Lessons learned from a partnership between P&G and Skydeck
Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) startup ideas can come from lots of places, but as you know, that’s not the important part—it’s where they go next that matters. While many factors determine whether an idea becomes an actual product, there are a couple of fundamentals that always help.
First, an idea that’s solving a clear problem. A clever idea isn’t going to take hold unless consumers can see how it will help them. They don’t want ideas. They want solutions.
Second, a solution that’s grounded in science. We’ve all had ideas that might sound good but prove to be impractical. When solutions are tested, calibrated, and optimized by scientific rigor, they can really take off.
These fundamentals are also the core of the partnership between P&G Ventures and Berkeley’s Skydeck accelerator. By joining P&G’s pedigree of helping solve consumer needs with Berkeley’s pedigree for Silicon Valley scientific research and development, this partnership has a perfect pair of resources for entrepreneurs who want their ideas not just to stay where they’ve started but to go where they can help consumers for many years to come.
Connecting brilliant Ideas with brilliant researchers
As an accelerator in Silicon Valley, Skydeck has all kinds of connections that are invaluable for CPG startups like yours. It’s a unique network, combining academic resources that include Berkeley and the entire California university system, and entrepreneurial resources that understand what it takes to succeed.
The accelerator seeks out startups that are solving a clear problem. This criterion is especially relevant to the CPG startups that P&G Ventures is also seeking to support, making the partnership an obvious match.
Beyond that, Skydeck helps startups take a very pragmatic approach to solve those problems through science. With a mix of life and digital sciences, Skydeck provides an environment for entrepreneurs to explore their ideas, test them extensively, figure out how to make them come to life, and ultimately make a splash in the market.
The accelerator is highly selective, forming three classes per year. These classes create a growing network of fellow entrepreneurs as they scale and discover new success. Through demo nights and other give-back programs, alumni of Skydeck form an on-the-ground web of support for new Skydeck programs. So, even after a startup graduates from Skydeck, they have support while their growth gains momentum.
A natural connection
This sort of networking is what brought the P&G Ventures and Skydeck partnership into existence. Through relationships, conversations, and shared interests in promoting innovation, P&G and Skydeck felt an obvious connection around their mutual goals.
One of the things that forged the initial bond was that Skydeck’s leaders didn’t look at P&G and see a $75 billion company. Instead, they saw the motivators beneath that—the shared values of diligence, rigor, testing, and mission for helping consumers. Capital is out there. It’s the intangibles that matter more.
We’re continuing to build this partnership, making deeper inroads into institutions throughout the California school system. Tapping into postdoc research that has all kinds of promise but no practical application just yet.
It’s a perfect pairing for entrepreneurs like you. You have the ideas and products that can help make a difference. The academic network has the exact technology and discovery to help your idea make the difference you envision.
It’s a mutually beneficial paradigm, creating symbiotic relationships that take ideas, no matter where they began, to achieve the real impact you want.
Another symbiotic connection is due to P&G Ventures’ focus areas. As these are all formed around opportunities we’ve identified that make a difference in people’s lives. Startups that are working in these areas are natural fits for the Skydeck/P&G Ventures partnership.
Non-Toxic Home and Garden. We’re looking for safe, effective, industry-leading technologies that control insects in the home and on plants.
Active Aging—Women. We’re looking for solutions that address challenges ranging from menopause symptoms to migraines, from UTIs to yeast infections, from painful sex to stress incontinence—so women can live active, vibrant lives.
Active Aging—Men. We’re looking for solutions to age-related challenges such as incontinence, mobility challenges, and sexual dysfunction—to help men age with vitality and live their fullest lives.
Healthy Skin. We’re looking for new technologies to help consumers keep their skin looking, feeling, and functioning at its best, especially in addressing acne, sun protection, hyperpigmentation, eczema, and psoriasis.
Personal Performance. We’re looking to help consumers live healthy, confident lives by creating products that aid in breathing, stress resistance, focus, and cognitive health.
Balanced Protection. We’re looking for products that help consumers successfully rid their homes of “bad” bacteria—especially clothing, carpet, and upholstery—without overcleaning or getting rid of “good” bacteria.
Food Preservation & Waste Reduction. We’re looking to reduce the 30-40% existing food waste and save consumers time and money with new technologies that keep food fresher for longer.
Daily Wellness. We’re looking for health solutions to help consumers maximize their “wellspan” and live their best lives.
Go-Anywhere Clean. We’re looking for products that offer on-the-go protection against harmful bacteria. To help consumers maintain a clean and safe environment, no matter where they go.
Helping Parents. We’re looking for solutions to support parents and children ages 0–5 to help them raise healthy, resilient children during this critical stage.
Emerging Frontiers. We’re looking for new ideas outside of existing and previous P&G markets—particularly products that preserve valuable items, make users’ homes more healing and nurturing, or make their homes and communities smarter, more efficient, and more resilient.
Do you have a great idea? Do you see the value of a unique partnership like Berkeley Skydeck and P&G Ventures? Check us out!
P&G Ventures is a startup studio within Procter & Gamble that partners with startups, entrepreneurs, and inventors to fund and accelerate billion-dollar ideas that improve consumers’ lives. Think you have the next big idea? We’d love to hear from you.