The Innovestment Model for creating breakthrough, actionable and scalable opportunities for corporations’ product development pipelines is different from both (1) traditional internal R&D or external innovation agency models, as well as those seen in (2) corporate entrepreneurial pursuits through incubators, accelerators, open innovation or scout/acquire activities.
Patent-pending system for creating single-serve, on-demand, fresh, and personalized food bars, with application for the home appliance and vending industries.
Method for corporate innovation teams to anonymously engage with consumers on the front-end of product development in participatory showrooms, hotel guest rooms and other non-traditional active-user venues.
Our “sandbox” for validating the Innovestment Partners model itself was a POC venture we created that focused on brand name cereals, given the fact that 95% of the American public enjoyed it. That kind of ubiquity made it an excellent category to test our ideas and learn how they would play out with the broadest cross-section of consumers and attract a good mix of corporate partners.
Cereality Cereal Bar & Café took the form of a breakthrough chain of cafes and kiosks that featured 40 types of familiar brand-name cereals, 40 types of toppings or mix-ins, up to seven types of milk, and a wide variety of freshly prepared hot cereals. It also had a number of other offerings, all of which included cereal and all of which were geared to all-day dining.
Our primary mission was to validate the idea that you could sell the most common type of packaged food in a food service establishment if you focused on a highly branded experience, rather than the product mix. We set out to prove that on or near college campuses, in business districts, and at airports and other transportation hubs. We got that proof. As a matter of fact, we even won the coveted “Experience Stager of the Year” Award from the authors of The Experience Economy.
In launching the business, we were very fortunate to secure non-equity start-up funding from PepsiCo’s Quaker Foods division by providing them with proprietary data and limited category exclusivity.
At the time Cereality was acquired—four years after we opened our first unit—we had seven company-owned units in operation in various cities and settings, 26 franchise units under contract, and more than 8,000 franchise applications on file. Those were the tangible assets.
But the company’s intangible brand assets were what helped it secure its most significant corporate partnerships—from product development and licensing deals with companies such as Mars, Old Navy, Dodge and Dreamworks. The most potent of those assets was Cereality’s trademarked value proposition: “Where it’s always Saturday morning.”