In this new series, we highlight accelerators and incubators that are offering assistance to food startups across the country. Here, we feature Food Centricity, which enables and accelerates food companies' success in Southern California and beyond. We talked with founder and CEO Michel Algazi.
What type of companies do you assist?
Food Centricity: Early- and growth-stage food and beverage companies in the pre-revenue to $5M per year range. Mainly packaged goods companies targeting direct-to-consumer or wholesale channels. We're particularly interested in functional or plant-based products and technologies.
What’s your mission in doing this work?
FC: Small food businesses are a critical growth engine and important source of new, "clean" jobs for our region, yet they encounter large obstacles on their path to growth.
Through our proprietary acceleration process, focused on addressing major pain points faced by food startups, we move them to tearing down operational and market barriers, guide them into following best management practices, and connect them to size-appropriate resources they might need to grow.
We support diversity on the job and on the shelf. We encourage local, responsible sourcing and clean labels.
What attributes are you looking for in applicants?
FC: We look for driven and capable entrepreneurs or teams with certain characteristics that we have identified as likely predictors of success. We also look at product-market fit in growth categories.
What one piece of advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
FC: A good piece of advice would be to not expand beyond their immediate region before they are truly ready. Entrepreneurs often get lured in extending their reach to other regions before they have the experience and resources to do a good job at it. The result is broad and shallow distribution, high shipping costs and poor customer service.
What is your favorite project to come out of your accelerator?
FC: I am very excited to see Maika Foods launch into the marketplace with its line of plant-based nutrition products and get solid early traction with retailers and consumers. I am very optimistic about its chances for success.