Nielsen Canada has entered into a strategic alliance with business accelerator District Ventures that will see it provide data to enable its portfolio companies to make “bold decisions and transform their businesses.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded by ad agency president and former Dragons’ Den star Arlene Dickinson, Calgary-based District Ventures has a specific focus on early-stage companies in the food and beverage, and health and wellness sectors. Its portfolio companies include Chickapea Pasta, the Edmonton-based cookie brand Confetti Sweets, and keto-friendly snack bar company Love Good Fats.
Richard Lee, Nielsen’s North American vice-president of strategic alliances, says the company will provide data that will help District Ventures make informed investment decisions, while also giving the start-ups that make up its investment portfolio the necessary market intelligence to compete in Canada’s highly competitive $87.4 billion consumer packaged goods market.
“You’ve got these early-stage companies trying to make a name for themselves and get shelf space, and they’re competing with some major brands,” says Lee. “Not having that competitive information makes it even more challenging.
“District Ventures is providing capital and business support, and we are part of the ecosystem now,” he adds. “We’re extremely excited about supporting District Ventures and playing such a critical role in bringing innovative food and beverage companies to our industry. Many of these companies will grow to become major players, and we want to be there to support each one every step of the way.”
Nielsen will enable District Ventures’ portfolio companies to better understand their business performance relative to that of their competitors through access to market share data and category trends, says Lee.
“Every company knows how their business is performing…but what they don’t know is how they’re performing relative to the market,” says Lee. “They could be growing 3% in the category, but the category could be growing by 10%. We want to give them a sense of the business relative to the market, and understanding category trends.”
Nielsen will also provide additional insight into who is purchasing a brand’s products as well as access to BASES, a web-based software platform designed to help companies develop innovative ideas and bring them to market faster.
“District Ventures portfolio companies are on the cutting edge of Canada’s CPG space, and with access to Nielsen’s deep consumer insight and comprehensive data, they will be able to innovate, scale and sell even more quickly than they do right now,” says Dickinson, general partner of District Ventures. “This strategic alliance is beneficial for our entrepreneurs, for District Ventures, and for Canada’s entire CPG entrepreneurial ecosystem.”