AccelFoods, a national packaged food and beverage accelerator with a dedicated investment fund, announced that it has selected four companies at the leading edge of food innovation as the first class of entrepreneurs for its accelerator program.
In addition, the company announced it has raised an investment fund of more than $4 million to invest in its early-stage packaged food and beverage brands.
Each AccelFoods startup receives an initial investment of up to $50,000, a potential follow-on investment of up to $200,000, as well as engaged support from an operating team, experienced mentors and corporate partners for a period of 6 months. The following companies have been selected for the first class of the accelerator program:
Exo. The brainchild of two former Brown University roommates, New York-based Exo makes all-natural protein bars with cricket flour, a revolutionary and sustainable insect-based protein source. exo.co
Jaali Bean. A new take on Indian cuisine, Jaali Bean, based in Chicago, creates authentic easy-to-make lentil based side and soup kits featuring whole spices and exotic flavors. jaalibean.com
KOLAT. Created by a nutritionist in Denver, KOLAT is a nutrient dense line of natural alternative nut butter spreads that serve as a tasty snack while satisfying 50 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamins per individual serving with no added sugar. thinkolat.com
Whynatte. Founded in Atlanta, Whynatte is a premium canned coffee mixer that has gained popularity in bars and night clubs and is now expanding into grocery stores as a standalone caffeinated beverage. whynatte.com
“More than 150 people have come together as AccelFoods to support innovation in the packaged food and beverage sector so that brands like Exo, Jaali Bean, KOLAT and Whynatte—our first AccelFoods class—will have an opportunity never seen before. With experienced mentors, dedicated investors, corporate partners and the engaged support of an operational team, AccelFoods’ mission is to identify, support and invest in promising food and beverage brands so that they can grow big,” said Jordan Gaspar, co-founder of AccelFoods.
“The AccelFoods ecosystem will work to create a new generation of packaged food and beverage companies built with best practices in mind so that companies can scale more efficiently. With a dedicated fund of more than $4 million, AccelFoods looks forward to identifying innovative new companies to support both financially and operationally,” said cofounder Lauren Jupiter.
AccelFoods’ robust mentor community, led by its Board of Advisors, includes individuals from across the food and early-stage investing landscape. Board of Advisors members include: Andrew Heyer of Mistral Equity Partners, Bob Burke of Natural Products Consulting, John Maggio of Big Mouth Snack, Meena Mansharamani former CEO of GoGo sQueez, Nick Giannuzzi of the Giannuzzi Group, Rob Delman of Golden Seeds, and Tom Colicchio of Craft Restaurants and Bravo’s Top Chef.
“AccelFoods has assembled a terrific class of promising young companies with committed founders and innovative ideas. We look forward to working with them over the next 6 months and watching them grow. AccelFoods is a platform designed to identify and support entrepreneurs at the cutting edge of food innovation, an important resource in a world where great food has never been in higher demand,” said Colicchio.
In addition, AccelFoods has partnered with IGNITE Sales & Marketing Management to support sales strategy and execution, and has assembled nearly two dozen strategic partners that can help its companies meet a wide range of business needs, everything from product distribution to financial services. These partners include FreshDirect, JetBlue Airways, Loews Hotels & Resorts, SPINS and United Natural Foods.
At the end of the 6-month program, the startups will have the opportunity to present their products to additional investors at AccelFoods’ Demo Day.
AccelFoods is currently accepting applications for its second class of portfolio companies. Entrepreneurs are welcome to apply on the AccelFoods website accelfoods.com.