An all-natural sports drink made from dairy byproducts, handheld pizza and Philly cheesesteak cones, a green fashion brand that’s creating T-shirts from excess milk and a hand-crafted spirit made from whey are just a few of the startup companies that are convening virtually this week as Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) launches its 2020 DFA Accelerator class.
“We’re excited about the companies for this year’s class. Not only is this the biggest group that we’ve ever had, but a lot of these companies are developing cutting-edge products and solutions,” Doug Dresslaer, director of innovation at DFA, said. “Plus, on both the ag tech and food sides of the program, we have companies doing really cool things with sustainability and dairy byproducts, which is a strategic focus for our cooperative and the industry.”
The DFA Accelerator is a 90-day immersive program, with a combination of on-site meetings and virtual programs to provide training, growth opportunities and mentorship. Most startups typically spend about four weeks in Kansas City, Kan., where DFA is headquartered. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program will kick off remotely for the first two weeks and will also utilize digital training tools and resources in June, with the hope of having some on-site group learning in July.
Throughout the program, startups have numerous opportunities to meet with a variety of DFA executives and other relevant investors and industry leaders. Participants also receive guidance and advice on business development, product development, marketing and other key aspects of startup growth.
The nine startups chosen for the 2020 DFA Accelerator class are:
- Armenta (Ra’anana, Israel), a non-invasive technology for antibiotic-free treatment of bovine mastitis.
- Capro-X (Ithaca, N.Y.), a sustainable solution for whey waste from Greek yogurt production.
- Livestock Water Recycling (Calgary, Alb.), a manure treatment technology, which recycles 75% of manure into clean water while segregating manure nutrients for precision fertilizer application.
- Mi Terro (Los Angeles, Cal.), a sustainable fashion brand that uses excess milk to make men’s and women’s T-shirts.
Dairy food products
- Chank’s Grab-N-Go (Millville, N.J.), a handheld snack company featuring pizza cones, Philly cheesesteak cones and more.
- GoodSport (Chicago, Ill.), a sports drink made from milk that uses only natural ingredients and has naturally occurring electrolytes and vitamins.
- SuperFrau (Cambridge, Mass.), electrolyte drinks made from upcycling surplus whey, with real ingredients and no added sugars.
- Wheyward Spirit (Eugene, Ore.), a premium spirit made from whey.
- Yaar Nordic Quark Bar (London, U.K.), Nordic chilled dairy snacks made with fresh quark, a mixture of cow’s milk and natural lactic acid.
Since its inception, the DFA Accelerator has worked with 25 companies and has continued to work with the majority of these companies in some capacity after the 90-day program. To date, 94% of the alumni companies are still in business today.