From English muffins making a social impact to ‘cloud-like’ pizzas: BeyondSKU’s next cohort announced

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Each BeyondSKU founder Eric Schnel is surrounded by a hand-picked team of mentors focused on helping them scale their unique business model. Pic: GettyImages
Each BeyondSKU founder Eric Schnel is surrounded by a hand-picked team of mentors focused on helping them scale their unique business model. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags BeyondSKU accelerator mentorship startups social impact LGBTQ Pinsa pizza Innovation

BeyondSKU CPG Accelerator has announced the five startups for its upcoming Fall ’23 track, including woman-owned Dam Good English Muffins that’s committed to revolutionising the English muffin market and Pinsa Love, which provides pizzeria-quality pizza at home.

This is the fourth track for BeyondSKU,​ which is a partnership between Austin-based SKU and BeyondBrands, a New York natural products consulting agency.

“Building on the continued success of the 20+ tracks between our Austin and NY chapters, we are excited to kick off BeyondSKU Track 4 in September,”​ said Eric Schnell, founder and CEO of BeyondBrands.

“Along with our sponsors - NieslenIQ and Ampla - I am proud that our New York-focused accelerator plays a key role in growing our local entrepreneurial community of small brands to become household names, while leveraging the collective wisdom of our diverse and talented group of seasoned CPG veterans who lean in deep with mentorship and networking.”

The class of ‘23

Dam Good English Muffins

New York-based Dam Good English Muffins is a woman-owned, purpose-driven producer of vegan, non-GMO, seed oil-free and preservative-free sourdough English muffins that prioritise health and social impact. Like its ethos - which embraces the diversity within its workforce - each hand-crafted muffin is different and rocks its own look. However, they all taste ‘dam good’ and are designed to ‘Do Dam Good’ in supporting charities like American Heart Association, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and World Central Kitchen, among others.

Pinsa Love is aiming to elevate the at-home pizzeria experience with hand-crafted pizzas. Pinsa is actually a style of pizza crust that - unlike the typical dense pizza crust - is ‘simultaneously thick and light & airy (cloud-like)’. The natural sourdough is made from a custom blend of non-GMO and undergoes a slow 72-hour rise to create the bubbles and complex flavours.

Down To Earth is a functional iced tea brand that is on a mission to reconnect consumers with the nourishing and hydrating properties of the Earth in its most natural state. Each supertea is rooted in organic ingredients, boating wild super-herbs and adaptogens, with no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives or colourings. The New York producer’s portfolio ranges in 0-10 calories per bottle.

Gourmend Foods is a certified B Corp that specialises in clean label, gut-friendly cooking essentials. The low FODMAP certified broths and seasonings are made from organic flavours that are gentler on the stomach but just as punchy like onion and garlic. All products are produced entirely in the US, sustainably packaged and are free from gluten, dairy, preservatives, artificial flavourings and GMOs. Production is done entirely in the U.S. and all products are sustainably packaged.

Kekoa Foods is a LGBT-certified, two-dad-owned brand that wants to revolutionise the baby food space. In just over a year since launch, the startup has expanded its portfolio from three to seven, available in over 400 stores across the US. The range of shelf-stable, organic, and palate-expanding, veggie-rich purees are free of added sugars and salt and designed to expand the palates of adventurous eaters (ages 6 months+) in global flavours like curry, basil, shawarma and ginger.

Enabling brands to take a big step forward

Pinsa Love

Classes kick off in Manhattan on 26 September, culminating on 18 January when the founders present their pitches to an audience of investors, CPG leaders and other successful founders. BeyondSKU’s curriculum covers topics important to CPG startups, including mission and vision, branding, investment, legal, channel strategy, supply chain and innovation.

One of the most valuable components of SKU is its community of mentors from some of the most successful CPG companies, such as Epic Provisions and Siete. Each SKU founder is surrounded by a hand-picked team of mentors focused on helping them scale their unique business model. In addition to the rewards of working with founders to help them achieve their potential, mentors benefit from the experience of working side by side with their peers.

“BeyondSKU provided us with an incredible opportunity to refine our brand, perfect our pitch, and build an incredible network of industry veterans,”​ said Paul Majcherczyk, cofounder of veggie-forward snacks, bakes and condiments producer Fabalish.

“In addition to the excellent coursework, we were assigned a team of dedicated mentors that gave us hands-on support in building our business and strategy. It has enabled us to take a big step forward as a brand.”

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