PepsiCo launches 2020 accelerator program

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/alphaspirit
Pic:getty/alphaspirit

Related tags: Pepsico, Innovation, Us, Canada, start-ups, Entrepreneurship

PepsiCo has launched its second PepsiCo Greenhouse accelerator program in North America: calling for applications from start-ups which are at the forefront of transformative trends.

The beverage and snack giant highlights its interest in plant-based solutions; natural ingredients; energy and mood management and sustainability for the 2020 round. 

The 10 selected start-ups will be granted $20,000 in funding and will participate in a six-month business optimization program designed to accelerate growth. At the end of the program, one winning program will be awarded a further $100,000 to continue its expansion, alongside the opportunity to partner with PepsiCo.

Brands taking part in the accelerator will benefit from personalized mentorship with experts across PepsiCo – whose global brands include Pepsi-Cola, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, Quaker and Tropicana - as well as from some of its leading and emerging brands including Stacy’s, IMAG!NE and KeVita.

Building a brand

PepsiCo – the global beverage and snack company which boasts 22 billion-dollar brands and generated more than $64bn in net revenue in 2018 - is welcoming applications from start-ups based in the US and Canada.

It says it is looking for businesses or brands which ‘integrate purpose into their offering, meeting the needs of current and future consumers, communities and/or our planet’.

The program will help start-ups address critical early-stage business operations like strategic planning, corporate structuring and fundraising. Guidance on brand optimization, product development, supply chain management, customer acquisition and distribution will also be provided.

PepsiCo's focus areas

PepsiCo's 2020 accelerator highlights its interest in: 

Plant-based solutions​ - 'We want to enable wellness through offering a wider array of plant-based food and beverage alternatives'
Natural ingredients that nurture consumers​ - 'we're looking for fresh approaches to functionality and wellness'
Energy & mood management​ - 'managing our energy in a healthy and holistic way in this chaotic world is more important than ever'
• Purpose minded​ - 'we're looking for brands with a distinct purpose or mission, focused on improving people's lives, such as community improvement, human well-being, or sustainable packaging'

Full details about the accelerator can be found at greenhouseaccelerator.com

Jim Andrew, PepsiCo Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Chief Venturing Officer, says the accelerator is all about integrating purpose into the core of its business and brands.

“Since its inception, the PepsiCo Greenhouse has been a great source of ideation, talent development and agility, while also providing an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded, mission-driven entrepreneurs as they develop and scale their innovative ideas that look to improve the way we shop and eat, offer new choices to consumers and solve the needs of our communities.” 

The deadline for applications in January 6, 2020. Participating companies must be available to take part in the kick-off event at PepsiCo headquarters in Purchase, NY on February 4; a mid-term event on April 25; and a final program graduation event at Frito-Lay headquarters in Texas in mid-July.  

Innovation opportunity: Sugar-free kids drinks 

PepsiCo launched the Greenhouse program in Europe in 2017 and expanded the program to North America in 2018, where it awarded Austin, Texas-based Hapi drinks (a sugar-free kids drinks company) as the winning brand. 

The other participants included high-protein popped water lily seed snack Bohana; plant-based functional beverage Remedy Organics; and chickpea and flax milk-alternative Yofiit.

Collectively, the 10 companies in this round grew average revenues of 200% through the six-month duration of the program, as well as launching new product lines and digital campaigns.

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