PepsiCo signs on to sponsor new founder-in-residence program from M13

Jonathan Shieber
·1 min read
DES PLAINES, IL - JUNE 13: Pepsi labels are seen on plastic bottles of the soft drink displayed on a store shelf June 13, 2006 in Des Plaines, Illinois. Doctors at the annual American Medical Association meeting in Chicago this week have called for a "fat tax" on sugary soft drinks to help fight obesity in the U.S. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

The budding venture studio being built inside M13 has signed PepsiCo as its first new corporate partner.

Through the deal, PepsiCo has agreed to bankroll the first founder-in-residence program from the New York and Los Angeles-based firm, which poached former Techstars Los Angeles managing director Anna Barber to lead its new initiative.

The initial M13 Launchpad program will leverage PepsiCo executives and advisors to take entrepreneurs-in-residence on a 12-week program in ideating and launching a health and wellness-focused startup.

"Today there is a wealth of data available to consumers about their own health, and the movement toward home testing has put ownership over health data more firmly in their hands. This creates exciting opportunities for people to use nutrition even more effectively as a source of consistent, overall health and wellness," Barber wrote in an email. "This spring, we will be looking at everything from snacks, meal replacement foods, drinks and supplements to software platforms for optimizing nutrition, and connected devices for collecting and managing data."

It's a deal that complements work M13 is already doing alongside corporate partners like Procter & Gamble Ventures, which was instrumental in developing companies that include the premium beauty tech OPTE, Kindra's menopause products and Bodewell for sensitive skin care.

Independently, the Launchpad program was able to build up Rae, which sells affordable women’s wellness products available at Target, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.

Under the 12-week virtual Launchpad program, entrepreneurs will receive a $10,000 monthly stipend and enough cash for testing product market fit when they graduate. Upon leaving the program, each company will also receive a small seed round to ensure they can continue to grow the business, M13 said.