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CircleUp's $125 Million Fund Looks To Bring Moneyball To Backing Consumer Brand Winners
CircleUp’s fund is using Helio to bring a Moneyball style approach to investing in startups. Helio can scan about 1.2 million companies, identifying brands making between $1 million and $15 million as likely to breakout through a range of metrics from increasing SKUs to marketplace activity – billions of data points in all.
A new fund uses A.I. to invest in consumer and retail products with the best chance of success
To identify the hottest consumer start-ups for potential deals, CircleUp will be using its proprietary machine learning software, called Helio. There are 240 kombucha brands, 832 popcorn brands and 4,684 nail polish brands in the U.S. alone, according to Helio analysis shared with CNBC.
Big Food Looks to Startups for Ideas, Innovation
“It’s hard for consumer companies to step out of what they’ve been locked into for 60 or 80 years,” said Ryan Caldbeck, founder and chief executive of CircleUp, a business that connects private-equity firms with food startups. CircleUp says large consumer-goods companies lost $18 billion in market share to smaller competitors between 2011 and 2015.
TechCrunch: What Silicon Valley tech VCs get wrong about consumer investing
Despite the size of the market, early-stage consumer has historically been underserved by investors due to market inefficiencies like the geographic dispersion of brands and a lack of structured information sources. In theory, the recent trend of VC dollars going to fill a capital gap in CPG should result in a win-win. In effect, many of the tech VC investments into consumer are misguided, and sometimes harmful. Investors may lose money, but entrepreneurs can lose companies they’ve spent lifetimes building.
CircleUp's $125 Million Fund Looks To Bring Moneyball To Backing Consumer Brand Winners
CircleUp’s fund is using Helio to bring a Moneyball style approach to investing in startups. Helio can scan about 1.2 million companies, identifying brands making between $1 million and $15 million as likely to breakout through a range of metrics from increasing SKUs to marketplace activity – billions of data points in all.
29 start-ups that prove Silicon Valley innovation isn't dead
CircleUp uses machine learning to then predict which products are likely to strike a chord with consumers, and which companies are best positioned within those categories. The company's AI platform, Helio, helps investors make bets on promising food and beverage start-ups, and helps those companies figure out how to tweak their strategies and product lines.
Forbes: Finding The Right Work-Life Balance: Lessons From CircleUp CEO Ryan Caldbeck
Ryan Caldbeck is the CEO and co-founder of CircleUp, an investment firm that uses new quantitative methods to target consumer retailers in the private market. I sat down with Ryan to discuss balancing the demands of entrepreneurial life, company values, and the advice he’d give to his younger self. “Try not to let perfect be the enemy of good."
Forbes: CircleUp Raises $200 Million To Woo Consumer Retail Startups With A VC Alternative: Loans
While venture capital funds look to take equity in hot consumer brands in exchange for fueling their growth, a cottage industry is forming around businesses that can offer similar benefits without giving up so much ownership. And one of the leaders in that fledgling category, CircleUp, has added another $200 million to scale up.
Institutional Investor: CircleUp Hires GMO Partner as First CIO in Quant Push
CircleUp, which invests in consumer companies, said Thursday that Constable joined the firm last month to oversee its expansion in systematic equity in private markets, discretionary equity, and credit. He had worked at Boston-based GMO since 2006, filling such roles as partner, head of global equity, and head of quantitative research.
BevNET: Nutpods Secures Investment From VMG Partners
Nutpods marks the third recent investment in ready-to-drink beverage for VMG, following previous funding for Spindrift and Humm Kombucha. CircleUp Growth Partners, which made an initial investment in Nutpods in December 2016, also participated in this round of funding, along with previous investor Sidekick Fund.
Forbes: Why It's Good Business For A Group Of Celebs To Back An Electrolyte Drink Mix
Bringing in the backing of celebrities with such a wide reach is a big moment for Liquid I.V.; the company claims it drove $100 million in revenue within its first five years on the market. CEO Brandin Cohen launched the product in southern California and began selling his product packet by packet out of a Whole Foods. Scooter Braun was an early investor in the company (he connected with Cohen when CircleUp Growth Partners led a previous funding round involving Braun's TQ Ventures), and they began to tap his network to find new supporters earlier this year to take the company to the next level, Cohen said.
Food Dive: Cali'flour Foods raises millions to scale up operations
Cali'flour Foods has received investment funds from Sunrise Strategic Partners and Trilantic North America, with participation from CircleUp Growth Partners, according to a release. The company said growth with this investment will be led by its new CEO Mike Anderson.

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