In this series, we highlight accelerators and incubators that are offering assistance to food startups across the country. Here, we feature Chobani Incubator, the Greek yogurt giant's equity-free program, which is currently recruiting for its next class of entrepreneurs. The deadline to submit is Jan. 30, 2018.
What type of companies do you assist?
Chobani: The Chobani Incubator works with small food and beverage CPG startups. We don’t have any limitation on category or product, and are excited to support companies innovating with sustainability, social impact and new food trends. We look for companies that share Chobani’s values—looking to make delicious, nutritious, natural and affordable foods and disrupt their categories with options that are better for you and better for the world.
What’s your mission in doing this work?
Chobani: Our goal is to help companies bring better food to more people. Using the structure of the incubator, we provide access to Chobani’s resources, employee expertise, mentorship community and $25,000 in equity-free capital to enable founders to grow their businesses.
What attributes are you looking for in applicants?
Chobani: We’re looking for companies that are focused on doing the right thing: producing food and beverage products that embody Chobani’s “DNNA”—delicious, nutritious, natural and accessible. We want to support like-minded founders dedicated to Chobani’s values and mission. From a technical perspective, our companies must already have a packaged product on shelves and be generating revenue, however small that may be.
What one piece of advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
Chobani: Be a problem-oriented entrepreneur rather than a solution-oriented one. The products and services that are inspired by, designed for and iterated upon with the single-minded purpose of solving a meaningful problem will always have a more solid foundation to grow and make an impact. Plus, it’s that much easier to get others on board: customers, investors, employees, etc.
What is your favorite project to come out of your accelerator?
Chobani: Since our mission is better food for more people, we know scale and growth is key, and the companies in our first class more than doubled their 2016 revenue last year and have experienced 300+ percent growth in distribution. However, the most exciting outcome has been seeing the way the teams are collaborating and learning from each other. They get together outside of programming, share templates and ideas, test new product innovations, make introductions to vendors and generally become BFFs. We truly want the Chobani Incubator to be more than just a community of food innovators, but a family!