Through Jan. 6, PepsiCo will accept applications from “like-minded” US and Canadian start-ups that “look to improve the way we shop and eat, offer new choices to consumers and solve the needs of our communities,” PepsiCo Executive VP of Corporate Strategy and Chief Venturing Officer Jim Andrew said in a Dec. 5 release announcing the call for applicants.
The Greenhouse program’s focus on mission-based brands is a shift from the its inaugural US program’s focus last year, which sought more nutrition-focused brands and companies that offered products with greater nutritional density and clean labels without compromising taste and texture.
The program’s new direction underscores PepsiCo’s broader new vision and mission announced last February. As part of its new goal to be the “global leader in convenient foods and beverages by winning with a purpose,” PepsiCo is integrating purpose into its core business and brands, according to Andrew.
Anticipate stiff competition
If PepsiCo’s current call for applicants garners results anything like its inaugural program, start-ups seeking one of the 10 coveted slots can expect stiff competition. When PepsiCo announced the expansion of its Greenhouse accelerator program to North America from Europe where it began it received 50% more applications than the second year of its European program.
The high-level of engagement from the start-up community likely reflects the significant benefits that PepsiCo’s Greenhouse program offers.
Companies selected to participate in the six-month “business optimization program” will receive $20,000 in grant funding and receive personalized mentorship from PepsiCo leaders and experts across its brand portfolio, including from Stacy’s, IMAG!NE and KeVita.
The program will focus on “critical early-stage business operations like strategic planning, corporate structuring and fundraising,” as well as “brand optimization, product development, supply chain management, customer acquisition and distribution,” according to the company.
In addition, one lucky participate will receive an additional $100,000 and an opportunity to continue working with PepsiCo.
A recipe for success
Companies selected to participate in the second class of Greenhouse North America will follow in the footsteps of some fast-growing startups, including Hapi Drinks, a sugar-free kids’ drink founded with the mission to fight childhood obesity and type II diabetes. Hapi Drinks also won the $100,000 prize during the accelerator’s first class.
Other participants in Greenhouse North America’s first class include the popped water lily seed brand Bohana, nutrition bar company IQ Bar, plant-based beverage maker Remedy Organics, better-for-you baked goods brand Rule Breaker Snacks, plant-based seafood brand Sophie’s Kitchen, the lifestyle brand TooFIT, herbal elixir maker Torii Labs, better-for-you breakfast and snack brand Wildway, and functional plant-based food and beverage brand YoFiit.
Collectively, these companies increased their revenues 200% during their six month stint with the Greenhouse accelerator program as well as launched new products and digital campaigns that further drop sales and customer acquisition, according to PepsiCo.