Startups dosa by DOSA, Pariva, Tres Lecheria and Wheyward Spirit claimed victory at the 2022 Real California Milk Excelerator: Open Innovation Final Pitch Event. Created by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) and innovation advisory VentureFuel, the competition is designed to identify, curate and accelerate innovation in dairy-based products, from consumer food and beverages to textiles and beyond. The four cohort winners will each receive $50,000 in resources and funding to scale their products in California and will compete for an additional $100,000 in support based on continued performance.

In its fourth year, the 2022 Real California Milk Excelerator advances innovation in its truest state: open. As one of the biggest dairy competitions in the world, the program sought early-stage applicants with high-growth potential that create a 50% cow’s milk-based product or working prototype.

Eight finalists participated in the November 2nd live pitch event where they presented to judges from companies representing retail, consumer packaged goods, food distribution and media before a live and virtual audience of key stakeholders. The support the four winning startups will receive is to grow and expand their product in California. After 12 months, one of the participating companies will unlock an additional $100,000 grand prize by establishing their presence in California and achieving the most significant growth. The total value of competition awards is half a million dollars.

The Excelerator’s eight finalists were selected from a field of 48 qualified entries. Each finalist received access to a group stipend to help develop their product, business plan and marketing assets for the program, as well as a suite of resources including graphic design, lab or kitchen time and elite mentorship from global marketing, packaging, investment, retail and distribution experts from global brands and agencies. Winners will participate in a private retail buyer/investor week and will continue with customized marketing support from the California Milk Advisory Board’s business development team.

California, known for innovation, has a reputation for quality dairy products. As the number one milk producer in the US, California also leads the nation in sustainable dairy farming practices. More than 1,100 family dairy farms produce the milk found in fluid milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products identified by the Real California Milk seal.