Toronto-based Kinetic Café, a consulting firm aiming at startups and innovation-focused enterprises, has partnered with Freshii, a health food restaurant chain looking to shake up fast food while keeping meals healthy, to form a new startup accelerator program called Fresh Startups providing mentorship and guidance to companies focusing on food, fitness and health. The program is seeking applicants now for its first round, and will offer a six month program for small groups of companies at a time.
Kinetic Café Principal and head of the new Fresh Startups Program Saul Colt said in an email that he believes existing accelerators aren’t well structured to help these sorts of companies get off the ground.
“I believe there is demand for what we are doing because we are not looking to work with 20 companies at a time.,” Colt explained. “Because we are a hands on program (Myself and my team will work everyday with the accepted startups from business modelling right through to storming the boardrooms and closing deals) we can only work with a small group of startups at a time but our main differentiator is our partner Freshii.”
The Freshii partnership is about more than just providing startups looking to operate in a similar space with seasoned mentorship and advice; startups participating in the program get access to users and infrastructure who already are active Freshii customers, giving them key brand positioning with a theoretically receptive audience from the start.
“[The partnership with Freshii] allows our startups to be making real decisions that will bring in revenue from day one,” Colt said via email. “There will be little theory in our program as the focus isn’t to work on pitch decks but rather build the business.”
The Fresh Startups Program offers companies accepted into its six month course funding of $25,000 in cash, $15,000 in digital lab credits and are in the process of working out access to a government loan worth an additional $15,000. In exchange, the program asks for a between 5 and 10 percent of the company depending on what stage they’re at when they enter. Participants get access to mentoring, but also to business modelling, customer identification, brand design, and marketing and sales services provided by Kinetic Café, as well as the aforementioned opportunities via Freshii, which operates over 80 locations in 35 cities across eight different countries, and plans to open 100 more stores within the next year.
Applications for the inaugural round of Fresh Startups will be open until October 4, 2013. The space Fresh Startups is focusing on is an increasingly competitive one, so the advantage provided by joining might be highly attractive to entrepreneurs targeting the space.