John Stapleton joins Grocery Accelerator in investment role

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John Stapleton

John Stapleton

Grocery Accelerator, the investment and mentoring initiative for food & drink brands, has added Little Dish co-founder John Stapleton as an investment director – just a week after he exited the brand following its £17m takeover by US private equity firm Profile Capital.

Previously an associate partner of Grocery Accelerator, fmcg entrepreneur Stapleton was a co-founder of Little Dish (in 2005) and New Covent Garden Soup Company (in 1998). He has more than 25 years’ experience building brands in the UK and US, and has advised and mentored a variety of entrepreneurs and owner-CEOs of growth businesses in the fmcg sector.

His arrival on the board was “an important development” for Grocery Accelerator, said co-founder Rob Ward. Stapleton would play a key role in supporting the strategic direction of the company and its portfolio of invested businesses.

Grocery Accelerator launched in 2015, claiming to be the world’s first fmcg food and drink accelerator. It expects to be working with more 60 brands across all major categories by January 2018.

“I’ve been impressed with what the guys have achieved,” said Stapleton. He saw “a bright future for how we can collectively make it simpler for brands to scale up and meet their full potential”.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Sophia Nadur

    Good move, John.

    The global food & drink industry knows it needs a pipeline of innovative products to sustain itself particularly in the face of fundamental shifts in consumer attitudes & behaviour.

    SKU rationalisation in retail stores, the rise of e-commerce, and increasing scale-up costs all present startups with huge hurdles to convert disruptive ideas into commercial success.

    UK retailers have tried in the past to support this pipeline development (e.g. Tesco's recent Backit platform) but, unless they give startups space on shelf, the rate of flow of sustainable new ideas remains a trickle.

    With most corporate accelerators (e.g. Unilever's Foundry, Nestle's Henri) focused on incubating ideas that work on getting lapsed consumers to re-engage with their own brands, there is a true "white space" for companies like Grocery Accelerator to support startups to provide expertise and "smart" cash.

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