Skip to content
CircleUp June.22.2016 4 min read

Which Are the Most Innovative Consumer Brands of 2016?

Every year, new products and services are making life better for millions of consumers. Breakthrough brands and products are changing what we put in our bodies, in our homes and our communities. We celebrate these innovations with the CircleUp25, our annual list of the brands that are breaking through.

Have a nomination? There are two ways to vote: Nominate a brand for the CircleUp25 here. Or, tweet at the brand with #CircleUp25 for them to be considered.

A Golden Age in Consumer

There’s a dramatic shift happening in the consumer industry where people are walking away from some America’s most iconic brands. In fact, $18B in market share has shifted from the top 25 biggest consumer brands to small brands offering authentic, high quality experiences. This comes after decades of the consumer industry being starved for innovation, leaving us with products like fast food and toxic personal care, which that have remained unchanged for 30+ years.

Now, this is all changing. There has never been a better time to start a consumer company. It has never been easier to distribute with direct-to-consumer sales and through retailers that are dropping slotting fees, or to market to consumers through social and other channels, or raise capital through Marketplace Investing. Thanks to a surge of early-stage consumer entrepreneurs and a growing network of partners and investors supporting them, today there are tailwinds of innovation across food and beverage, personal care, home goods, apparel and more.

For the fourth year in a row, CircleUp will award the 25 most innovative consumer product and retail companies that are improving what we eat, what we put on our bodies, what we wear and how we live. These brands will exemplify the best of what is new in their markets, bringing new technologies, formulations, business practices and entire product lines to industries, delighting customers and solving challenges for us all.

CircleUp 25: How It Works

For general information on deadlines, nominations, judging and past winners, visit our page. We’re also excited to share some additions we’ve made especially for 2016 awards.

A judges panel of consumer investors, entrepreneurs and luminaries: The most innovative consumer brands of the year will be decided on by a vast network of judges, including private equity pros, strategic investors and successful entrepreneurs, including:

  • Krave founder and Sonoma Brands CEO, Jon Sebastiani
  • Annie’s founder and President, John Forake
  • Method CEO, Eric Ryan
  • Collaborative Fund Managing Director, Craig Shapiro
  • Encore Consumer Capital Director, Bill Shen
  • SWAT Capital Partner, Sarah Foley
  • Founder of ZICO Coconut Water and Partner at Powerplant Ventures, Mark Rampolla
  • General Mills’ 301 Inc Investor, Brian Tockman
  • Food-Tech Connect founder, Danielle Gould

A Data-Driven Approach to Evaluations: At CircleUp, we believe in using data and machine learning to surface the best brands, be it for a private equity deal, or for the CircleUp25. That’s why this year, we’ve trained our Classifier, our machine learning algorithms, to score companies by the strength of their brand, analyzing customer engagement, product, growth and more. The Classifier will narrow down the finalists for the judges to vote on.

We’re excited to celebrate the innovation happening in the consumer industry. Look for the final CircleUp25 list in late July, announced exclusively in Forbes. Interested in seeing who won in past years? See our winners from 2015, 2014 and 2013.

This article originally appeared in Forbes.