The FaBcap Accelerator has kicked off its next round of supporting innovation in the food and beverage sector with a group of 10 talented and creative companies.
The chance to become a FaBcapper drew interest from 49 applicants in Wisconsin. Operated by FaB Wisconsin, the trade organization for Wisconsin’s food and beverage sector, the accelerator focuses on companies that work with food, beverages, ingredients, packaging, equipment manufacturing and technology. This round of the program will run for nine months, and has received funding support from WEDC as well as corporate sponsors. At its conclusion, each participant company will receive a $10,000 check drawn through funding from WEDC and corporate sponsors. Along the way, each company will work with a dedicated industry coach, participate in facilitated cohort meetings, and be part of a capstone and pitch event.
The 2018-19 FaBcap companies are:
- Bioionix, a manufacturer of disinfection equipment that uses a patented catalytic disinfection process for food-industry process water and brine;
- Bittercube, which produces handcrafted bitters with real botanicals and no pre-made extracts or flavors;
- Domeloz, an award-winning distilled mead manufacturer;
- Hempire Farms, a participant in Wisconsin’s legal industrial hemp industry that grows and extracts cannabidiol oil to be an ingredient for food;
- The Honest Bison, which provides high-quality meat products raised humanely and with regenerative grazing practices;
- Little Food Company, a provider of fresh-frozen, high-quality, organic baby food;
- The Naked Baker, which creates gluten-free cookies with no preservatives, additives or GMOs;
- Potter’s Crackers, a producer of small-batch artisan crisps and crackers made with organic Wisconsin ingredients;
- Saffi Foods, which provides consumers and chefs with bulk unadulterated olive oils and vinegars; and
- ZYN, a manufacturer of flavored waters infused with a high-absorption form of curcumin for various medical uses.
Participants say they are excited about the opportunity, and especially for the chance to collaborate with other industry innovators.
“We really liked the connection with FaB Wisconsin and the chance to focus on marketing and telling our story,” said Pete Marsnik, chairman and interim CEO for Bioionix. “We know that working with them and WEDC means that we can get help opening doors, making connections and winning new business.”
What drew The Naked Baker founder Sue Knutson to apply was the desire to meet with other startups and learn from their experiences.
“I wanted to get inside some other heads and get them to help me think about where to take my business,” said Knutson. “More contacts are always good. My business has evolved a lot in the past two years as gluten-free has surged in the marketplace, and so I want to see how I can continue my growth in that area. I also am eager to meet with people at the bigger food companies and learn what their problems are and how they came up with solutions.”
The cohort offers the potential to grow their own operations and influence other evolving companies around the state, said Brad Rostowfske, FaB Wisconsin director of industry growth.
“The 10 we selected demonstrated a path to success wedded to their vision, authenticity, business readiness and products that are distinct, scalable and leaning forward for the industry,” he said.