Austin has become a hotbed of activity for consumer-packaged goods companies.
And Sku Accelerator, founded in 2011, has been a major catalyst for helping brands do well.
And now SKU is teaming up with another well-known name in Austin – WeWork, which has seven locations throughout Austin. The newest site is WeWork at the SXSW Center at 1400 Lavaca Street. WeWork SXSW Center has more than 65,000 square feet across three floors. It features large floor to ceiling windows and an expansion rooftop terrace with a view of the State Capitol.
And on Tuesday, WeWork announced it was establishing WeWork Food Labs, the company’s first incubator focused on food startups. It’s the first Food Labs space in Texas and the third nationwide behind San Francisco and New York, according to a news release.
The WeWork space includes a merchandising area and pantry, as well as commons areas for events.
WeWork is partnering with Sku to provide mentorship to members as well as host events for those in the food entrepreneurship and innovation space.
Sku is about to launch its eighth accelerator class in January. Its alumni companies include Grocery Pup, Shade Tree Lemonade, Siete Foods, Austin Eastciders, and Epic Performance Bars.
“We believe innovation in the CPG industry can be accelerated when we work together with others,” Kirstin Ross, managing director of Sku, said in a news statement. “With much of the food and CPG industry working in tandem, we are excited to be partnering with WeWork Food Labs, to give startups and legacy food brands the space, resources and expertise needed to continue innovating within the food industry.”
Adam Yee, a serial entrepreneur who most recently built The Better Meat Co., which provides plant-based proteins for food service providers and meat processors, is heading up the WeWork Food Labs in Austin as its manager. Yee’s previous company recently partnered with Perdue.
“We’re very excited to be entering the center of the Austin food scene and see incredibly creative and disruptive solutions born out of our latest WeWork Food Labs location,” Yee, manager of WeWork Food Labs Austin, said in a news statement. “We hope that by providing the space, programming, mentorship and network that food startups in Austin need, we will continue to help drive innovation in the food industry and power a more sustainable future in food.”
WeWork Food Labs is also home to a number of food startups including OHi Superfood Bar, a company creating plant-based, refrigerated bars, and Naturally Austin, a community for the natural product industry in Central Texas.