Start Up


Jan 16, 2014 11:10 ET

BrandProject Launches with $12 Million in Funding to Turn Consumer Products Into Household Names

New company will build, buy and make seed-stage investments in consumer companies across North America.

TORONTOJan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Today BrandProject announced the official launch of its company creation studio with over $12 million in funding from partners including BDC and private investors. Based in Toronto and New York City, the company invests in and mentors consumer-focused companies across North America, while also incubating products and brands internally.

BrandProject will focus on accelerating growth for consumer technology and consumer product startups. The company's founding partners have collectively launched over 100 new products and services for companies including Nike, LEGO, Virgin, Colgate Palmolive, Cadbury-Schweppes, Diageo and Starbucks.

"BrandProject takes a design-led approach to building consumer products," said BrandProject Founder & CEO Andrew Black. "We look for disruptive ideas to re-shape experiences and capture the public's imagination across a variety of verticals."

The company has already invested in and helped scale brands including Awake Caffeinated Chocolate, The Coveteur, BRIKA, and Hello Products, and will continue to focus on finding entrepreneurs who are creating transformational branded consumer products or services that have the ability to become large, successful businesses.

"BrandProject fills a large gap in the current funding landscape," said Sarah Prevette, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at BrandProject. "There are very few investors actively engaged in consumer packaged goods and fewer still that have a background in the space. Beyond capital, our partners work alongside entrepreneurs – actively investing their extensive operational experience."

With offices in Toronto and New York City, BrandProject is actively looking to back passionate entrepreneurs who are creating differentiated products for large markets. Entrepreneurs can get in touch

About BrandProject

BrandProject builds, buys and makes seed stage investments in disruptive consumer products and technology. With it's impressive team of seasoned entrepreneurs based in Toronto and New York City, the company invests in and mentors consumer-focused companies across North America, while also incubating products and brands internally. BrandProject has invested and helped build innovative new brands including Awake Caffeinated Chocolate, The Coveteur, BRIKA, SurfEasy, Rumble Supershake and Hello Products.  Find out more at

SOURCE BrandProject

Image with caption: "BrandProject is a company creation studio that builds, buys and makes seed stage investments in disruptive consumer products and technology. Find out more at Group/BrandProject)".


Jan 2, 2014 12:20 ET

Crown Notes that Starting Your Own Business May Be The Key To Finding Your Dream Job in the New Year

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.Jan. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a sluggish economy, if your New Year'sresolution is to find a dream job it may be time to consider whether it's time to start your own business, noted Crown President Robert Dickie III. In a national op-ed out today, Dickie noted that avoiding some pitfalls could make a difference between creating a successful start-up or becoming a statistic.  

Chance of survival for a start-up offers an entrepreneur some hope, Dickie noted. While 25 percent fail in the first year, about 60 percent of start-ups make it three years while about 35 percent last to 10, according to studies by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The rest can fail for as many reasons as there are people involved or break through the pack to long-term success.

"Three, often-ignored elements in that unique chemical equation that becomes a company can blow up entrepreneurs' dreams for lack of serious consideration," said Dickie, an experienced small-business entrepreneur.  "Untrustworthy Partners, Delayed Launch and Mission Mishmash are corrosive to day-to day-operations and require strategic attention."

Untrustworthy Partners – Strong contracts cannot protect anyone from poor character in their partner. People too often ignore serious red flags in a potential partner, blinded by their contacts or a unique skill set, only to find that their business partner's personal issues have become a corporate liability.  

"Getting the right business partner is as important as choosing the right spouse," observed Dickie. "No matter what business you're in, all business revolves around relationships, from partners to customers."

Delayed Launch –Too many start-ups stay too long in the discussion, white-board, dreaming stage under the guise of "planning for success" with a failure to launch. Everything doesn't have to be perfect to get to work. While this might seem counterintuitive, the fact is if someone beats you to the market place, his or her sales become your loss.

Mission Mishmash – Lack of strategic focus results in too many new businesses crushed under the weight of unmet expectations from customers. Trying to be all things to all people is a recipe for disaster.  Far too often start-up entrepreneurs don't know how to say NO.  Not every sale is a good sale and not every customer is a good customer.

