Simply Good Jars is among the brands joining the latest accelerator.
New York-based food innovation accelerator Food-X has chosen eight start-ups to join its ninth cohort, with most participating brands led or co-led by women.
The brands were selected from a pool of nearly 500 global applicants. Among the participants are Mindwell, a manufacturer of plant-based jerky, and Mushrooms Cups, a producer of mushroom-infused coffee.
Food-X’s mission is to scale change throughout the food system by investing in early-stage entrepreneurs that aim to solve what it believes are the biggest global food challenges: health and wellness, sustainability, food safety, traceability, supply chain efficiency, and transparency.
The accelerator, which was founded in 2014 and is backed by venture capital fund SOSV, looks for start-ups within the traditional food value chain, such as production, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal, as well as those leveraging emerging technologies to transform the industry.
Food-X provides a three-month programme in New York City to help the selected brands grow and reach their full potential via financial and human capital investments that span capital, mentorship, and access to a global network of thought leaders, as well as a growing Food-X alumni community.
Participants in the latest cohort:
Peter Bodenheimer, Food-X programme director, told FoodBev: “Each of the companies in a given Food-X programme face unique hurdles. Our role is to help them identify those hurdles, bucket them based on immediate and long-term focus, and then prioritise around solving them.
“In many cases, it’s simply about putting one foot in front of the other and avoiding distractions. For example, some of the most common hurdles we see are distribution and customer acquisition, fundraising, internal business operations, and scaling the production of their product or service.”
As well as a diverse generational make up among selected brands, five of the eight have international teams, with the following countries represented: Croatia, India, Russia, and Spain.
“It’s important to all of us at Food-X and SOSV to look at founders that may be overlooked by other investors because they don’t fit a specific stereotype,” said Bodenheimer. “The reason being, we want to see the community of founders better represent the consumers they are selling to and because it presents opportunities to find great entrepreneurs we can work with.”
Kafina has developed a single shot herbal energy elixir.
He added: “We look for what we consider to objectively be the best companies, but at the same time I believe if we aren’t actively thinking about how to support companies that are more diverse, then nothing will change.”
Success stories from previous Food-X cohorts include Protes, which offers a range of protein snacks in more than 8,000 retail locations across North America, and EIO Diagnostics, which uses a combination of machine learning and multi-spectral imaging to detect mastitis in dairy animals.
Meanwhile, Uplift Food, which took part in the accelerator last year, recently closed an investment led by Mondelēz International and is now working to develop a new line of gut health snacks.
At the end of each 14-week programme, brands have the opportunity to present themselves to angel investors, venture capital funds, and the media.
Bodenheimer believes the short duration of the scheme helps to provide focus. “Founders can expect us to push them to move quickly and build momentum that we hope they will build upon post-programme,” he said.
“For context, at any given time, our team is actively engaged with companies from all nine cohorts of Food-X in one way or another. The programme is a discrete moment in time, but it is only the beginning of the relationship.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019