Sprint and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) announced March 5 the nine companies participating in the fifth annual Accelerator Program, which launched this week and will continue through June. The Sprint Accelerator is located in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City, Mo.
"We have a diverse and exciting group of companies joining our program this year,” Doug Dresslaer, managing director of the Sprint Accelerator, said. “For Sprint, we’ve recruited companies that align with our IoT (internet of things) team’s core business strategies, and for DFA, we’ve not only brought in cutting-edge agricultural technology companies, but we also have three dairy food product companies in this year’s cohort."
“We are proud to support this year’s class of cutting-edge start-ups. Sprint has an ambitious vision for IoT, and we look forward to working alongside these companies to continue the evolution of IoT technologies and solutions,” added Ivo Rook, senior vice president of IoT for Sprint.
DFA senior vice president of finance Kevin Strathman said DFA has “found tremendous value in this program and leveraging innovation that’s happening with start-up companies in the ag tech space. For year two, we’re focused not only on building partnerships that can help solve problems and benefit our members on their farms, but it’s exciting to add dairy food start-ups into the mix. We’re looking forward to working with these companies to help grow their businesses and ultimately drive consumer demand for dairy.”
The Corporate Accelerator is a 90-day, immersive program. Start-ups in each vertical — IoT, ag tech and dairy food products — will work directly with leaders from Sprint, DFA and CoBank as well as other industry experts and mentors.
In the ag tech segment, the following start-ups will be participating:
* Pharm Robotics from San Jacinto, Cal., which is developing robotic systems to automate administration of animal health products in dairy cows;
* Ripe Technologies from San Francisco, Cal., which is transforming the food supply chain using blockchain technology to enable data transparency, and
* SomaDetect from Fredericton, N.B., a precision-dairy company that is creating an in-line system for measuring every compound of interest in raw milk, including fat, protein, somatic cells, progesterone and trace antibiotics.
Dairy food product participants include:
* Cheddies from San Antonio, Texas, which aims to provide all consumers with a cheese cracker that has added nutritional benefits that include 10 g of protein, 12 g of carbohydrates, no artificial flavors or colors and 0 g of sugar;
* MoPro Nutrition from Birmingham, Mich., which is the first Greek yogurt infused with CFM whey protein isolate that contains 24 g of protein per serving and is low in sugar, and
* Too Cool Chix from New York, N.Y., which creates all-natural ice cream sandwiches free of artificial ingredients and stabilizing gums.
Sprint has a strong history of working with start-ups around the globe, helping young companies navigate the corporate world and build momentum behind their new businesses. In 2014, Sprint opened the award-winning Sprint Accelerator in Kansas City — home of the Corporate Accelerator. The accelerator space is used to deliver year-round programming, including mentor engagement, science, technology, engineering and math programs, entrepreneurial community collaboration and community co-working space.