Because new technologies can lead the way to a safer, more secure and sustainable food supply, Cargill announced that it is partnering with Techstars and Ecolab to create the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, launching in Minneapolis, Minn., in 2018.
“We are thrilled to welcome some of the brightest minds in food and ag tech into Cargill and Ecolab’s back yards,” Cargill chief information officer Justin Kershaw said. “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 start-up energy inside Cargill, where we are committed to creating a culture that fosters technology innovation through internal expertise and external partnerships.”
The first class, featuring 10 of the world’s most promising start-ups, is set to arrive in Minneapolis for a 13-week engagement in the summer of 2018, where the focus will be on building the business and receiving input on developing technology to positively influence the food industry, securing capital and expanding 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, Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator managing director. “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 is scheduled to continue for three years, engaging both early-stage entrepreneurs and late-stage start-ups with a vision for affecting positive change across the food system. Applications for the first class open in January 2018, with a focus on start-ups that can advance key aspects of the food system, including food security and safety, agricultural technology, consumer goods and supply chain management.
Start-ups 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 will work hand in hand with the selected start-ups throughout the accelerator.