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CircleUp May.09.2019 4 min read

Who are the most innovative consumer brands of 2019?

The CircleUp25 is one of the highlights of our year here at CircleUp. The campaign is particularly special because it celebrates the incredible ideas and entrepreneurs shaping the consumer industry––entrepreneurs that we’re inspired by every single day.

The roadmap to building a successful consumer brand is an ever-changing landscape filled with twists and turns. The pace of change continues to accelerate as the industry explodes with opportunity––new ideas, new brands, new categories. Now in its seventh year, we host CircleUp25 to recognize the most innovative consumer and retail brands out there. The award shines a light on the brands navigating the landscape in order to change some of the most important parts of our lives––from the products we put in our bodies and on our skin, to the meals and drinks we share with friends.

We’re excited to share that we’ve brought together some of the most prominent industry voices to select the brands reshaping this industry.

Today, we’re opening the call for nominations for our 2019 awards and announcing this all-star panel of judges.

How It Works

Visit the CircleUp25 site for the full rundown on nominations, judging and past winners. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know.


There are two ways to submit a nomination this year. You can submit a brand here (brands can also nominate themselves!), or you can tag your favorite brands on social using #CircleUp25 for them to be considered. We take a loyal fanbase into account when judging.


We’ll be incorporating Helio again to understand the trends and brands that are having a dramatic impact on the industry. Helio is our technology platform that seeks to analyze consumer brands across North America on a number of factors including the strength of the brand, distribution, and product differentiation. Helio is a robust repository of CPG and retail intelligence and helps us take a quantitative approach to investing in promising entrepreneurs.

After we close nominations and deploy Helio to narrow down the list, our panel takes the reins to name this year’s 25 most innovative brands. The all-star lineup this year includes:

  1. Moiz Ali, Founder & CEO, Native Co.
  2. Doug Bouton, President & COO, Halo Top
  3. Robert Brown, co-founder & Managing Director, Encore Consumer Capital
  4. Henry Davis, Founder & CEO, arfa, Inc.
  5. Ben Felt, Managing Director, The Invus Group
  6. Jim Foltz, Vice-President, Business Ventures, Albertson’s – Safeway
  7. Betsy Foster, Global VP of Business Development Whole Foods Market
  8. Andy Friedman, Managing Partner, Pin High Capital; former CEO and Founder of Amplify Snack Brands
  9. Olivier Garel, Head of Unilever Ventures
  10. Danielle Gould, Founder & CEO, Food+Tech Connect
  11. Kirsten Green, Managing Director, Forerunner Ventures
  12. Franklin Isacson, Managing Partner, Coefficient Capital
  13. Andy Katz-Mayfield, Founder, Harry’s
  14. Jeff Klineman, Editor-in-Chief, BevNET
  15. Claire McCormack, General Manager, Beauty Independent
  16. Paul Munford, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Leanluxe
  17. Nicole Quinn, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners
  18. Jon Sebastiani, Founder & Managing Partner, Sonoma Brands
  19. Web Smith, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, 2PM
  20. Jeremy Smith, President, LaunchPad
  21. Anarghya Vardhana, Partner, Maveron
  22. Josh Wand, Founder, Force Brands
  23. Wayne Wu, Managing Director, VMG Partners

We’re excited to name the next cohort of innovative brands. So without further ado please begin nominating.