bed Bath and Beyond nationwide), Wildway (sold at grocery stores across the country) and more. SKU also maintains that 96 percent of companies that go through their program are still in business to date. 

"The barriers to entry for launching a consumer brand are lower than ever but once you get past the gates, understanding how to efficiently run and scale a business is crucial and that is where SKU adds tremendous value,” SKU outgoing Managing Director Genevieve Gilbreath said. 

Companies accepted into SKU are given a cash stipend, as well as exclusive access to additional forms of funding, followed by a 14-week program consisting of courses that go over various topics important to growing businesses, such as product development, marketing and branding, accounting and finance and more. 12 weeks out of the track will feature time to meet with SKU mentors who can advise on and aid the growth of the companies. SKU mentors for this upcoming track include Doreen Lorenzo, Clayton Christopher, Blake Chandlee, Scott Jensen, Leon Chen, Even Loomis and Caroline Goodner. These mentors and leaders are devoted assets focused on helping conceptualize products, effective branding and business practices to maximize the odds of long-term success.

"The knowledge and connections that SKU provides to our companies cannot be found at any other accelerator,” SKU Strategic Director Doreen Lorenzo said. “What SKU provides is uniquely powerful.”

After the intensive molding process, SKU hosts a showcase event to introduce the track companies to potential investors, partners and media. Once companies graduate from the program, SKU receives a small equity stake from each business in exchange for continued guidance towards future success. Companies proceed independently after their time with SKU, but the SKU team and mentors remain available for ongoing guidance as needed.

SKU seeks brands with market-validated products that have achieved at least early-stage distribution and revenue. These products may be food, beverage, apparel, jewelry, toys or tools that can be sold at brick-and-mortar or online retailers.

Applications for the seventh accelerator track can be found at www.sku.is/apply. There is an informational social event happening in Austin on Dec. 11 for interested companies. To inquire about details and attendance, email info@sku.is.

SKU mentors form the core of each program’s faculty. SKU seeks equity mentors, who are accredited investors in addition to being successful entrepreneurs, industry executives, subject matter experts. Mentors pay a membership fee to join the SKU equity mentor pool. As a benefit of membership in the community, every SKU equity Mentor owns a fractional portion of equity in each company from the track in which they participate.

SKU was founded in 2011 by lawyer Shari Wynne Ressler and serial entrepreneur Clayton Christopher with the mission of accelerating innovation and entrepreneur success by coalescing CPG communities around the globe. SKU surrounds their startups with an ecosystem of seasoned entrepreneurial mentors, customized educational content, advanced operations support and privileged access to funding, all while preparing these companies to rapidly scale and become breakout successes and household names. For more information on applying to SKU, becoming a Mentor or sponsoring SKU, visit SKU's website