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.

How Icelandic Yogurt Ended up in Almost Every Whole Foods in America

As a child in the small port town of Hafnarfjörður, Iceland, Smári Ásmundsson enjoyed one treat in particular: a slightly sour yogurt called skyr. In the morning, he’d eat it with fresh oats; in the evenings, with fruit or jam. And so did hundreds of thousands of other Icelanders: as far back as the 9th ...

Win the Race by Cutting in Line: IP Timing Strategies for Startups

 By: Vic Lin  I can still hear the familiar shout – “No cutting!” – when I reminisce about the lunch line back at my grade school. It’s a rule ingrained in us since childhood that we generally follow in our business world. As startups seek to differentiate themselves in the consumer products space, the question is ...

Meet Sustain: A Father-Daughter Team Has Created The First Ethical Condom

By: CircleUp Condoms are an $11 billion global industry according to researcher Key Note. Between 2007 and 2017 sales are projected to double in the U.S., reaching $1.8 billion. Currently three brands (Trojan, Lifestyles, and Durex) control 95% of this market and they do it without putting any emphasis on sustainability, fair trade practices, or processing ...

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On Valuation: “Beware the Post Money Trap”

 By: Albert Wenger  This post originally appeared on Albert Wenger’s blog and is being reprinted with his permission. Albert is a partner at Union Square Ventures (USV), a New York-based early stage VC firm focused on investing in disruptive networks. In the current valuation environment many entrepreneurs seem to believe that only two numbers matter in a financing: ...

Quinn Popcorn: How One Startup Launched and Thrived in the Country’s Largest Natural Foods Retailer

“We wanted to clean up snacks,” says Kristy Lewis, co-founder and CEO of Quinn Popcorn. Fed up with the secrecy and lack of regard for consumer health in the snack food industry, Kristy and her husband, Coulter, launched Quinn four years ago out of three Whole Foods stores in the Boston area. The popcorn industry ...

Design Matters: Why KOR Water Spent Years Perfecting the Humble Water Bottle

Beautiful, enduring design is everywhere. The Coca-Cola bottle, Chuck Taylors, and Le Creuset’s dutch oven all have it. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ve probably held at least one of those items in your hands — or one of the many, many knock-offs. Despite constant innovation in packaging, shoes, and cookware, these classic designs have ...

CircleUp Funded: Whole Life Pets’ Pursuit of the Highest Quality, Best Tasting, Safest Pet Treats on Earth.

By: CircleUp John Gigliotti was in the pet food business as a retailer long before the devastating pet food recalls of 2007; but it was those horrifying recalls that motivated him to act. He realized that while options were long in the pet food business, trust was short; pet owners yearned for a transparent and ...

The Goodwell Company: Cleaning up (and open-sourcing) the $5BN oral care industry

By: CircleUp What’s a product that the majority of people use every day, that can be made more sustainable and environmentally friendly? The founders of The Goodwell Company, Patrick Triato and Aaron Feiger, asked themselves this question as they ruminated over their next business venture. The answer they came to: the humble toothbrush. Oral care is ...

How to Launch (And Scale) Your Brand in Whole Foods Market

 By: Zach Grannis Michael Besancon began his career at Whole Foods Market in 1994, joining as Director of Purchasing for the Southern Pacific Region. Seventeen years later Besancon retired as Senior Global Vice-President of Purchasing, Distribution and Communications. “Having worked in our line of business from soup to nuts, Michael is absolutely one of the most ...

How HYLETE Sells Athletic Apparel Without Limits (or Retail Stores)

By: CircleUp The very nature of cross-training apparel presents numerous design challenges. Creating clothes that fit a variety of different body shapes is tough enough, designing for a variety of body shapes as well as the wide array of movements functional fitness employs is another level entirely. But for companies willing to make the leap, ...