A new brand and marketing consultancy firm called FasterForward (stylized as FASTER/FORWARD) wants to uplift brands that are committed to solving “real problems in a turbulent world.”
Launched today, FasterForward intends to boost companies created and led by women, especially those in the sustainability and vegan sectors.
The firm is the brainchild of Shane Ginsberg and Florian Radke. Radke—an expert in marketing, digital native growth, and brand communications—has helped Fortune 500 companies and start-ups reach new heights, focusing especially on those looking to evolve the food system.
Ginsberg, the co-founder of Razorfish, specializes in digital marketing, brand development, and technology. And, for the past 10 years, has been developing FasterForward’s secret weapon: BrandSpeed.
BrandSpeed is a proprietary approach that compresses three months’ worth of strategy into two to four weeks, helping clients build a retail presence, formulate GTM plans, and develop brand narratives, websites, and playbooks, for example.
“We work with startups and established companies running fast into the future,” Ginsberg said, adding that BrandSpeed is a “battle-tested process designed to help companies differentiate themselves and unlock opportunities.” Or in other words, “help clients figure out who they are and what to do next.”
Women in business
A number of plant-based and women-led businesses have already benefited from this approach, including Rebellyous Foods, Vegan Women Summit (VWS), and Miyoko’s Creamery.
Miyoko Schinner, the founder of the latter, has spoken openly about the obstacles she faces as a woman in the entrepreneurial space. Last year, she told Plant Based News that gender inequality is “rampant” in both business and activism.
“Even the media highlights men in business, while often overlooking or minimizing the accomplishments of women in the field. Men have more bravado. And, can be fearless in speaking up about what they’ve done, while women tend to downplay their own accomplishments,” she explained.
“We need the media to start highlighting more women in business as well as activism. Let’s start crowning queens, not just kings.”
‘Leveling the playing field’
Indeed, despite plant-based food and technology pulling in a record $3 billion USD in investments in 2020, women founders received less than three percent of all investments that year, according to an industry report published by the Vegan Women Summit (VWS).
“Study over study shows that women-led companies (not just in the vegan space) perform better and create higher value for investors and the market. But through my work with VWS, I know first hand that women founders have it harder to raise money and get less access to important resources,” FasterForward’s Radke told Plant Based News.
“We want to help level the playing field with FasterForward by providing agency level work in a lean and fast way to drive immediate results.”
Miyoko’s Creamery testifies to that. In a statement, the company’s chief brand officer Jim Allsopp said: “Florian and Shane understand the changing needs and realities of a fast-growing business because they’ve been there. Their nimbleness and mix of experience, passion, and purpose both at the in-house, agency, and founder level shows.”
Allsopp continued: “It’s easy when you are in the thick of the day (as they can attest) to lose sight of the wood for the trees. These fellas helped us move faster forward by cutting through the typical agency ordeal and big agency approach by making it super easy to engage and jumping in head first at the whiteboard.”
Plant-based business boom
FasterForward isn’t alone in its mission to elevate companies like Miyoko’s.
Entrepreneur Jennifer Stojkovic launched VWS in an effort to shine a light on the achievements of women-fronted, vegan businesses, and help them secure more funding. “What started as 250 women in a room in San Francisco is now over 40,000 women professionals across six continents… in less than two years,” Stojkovic wrote earlier this year.
“Our rapid growth has been a testament to the huge interest – and need – for an inclusive community to amplify women,” she says, stressing that women of color are especially excluded from investment opportunities. In 2021, they were 1.5 times more likely to report bias from investors compared to white founders.
But a growing number of investors are catching the wind, and Bloomberg expects the plant-based food market alone to hit $162 billion in the next decade.
This shift is good news for the planet. A recent report by Boston Consulting Group concluded that plant-based meat and dairy alternatives come out on top for climate impact.
Malte Clausen of Boston Consulting Group commented: “If you really care about impact as an investor, this is an area that you definitely need to understand.”