Cargill is betting on tech to future-fit the food system: the agricultural giant has partnered with Techstars and Ecolab to launch the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator in an effort to accelerate food industry innovation. Based in Minneapolis, MN, the Accelerator will kick off in the summer of 2018.
“We are thrilled to welcome some of the brightest minds in food and ag tech into Cargill and Ecolab’s backyards,” said Justin Kershaw, CIO at Cargill. “This Accelerator allows us to invest our time and resources in technology shaping the future of agriculture and to address some of the greatest challenges facing the food system. At the same time, 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.”
Ten promising startups will be chosen to participate in the 13-week program, during which time they will build their businesses and receive input on developing technology to positively impact the food industry, securing capital and expanding their industry reach.
“Minnesota was literally built by food entrepreneurs more than 150 years ago, and entrepreneurs continue to thrive in the state’s quickly expanding, yet supportive ecosystem,” said Brett Brohl, Managing Director of Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator. “The Farm to Fork Accelerator will build on this rich history, leveraging Cargill’s reach and leadership in food and agriculture as well as Ecolab’s expertise in safe food, clean water and healthy environments. Combined with Techstars’ proven accelerator model, we can truly help entrepreneurs take their companies to the next level while making a positive social impact.”
The Accelerator will run for the next three years, engaging both early entrepreneurs and late-stage startups with a vision for affecting positive change across the food system. Applications for the first class open in January 2018, with a focus on startups developing solutions to advance food security and safety, ag tech, consumer goods and supply chain management. Interested startups have until April 8, 2018 to submit their applications.
Startups accepted into the program will be offered mentor support from Cargill and Ecolab executives and access to the companies’ market expertise, global connections and investment capital. Techstars’ network of successful entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and other partners also work hand-in-hand with the selected startups throughout the accelerator.
“There couldn’t be a better time for this program. Food trends affect everyone, and entrepreneurs, consumers, investors and companies all over the world are increasingly aware of the growing challenges in the food value chain. The corporate leadership provided by Ecolab and Cargill, and the Techstars worldwide network, will help entrepreneurs succeed in changing this environment,” added Brohl.