Eating healthy is becoming the norm although maintaining a healthy diet is not always easy. A company known as AccelFoods aims to increase nutritious eating (and living) awareness by fostering health-conscious startups. UNFI was one of the first partners to join AccelFoods from inception in Jan 2014. In honor of the partnership, the companies are presenting “Demo Day” in New York City on October 27, 2015. The day will give consumers a chance to learn about the companies and what they offer. Recently, Managing Partners, Jordan Gaspar and Lauren Jupiter spoke to the Examiner about their experience working with this organization and their hopes for its future:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): When was AccelFoods started and why was that specific name chosen?
Jordan Gaspar (J.G.): We hatched the initial iteration of AccelFoods in the fall of 2012 and spent the bulk of 2013 building the platform (including enrolling over 100 amazing mentors, signing 20+ key partners and raising AccelFoods Fund I). By January 2014, we had made our first set of investments – partnering with four management teams.
Lauren Jupiter (L.J.): We went through quite a few names before settling on AccelFoods! Ultimately we chose AccelFoods because we felt it best communicated our mission to partner with packaged food and beverage brands on their journey toward fast-paced, yet strategic and sustainable, growth.
M.M.: What kinds of products and/or services do AccelFoods and its associates offer?
L.J.: We invest in innovative, high-growth packaged food and beverage companies. We partner with founders to offer them access to our hands-on operating team, and a 360-degree approach to optimizing each company’s potential for growth in the areas of finance, investor relations, legal, marketing, branding, sales and manufacturing. A broad network of industry experts, key partners and investors provide guidance; value added services and access to each of our portfolio companies. There are over 250 people formally affiliated with AccelFoods!
M.M.: Can you explain a little more about the forthcoming Demo Day?
L.J.: Demo Day is a celebration of the work our current cohort of brands has put in over the last 8+ months. The event serves as an opportunity to bring all those associated with AccelFoods, formally and informally, together for one evening and thank them for the impact they have had on each company’s path toward success.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding part of working with AccelFoods?
J.G.: Building AccelFoods has been an extraordinary for both of us. When people ask why we developed AccelFoods, we say that we couldn’t find the perfect job, so we built it ourselves. We love our team, our portfolio company management teams, and the amazing relationships we have built along the away. To know that our own entrepreneurial efforts have impacted the extraordinary founders we partner with in their own missions toward changing the way Americans eat has been truly rewarding.
M.M.: Where do you hope AccelFoods will be in ten years?
J.G.: Our team loves the phrase “bigger and badder” and we hope to have accomplished that in the next ten years. We hope to be the platform that all founders, small or big, view as the ideal investment partner on their path to position their businesses to grow big.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is striving to enter the nutritious food market?
L.J.: Be resourceful and relentless. While entrepreneurship isn’t easy, there has never been a more exciting time to be a food entrepreneur. If you have an idea that you believe in and have a thirst to learn and succeed, go for it. Oh, and be willing to work 24/7!
M.M.: Are there any upcoming events that you would like to mention?
J.G.: You mean besides Demo Day?! There are a ton of amazing food events across New York and across the country. We always encourage those interested in the space to go and check out what is happening in their community, as local events can bring tremendous opportunity for both collaboration and mentorship. Innovation and progress come from everywhere!
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AccelFoods is an early-stage investment platform committed to creating outsized returns for founders and investors through an operating team, industry engagement and impact capital. For a full list of AccelFoods’ mentors and strategic partners, and to keep track of its portfolio companies, visit the AccelFoods website. They can also be followed on Twitter and Instagram.