Where are they now?
Early funded startups 2-years hence
Brands get early investment if they can prove they are solving a consumer problem. Investors place bets (and build a portfolio) hoping one of their investments will hit a home run.
Let’s see how three early brands I profiled in 2020 are doing today.
Where they were then:
Problem: Special dieters and health conscious people lack tasty dip options
Solution: Plant-based, clean label, made with almonds, gluten free dips that actually taste amazing
Stage: Growth. Revenues estimated > $10M. No outside funding. Totally bootstrapped.
Wins: 3-time sofi (Specialty Foods Association) winner, 2020, 2019, 2018
Peekaboo Ice Cream
Problem: Moms can’t get kids to eat veggies
Solution: Hide veggies in ice cream
Stage: Startup. Angel funding $1M
Wins: 1st prize $200K at the 2020 California Milk Advisory Board's Real Milk Snackcelerator
Problem: People with food allergies can't enjoy pudding
Solution: Allergen-free, protein rich, plant-based pudding made from oats
Wins: $2M pre-seed round
Where they are today:
Bitchin’ Sauce - Soaring. Company estimates they sold 12 million tubs of the almond-based dip in 2022. Their VP of Operations won the Specialty Food Association’s 2023 Leadership Award for Sustainability, and their CMO is a 2023 Forbes 30 under 30. He is credited for the company's retail expansion into Albertsons and Whole Foods, launching the brand's Costco roadshow program and venturing into public relations initiatives with Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Garner and Kelly Slater.
Peekaboo Ice Cream - ? As of this writing I can’t find any news for the hidden veggie ice cream brand. Website store locator has been disabled and online shop is out of stock. Doesn’t look good.
Noops Pudding - Shuttered. Earlier this year the refrigerated dessert brand “ceased operations after roughly two and a half years in business, the company’s founder and CEO Gregory Struck has accepted a new role with Siddhi Capital, Noops’ largest investor.” According to NOSH.
Solving a consumer problem is a prerequisite to success but not a guarantee. It’s impressive that even one out of the three brands I analyzed two years ago is thriving because this is a tough industry and success is for the few. Even so, it’s a worthwhile journey.
Ex-founders will tell you, there is life afterwards. Not only were there no hard feelings after burning through $2M, Mr. Struck got a job with his VC after closing Noops. Nice!
All my best,