All posts by CircleUp

CircleUp is a technology company that provides capital to innovative early-stage consumer brands and opportunities for leading investors to participate in their growth.

REBBL: Why The Former CEO Of Clif Bar Is Introducing Americans To Adaptogen Herbs And Taking On Human Trafficking

Sheryl O’Loughlin thought she was done being a CEO. After a long, successful run leading Clif Bar and then co-founding, running, and selling Plum Organics, O’Loughlin was settling into a quieter life. “The plan was to teach entrepreneurship at Sonoma State, and just lie on my back porch,” O’Loughlin jokes. “And then randomly, about five ...

The Founding of Public Bikes

“…There is something important about bicycles in big cities — they are a statement of the importance of public design.” ~ Rob Forbes, founder of Public bicycles A Public bicycle is a thing of beauty. It is a simple machine — one that harkens back to the days when bicycle craftsmen gave as much thought ...

Junior Explorers: The Educational Startup Aiming To Take Over The Kids Market And Inspire a Generation

Educational games are notoriously bad. With the exception of a handful of gems — shoutout to the legendary Oregon Trail — they’re almost universally boring, prescriptive, and not actually that great at teaching kids much of anything. The problem isn’t that kids don’t want to learn (learning is what their brains are built to do, ...

Amazon amplifies innovative products with Amazon Launchpad

CircleUp is proud to team up with Amazon for Amazon Launchpad, a recently launched, curated selection of “unexpected and fresh new products”. At launch, almost 40 CircleUp companies are featured on Amazon Launchpad, including NOMAD, SuperEats, and Whole Life Pet to name a few. We think this will be tremendously helpful for entrepreneurs on CircleUp. In addition to plugging into ...

Punch Bowl Social: The Successful Eatertainment Concept that was Hiding in Plain Sight

The best way to describe Punch Bowl Social is if your favorite local restaurant started hanging out with a hipster diner, got really into craft cocktails and microbrews, married a bowling alley, and then took up with an old-school arcade — and it’s a huge success. Each of the massive, 24,000 square foot locations boast four bars, ...

The Secrets of Annie’s Purpose Driven Success

 By: John Foraker Editor’s note: John Foraker is the President of Annie’s, Inc. John joined Annie’s in 1999. He’s grown the business to more than $250MM in revenues and led its successful sale to General Mills in October 2014 for $820MM. Follow John on Twitter at @AnniesCEO. How did we make this purpose driven business so successful? ...

Craftsman and Wolves: How One Cafe Is Thriving Amid Rabid Competition

“Craftsman and Wolves is, more or less, a patisserie and café,” says William Werner, the chef and one half of the team that owns and runs the fantastically named San Francisco pastry shop. The other half is Sarah Werner, who adds, “But we offer something that’s not really available with other pastry shops.” That something ...

The Angel Investor’s Guide to Investing in Food

 By: Sara Hillstrom Investments in small, innovative food companies can be quite lucrative. These firms have attracted the attention of larger Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) organizations that are on a quest for innovation, and paying substantial multiples to get it. Packaged food and beverage is a steady, countercyclical, low single-digit growth, $368B[1] industry. It is also ...

Blackbird Vineyards: Inside the Complicated, Fascinating World of Wine

By: CircleUp We tend to think of wineries as passion brands. We imagine the people behind the brand spending every waking moment steeped in the rich and complex world of wine. We picture owners spending their days strolling through the vineyard with dirt under their fingernails, sharing a bottle of their favorite vintage each night ...

Phin & Phebes: The Story of Two Founders Who Quit their Day Jobs to Change the Ice Cream Industry

There were 20 quarts of ice cream manufactured per person in the U.S. in 2010. The market generated over $10 billion in revenue. That same year Jess Eddy and Crista Freeman decided to quit their jobs in user experience and e-commerce management, respectively, to start an ice cream company, Phin & Phebes. Ice cream is ...