AccelFoods founders Jordan Gaspar and Lauren Jupiter.
“You’ve got consumers, everyone from millennials to baby boomers, who are looking at food totally differently than we did 10, 20 years ago,” Lauren Jupiter, cofounder and managing partner of AccelFoods, said, a food and beverage investment fund founded in 2014 with partner Jordan Gaspar. “I think that the demands that the consumers have, the choices they want to see is all constantly changing and going back to this cleaner space.”
And in just three short years Jupiter and Gaspar have provided burgeoning food and beverage companies realize their potential, as AccelFoods seeks out products that serve to improve nutrition and wellness, filling in the ever growing gaps health-conscious consumers are looking to fill. With their first fund of $4.1 million, Jupiter and Gaspar gathered up their first group of companies and quickly brought in bigger corporate interests after that, surrounding their original group with invaluable resources they needed to grow and thrive. Now, still in the early stages as a startup themselves, AccelFoods acquired $35 million for their second fund, a figure more than eight times bigger than where they started. With this momentum in capital, AccelFoods is ready to really push forward the kinds of companies they feel will not only benefit consumers, but also change the landscape of what we purchase.
“When we started AccelFoods, it was really from the perspective of what for me, what I personally was consuming, and how I thought about health and wellness and obviously, you know, I’ve had two children since starting AccelFoods, so I’ve really evolved and changed so much,” said Jupiter, who with Gaspar noticed what she called a disconnect with what was offered on the supermarket shelves and what the consumers actually wanted.
“In this space, the consumer, the person who is doing most of the purchasing, really is mom, or the female head of the household, and so I think we bring a perspective that many of the other investors in the industry don’t have,” explained Jupiter of her female-founded and female-driven company, “I think it’s allowed us to stand apart a little bit, it’s given us that approach.”
And though they enjoy standing out within a predominantly male venture capital landscape, Jupiter affirms that while using their insight to the female mind seems to give them some kind of edge, that it’s still not all about “being a woman” but rather “about being a working parent.”
With that parental concern for health and wellness, both Jupiter and Gaspar have currently under their wings, nearly 30 brands who are looking to change the way we nourish our bodies, be it through “drinkable veggies” by Bonafide Provisions in San Diego, good for you chocolate from Good Day Chocolate (yes, you read that correctly) developed by a Doctor in Colorado who made chocolate bites that double as vitamin and energy supplements or even a cup of tea reimagined by Tea Drops, who make organic pressed teas, shaped like hearts, flowers, stars, etc., that dissolve in your cup, no tea bag, string or even sugar required.
“We are pretty agnostic in terms of specific categories,” explained Jupiter, “I will say we only invest in companies with all natural products … and from there we look at products that really are disruptive in the industry, we want innovative products and good market strategy that we think are going to be the impact for the industry.”
“We are really focused on helping our brands to accelerate … [and] being a foundationally strong company that is growing quickly, but also growing smart,” said Jupiter.
“We really are hands on investors. We work with them across all aspects of their business, everything from helping them build out their financial infrastructure and projections, to helping them pick out their sales strategy and working with them on executing on that sales strategy,” said Jupiter, who further explained that they also help with marketing strategies and even with building relationships and networks for their investors with retailers, emphasizing that partnering with AccelFoods is not just about earning investment capital, but also a group of supporters whose mission is to help their investments excel.