By the time a protein bar gets to us — the hungry consumer — we don’t give much, if any, thought to where it was manufactured, who came up with the wrapper, or where the ingredients were sourced from. On the other hand, if you’re in the food and beverage industry, you’ve probably had to think about all these things and more — and know how time consuming it can be to find the right partners to help get your product made.
That’s where PartnerSlate, a Leucadia-based company comes in. PartnerSlate is an online platform that helps food and beverage brands find the right partners to get their products produced, packaged and out to market. Close to 90% of food and beverage brands outsource the manufacturing and packaging of their products to third partner manufacturing facilities, also called co-packers. The problem is that co-packers don’t do much marketing, making them hard to find. And the ones that are easy to find are often overrun with requests. On top of that, many co-packers have volume requirements, which means they have to turn down small businesses. With such nuanced needs, it’s hard to find a co-packer who checks all the boxes for a brand.
In order to simplify and streamline this experiences, and above all, match the right co-packer with the right brand, PartnerSlate created a platform that allows a brand to list all of the things they’re looking for. From there, a little computing magic happens, and they’re given a list of co-packers who are a match for their exact needs.
Things brands look for when trying to find a co-packer include, specialty ingredients, location (PartnerSlate works with co-packers in the U.S. and Canada), warehousing capabilities, distribution, certifications for organic, Kosher, non-GMO, and Halal foods, and volume requirements. PartnerSlate has also given smaller sellers, like farms, the ability to sell to brands directly. “Traditionally, a farm would go through a third party to sell their product, with PartnerSlate, we’ve eliminated the middle man and get them directly in touch with brands,” says Co-Founder Matt Suggs.
Their database of over 2,000 partners has successfully paired brands like Perfect Bar, Nestle (often times for pilot products), and Beyond Meat with co-packers. They’ve also matched local brands like Joje Bar and Vive Organics with co-packers to help make their business dreams come true. “Yes it’s been compared to a dating app,” jokes Matt.
So how did PartnerSlate come to be? Living in San Francisco and working in Finance for over 5 years began to wear on Matt, who found himself more or less disenchanted by the finance industry and its taxing, uninspired lifestyle. And then the entrepreneurial itch kicked in. A friend of Matt’s had been working at a food start up, and realized there was a huge need for something like PartnerSlate. Encouraged by conversations with this friend, his soon-to-be business partner, they both took steps to make PartnerSlate a reality.
After learning that a few friends had moved to Leucadia, Matt and his wife Natalie packed their bags for North County; recalling fond memories of the area from when they were in college together at USD. His own boss now, Matt works out of BLOC’s co-work space next to Leucadia Donuts. Riding his bike to work, surfing on his lunch break, and frequenting his favorite haunts like Coffee Coffee and Fish 101 has agreed with Matt. “It’s hard work, but living here in Leucadia and creating this platform has been very rewarding.”
Visit PartnerSlate at partnerslate.com.