P&G PARTNERS: Even a corporate behemoth needs to stay in touch with the little guy. Procter & Gamble Co. is establishing a connection to beauty and personal care start-ups by striking a partnership with CircleUp, a crowdfunding Web site launched last year through which eight companies, including Episencial and Pangea Organics, have already raised $7.5 million. “Procter & Gamble has a long history of innovation that comes from both inside Procter & Gamble and outside. They view CircleUp as an interesting way to identify innovative products and brands,” said CircleUp co-founder and chief executive officer Ryan Caldbeck, who noted that P&G isn’t specifically looking to invest in firms raising money with CircleUp. Andrew Backs, manager of P&G’s new business creation and Connect+Develop, the company’s initiative to reach out to leading innovators, elaborated, “Partnering with CircleUp gives P&G yet another way to garner insights to current consumer behavior and interests, while also sharing with entrepreneurs business insights that might help them reach their full potential.” An early outgrowth of the partnership is going to be P&G’s participation in an incubator day CircleUp is holding in March. “If you are company, you often want to meet P&G and get their views. Those conversations are very difficult to start because P&G, as you can imagine, gets cold calls a lot. We help facilitate those conversations,” said Caldbeck.

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