M13 Venture Studio Launchpad Opens up First Cohort with PepsiCo

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

M13 Venture Studio Launchpad Opens up First Cohort with PepsiCo

In one of Anna Barber's first moves since taking over M13's year-old venture studio Launchpad, the former Techstars managing director is opening up applications for its first founders-in-residence program.

Funded by PepsiCo, one of the world's largest beverage companies, the 12-week program is aimed at founders and entrepreneurs with backgrounds in food, nutrition or consumer products.

Unlike traditional VC funds that invest in other founders, the venture studio starts companies of its own. The model has become increasingly popular.

Barber says she wants to cultivate wellness companies that are accessible to most consumers and envisions a range of applicants, from serial founders to health and wellness experts without startup experience.

"It could open up the opportunity to people that might not have previously considered it," Barber said. "There's always a gap between when you decide to start something and when you raise capital and can pay yourself. This will allow you to begin the founder journey immediately."

Barber, who joined M13 two weeks ago, said Launchpad is looking to build companies like Rae, the women's wellness brand that stocks supplements in Target, Athropologie and Urban Outfitters. It was the first startup to be internally incubated at M13.

Since the studio began last year, three companies have launched in partnership with Procter and Gamble Ventures — skincare companies OPTE and Bodewell along with menopause supplement brand Kindra.

"It's not enough to invest capital in companies," Barber said. "We really need to help them grow faster by asking and answering the right questions, and to give them unfair advantages in the form of knowledge and access and platform."

The program, which begins in March, provides $10,000 monthly stipends to 12 individuals. Applications are slated to close Jan. 4.

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Snap Becomes the Latest Tech Firm Requiring Employees Return to the Office

Nat Rubio-Licht
Nat Rubio-Licht is a freelance reporter with dot.LA. They previously worked at Protocol writing the Source Code newsletter and at the L.A. Business Journal covering tech and aerospace. They can be reached at nat@dot.la.
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Photo by rblfmr/ Shutterstock

Snap is the latest major tech company to bring the hammer down on remote work: CEO Evan Spiegel told employees this week that they will be expected to work from the office 80% of the time starting in February.

Per the announcement, the Santa Monica-based company’s full-time workers will be required to work from the office four or more days per week, though off-site client meetings would count towards their in-office time. This policy, which Spiegel dubbed “default together,” applies to employees in all 30 of the company's global offices, and the company is working on an exceptions process for those that wish to continue working remotely. Snap’s abrupt change follows other major tech firms, including Apple, which began its hybrid policy requiring employees to be in the office at least three days per week in September, and Twitter, which axed remote work completely after Elon Musk’s takeover (though he did temporarily close offices amid a slew of resignations in mid-November).

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nat@dot.la
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