Food & Beverage Accelerator to Expand Into Direct Investing
APRIL 19 – Atlanta, GA – Building on its success in helping founders of emerging brands such as Kill Cliff, High Road Craft, The Owl’s Brew and others grow their business, Craft Catalyst has closed an initial round of outside investment to extend the leading food & beverage accelerator’s capabilities. As Principals Chris Olivier and Steef Schelke continue to grow Craft Catalyst’s consulting practice through team development, new client acquisition, peer networking and professional enrichment programming, they have assembled a small group of investors to capitalize on equity investment opportunities.
Notable among these investors is Fenwick Brands, the Birmingham-based middle market consumer goods investor and operator with significant experience and resources in the food and beverage sector. With Fenwick on board alongside other private investors steeped in hands-on operating experience, Craft Catalyst looks to bring a new level of sophistication to the early stage food & beverage investment arena while staying true to its “roll up your sleeves” approach.
Craft Catalyst’s model is unlike the growing trend of application-based, fixed term food & beverage accelerator programs cropping up around the country. Olivier and Schelke are firm believers that an entrepreneur with a promising product concept needs more than a slug of seed capital and a refined plan to have a real shot at success. “Whether an engagement is focused around Sales & Distribution, Brand Management, Innovation, Supply Chain Development, or a blend of all of these disciplines, we’re in the weeds with these brands until it’s time to pass the baton to a full-time replacement,” states Olivier. “We partner with the entrepreneur and embed within their operating team to formulate sound plans and get the job done.”
As Craft Catalyst has stewarded several client brands to date through multiple rounds of funding, the decision to launch into direct investing presented itself as the next logical step in the boutique accelerator’s development. “As our name has gotten out there, investors evaluating food & beverage opportunities have increasingly looked to us for qualified commentary on a given brand’s historical performance and future prospects,” says Schelke. “Given how entrenched we are in the industry, operating a range of brands from wine & spirits to packaged food, perishables and non-alcoholic beverages, we are particularly well suited to partner with investors seeking pre-qualified deal-flow and operating acumen.”
Prior to forming Craft Catalyst, Olivier and Schelke collectively spent decades as operators across numerous categories including wine & spirits, specialty & natural foods, and children’s beverages, working with brands like Stirrings, Annie’s Homegrown, Wasa Crackers, Grolsch and BellyWashers (now good2grow) to name a few.
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Founded by entrepreneurs with proven operating track records, Craft Catalyst, LLC is an Atlanta-based boutique food & beverage brand accelerator working with emerging brands to help manage growth, avoid pitfalls and enhance shareholder value. The company provides a comprehensive platform of resources, mentors, capabilities and community to early-stage food & beverage businesses seeking to scale. Go to www.craftcatalystllc.com for more information.