Techstars launches Minnesota accelerator for agriculture and food startups

Thursday, February 01, 2018

International startup accelerator Techstars announced today that it is launching a new ag tech accelerator in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Called the Farm-to-Fork Accelerator, the program will be managed by Brett Brohl, previously an entrepreneur in resident at Techstar’s Retail Accelerator, also based in Minnesota. Cargill and Ecolab, some of the largest players in the ag tech and food safety fields respectively, will partner with Techstars to run the program and offer mentorship to the selected companies.

According to a blog post, applications for the program opened on January 8, with the 13-week program slated to begin in the third quarter of 2018. Techstars is looking to accept 10 startups that have ideas on how to innovate upon a variety of processes in the food value chain, from food safety to waste reduction to traceability.

“There are immense challenges and opportunities in food and ag tech, and yet it is the least digitized sector in the world,” Brohl said in an emailed statement to VentureBeat. “The largest looming question is: how do we safely and sustainably feed the world’s growing population in 30 years?”

“We see the partnership with Techstars as a way to inject startup energy inside Cargill, where we are committed to creating a culture that fosters technology innovation through internal expertise and external partnerships,” Justin Kershaw, Cargill’s CIO, said in a press release.

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