Helio Highlights, Valentine’s Day Edition: Functional Chocolate ❤

Functional foods have been part of the food industry’s vocabulary for decades, but in the last several years we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of a specific type of delivery mechanism for these supplemental nutrients: chocolate. According to the USDA, functional foods are those that are “designed to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the ...

The Cleanwashing of Clean Beauty

I recently covered clean beauty branding and the ambiguity associated with how clean beauty brands market themselves. Front label messaging associated with the word “clean” can be unclear, which suggests that the lists of both ingredients and non-ingredients (e.g., parabens, sulfates, phthalates) matter. I’d ask what specific ingredients give meaning to the term clean. Are ...

Portfolio Company Spotlight: Kitu Life

The Origination of Kitu Life Kitu Life, Inc. was founded by three brothers: Jordan, Jake, and Jim DeCicco. The youngest brother, a student-athlete looking for a pick-me-up after basketball practice, was disenchanted by the unhealthy selection of energy drinks and bottled coffees on campus – all loaded with calories and artificial ingredients. So, he set ...

Helio Highlights: Customization

The ability to customize products is a growing trend across CPG categories. Using Helio, we are able to see CPG brands leaning into this trend by creating personalized products and heavily marketing them as such. According to Helio, the growth in brands that have described their products as customizable is 185%+ over the last 2 ...

Helio Highlights: The Future of Clean Beauty

In early-stage consumer, clean beauty is one of the most commonly discussed topics today. There are a lot of investors, strategics, and consumers interested in clean beauty. The past year has seen some high-profile investments and acquisitions in clean beauty, including CircleUp Growth Partners’ portfolio company, Kosas, which announced a Series B raise led by ...

Helio Highlights: Growth in Adaptogens

Adaptogens, non-toxic plants that are believed to alleviate stressors, have seen a rise within food, beverage and beauty products as consumers become increasingly aware of the benefits of natural wellness.  Above, we can see the growth trend in brands we found in Helio that use adaptogens in their products. As a result of the growth ...

Helio Highlights: Convergence of Food & Beauty

We are excited to introduce “Helio Highlights” – our new series of CPG insights from our proprietary data platform, Helio. As we find interesting data in Helio, we want to share some quick insights to benefit the broader CPG community of founders, investors and retailers. We hope you enjoy the series, share the content and ...

Defining Clean Beauty: Beyond the Branding

On the back label of beautifully packaged faces, behind the concealer of marketing jargon, what does clean beauty mean? Combing through the marketing jargon using CircleUp’s machine learning technology, Helio, we’ve identified the most common terms used to describe clean beauty products. Initially, we focused on the skincare sector for the purposes of narrowing in on ...

On Data, Unicorns and Granola Bars

A quant’s journey in the private markets After a career spent applying systematic and data driven techniques to investing in the public markets, I am now on a path to do the same in the private markets. The time is now for quantitative investing to begin, in earnest, the disruption of the private markets. The ...

Welcome Peach––making the side-hustle work for women

To help women thrive. That’s the mission of Peach, a direct sales, lifestyle apparel brand focused specifically on contemporary athleisure and it’s a big part of the reason that CircleUp Growth Partners made an investment in the business. We are thrilled to welcome Janet Kraus (CEO), Derek Ohly (COO) and the entire Peach team to ...