Austin’s software sector may get the most recognition. But the city’s consumer packaged goods ecosystem is booming right alongside it, churning out new brands that go on to raise big funding rounds or even get acquired.
SKU, an Austin-based accelerator for CPG startups, gets a lot of the credit for the city’s rising profile as a hub for CPG. In the past year or so, the organization has expanded to offer a BeyondSKU program in New York in partnership with BeyondBrands, as well as the Minnesota-based ImpactSKU program for social good CPG startups and SKU DFW, which is a partnership in Dallas-Fort Worth with DFW CPG.
Now, as its national footprint grows, the organization has selected nine companies to join the accelerator’s latest Austin-based cohort, its ninth since launching in 2011. The startups, which will be part of the 12-week program featuring mentoring and networking, represent a range of products — from beauty to instant coffee — and a variety of geographies, from Austin to Wisconsin.
Here’s a look at the startups entering the program later in January. Descriptions were provided by SKU.
American Provenance (Mount Horeb, Wisc. — natural body care)
Founder Kyle Lafond, a former middle-school science teacher, created the natural personal-care brand in 2015 after he realized the chemicals in his students’ body sprays and perfumes were giving him headaches. A class project revealed that most products were created with synthetic ingredients. He wanted to develop high-quality, all-natural products that are safe and effective. The products, which include deodorants, body wash and hand sanitizer, are sold in all 50 states at stores ranging from Whole Foods and Hy-Vee to yoga studios.