"In this emerging economy, the endangered species of 'company man' cared for from hiring day to retirement has been replaced with life-style entrepreneurs who must consider all their skills and opportunities without that corporate safety net," noted Dickie.  "While taking a leap of faith in starting a business might not suit everyone, it's worth the risk when compatible people take a flexible plan and work to serve customers who find value in their service."

For more information on tools for business start-ups, go to:


Nov 11, 2013 11:03 ET

Looking for the Hottest Startups at the 2014 International CES?

The Official 2014 CES ShowStoppers LaunchIt Pitchfest will find the Winners

NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, and AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — ShowStoppers®, the New York Angels and UP Global today announced they are partnering again with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® to help entrepreneurs and startups raise early seed capital — by producing the second annual official "pitch" event for startup companies exhibiting in the Eureka Park TechZone at the 2014 International CES®, the global gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technology, scheduled for January 7-10, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"ShowStoppers LaunchIt," the official Eureka Park pitch event at the 2014 CES, is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 6, 20141:15 to 3:15 p.m. during the 2014 CES Press Day at Mandalay Bay, one day before the CES show floor opens.

ShowStoppers LaunchIt is a curated pitch event for 16 companies selected from the more than 200 young, innovative, transformative and entrepreneurial startups that exhibit in Eureka Park, a TechZone within CES where retailers, venture capitalists, manufacturers and others will find entrepreneurs launching new products, services, apps and ideas.

Companies that exhibit inside Eureka Park are invited to apply to pitch for funding at ShowStoppers LaunchIt: http:///

There is no application fee, and there is no fee charged to companies that are selected to pitch.

A panel of experienced Angel investors and venture capitalists organized by the New York Angels will pre-screen the companies applying, then select the best to present. One of the largest and oldest angel groups, the New York Angels,, is a member-led organization committed to finding, funding and mentoring great young companies from pitch through a successful exit. Supporting members of the network include Gust, the world-wide official fund raising deal management platform for angel investing; Vegas Valley Angels, Vegas Tech, and LaunchIt, a ShowStoppers partner.

LaunchIt is an event news and social engagement platform that "leaves no new product, service or idea behind," where companies use built-in social networking tools to engage directly with the media and consumers around the world. ShowStoppers works with LaunchIt to power a ShowStoppers-branded news service that is socially engaged, to better connect startups and industry leaders with consumers and journalists.

"The New York Angels is no stranger to CES and Showstoppers," said Brian Cohen, chairman, New York Angels. "We have had our invested startups at Showstoppers, and sourced exciting startups for new investment. This second edition of the Eureka Park pitch event will, again, highlight these innovative companies to CES attendees and the world."

Registration to attend ShowStoppers LaunchIt is open—click here:

About CEA
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $203 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA's industry services. Find CEA online at and through social media.

About CES
The International CES is the world's gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years—the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. As the largest hands-on event of its kind, CES features all aspects of the industry. And because it is owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the technology trade association representing the $203 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry, it attracts the world's business leaders and pioneering thinkers to a forum where the industry's most relevant issues are addressed. Follow CES online at and through social media.

About ShowStoppers
Now in its 21st year, ShowStoppers,, is the global leader in producing press and business events spanning the US, Europe and Asia. Each event organizes product introductions, sneak previews and demonstrations for selected journalists, bloggers, industry and financial analysts, venture capitalists and business executives. Industry leaders, innovators and startups exhibit to help generate news coverage and product reviews, make new connections, promote brand, and open new markets. ShowStoppers produces events at CES, CTIA and Mobile World Congress, among others; the official press events at IFA, NAB, GITEX and Sandbox Summit; and partners with CES, the CEA LineShow and CTIA.

About UP Global:
UP Global exists to empower startup community leaders and the entrepreneurs they serve worldwide. With a platform offering action-based learning programs, resources, and networks for entrepreneurs and leaders, UP aims to be the leading organization furthering human welfare through entrepreneurship. The UP model is dedicated to leveraging existing strengths within communities while developing and offering additional high-impact programs. UP Global currently powers Startup Weekend, the Startup America Partnership, StartupDigest, and more. With a reach in over 110 countries, the UP impact is a fast-growing collaborative effort made possible by support from Google for Entrepreneurs, The Coca Cola Company, The Kauffman Foundation, The Case Foundation, Sprint, American Airlines, Amex OPEN Forum, and Intuit. To learn more visit