Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 9

what are the opportunities here.
" We had the benefit of not being so
big at that point where it wasn't hard to
switch gears. "
He built a channel on the business
communication platform Slack, where
founders, investors, retail buyers, service
providers and others interact and share
" My favorite is when you get one
of those obscure questions, like, 'Does
anybody know a vendor who can provide
three-inch white caps and is based on the
West Coast?' and three people respond
and say, 'Yeah, I can connect you,' " Mr.
Scharff said.
As the pandemic raged on, Mr.
Scharff brainstormed more ways to help
startup founders enduring the added challenges of the new reality. Startup CPG began hosting virtual mixers on Zoom, using
the application's " breakout rooms " feature
to assemble small groups and encourage
participants to create new connections.
" We started growing so quickly
once we started doing that because the
feedback was actually these are better than
in-person networking events, " Mr. Scharff
said. " At in-person events you just talk to
who you know or who you might naturally
talk to. This thing, you're just thrown into a
four-person room and just start talking ...

Startup CPG founder Daniel Scharff
reimagined his recent volunteer
project for an online-only world.

People are meeting their co-founders and
finding major business connections, and
it's fun. "
Weeks passed, and more tradeshows
were canceled. Startup CPG expanded
once more, introducing a virtual pitch program. Boxes of samples from a selection of
emerging brands were shipped to buyers,
investors and members of the media in
July and November. An accompanying
digital presentation provided a stage for
the founders to demonstrate the passion
and inspiration behind their innovations.
Over $100,000 in prizes donated to the
winners of the pitch included marketing

campaigns, shelf-life testing, supply chain
assessments and more.
More events and opportunities are in
the works. There's also a podcast that highlights brands and provides expert takes
on various issues. One episode tackles the
fundamentals of co-manufacturing.
The team behind Startup CPG has
grown to a couple dozen volunteers who
contribute to the effort in their spare time,
a once-fleeting resource that has accumulated for so many during the pandemic.
" I mean... it's COVID, " Mr. Scharff
said with a modest shrug. " What else am I
going to do? " ▪

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January 5, 2021

Food Business News


Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021

Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 1
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 2
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 3
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 4
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 5
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 6
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 7
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 8
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 9
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 10
Food Entrepreneur - January 5, 2021 - 11