DFA and Sprint unveil 2018 Accelerator cohort focused on ag tech and dairy food innovation

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

As a sponsor of the Accelerator, DFA will provide mentorship, connections, and resources to accelerate the growth of the ag tech and dairy food product startups. ©GettyImages/Olivier Le Moal
As a sponsor of the Accelerator, DFA will provide mentorship, connections, and resources to accelerate the growth of the ag tech and dairy food product startups. ©GettyImages/Olivier Le Moal
The Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Sprint have selected its second of class of six startups – either in the ag tech industry or dairy food space – for its 90-day 2018 Accelerator program.

The roughly three-month program run through June and startups will work directly with leaders from DFA, Sprint, and CoBank as well as other industry experts and mentors. The Accelerator participants will have access to “state-of-the-art” workplace facilities at Sprint Accelerator in Kansas City’s Crossroads Art District.  

“For DFA, one of our key goals with this program is to spur new ideas and innovation for not only us as a cooperative, but also the industry,”​ DFA senior vice president of finance Kevin Strathman told DairyReporter.

“By partnering with dairy food startups that are looking to innovate in the dairy space, we can ultimately help drive consumer demand for dairy. What’s more, there’s a lot of opportunity to learn more about customer and consumer trends in dairy from these entrepreneurs.”

2018 Accelerator Class

Participants from the US and Canada were chosen based on whether their innovative product or service had a demonstrated added value for DFA’s members’ operations or its supply chain, according to Strathman.

2018 AcceleratorClass

The selected dairy startups include:

Pharm Robotics from San Jacinto, Calif. ​Pharm Robotics is developing robotic systems to automate the administration of animal health products in dairy cows.

Ripe Technologies from San Francisco, Calif.​ Ripe is using blockchain technology to enable data transparency, so we know where our food is from and what has happened to it.

SomaDetect from Fredericton, NB, Canada.​ SomaDetect is 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.

Cheddies from San Antonio, Texas. ​Cheddies aims to provide consumers with cheese crackers with added nutritional benefits. These benefits include 10 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates, no artificial flavors or colors and 0 grams of sugar.

MoPro Nutrition from Birmingham, Mich.​ MoPro is the first Greek yogurt infused with CFM Whey Protein Isolate that contains 24 grams of protein per serving and is low in sugar.

Too Cool Chix from New York, N.Y. ​Too Cool Chix creates all-natural ice cream sandwiches free of artificial ingredients and stabilizing gums.

One of the companies, SomaDetect, from New Brunswick, Canada, plans to launch its milk analysis software this spring, and said DFA will play a critical role in helping the startup connect with the US dairy farming community.

“SomaDetect brings significant value not only to dairy farmers, but throughout the dairy supply chain, and as both a dairy co-operative and processing company, DFA is well-positioned to help us really understand and communicate this value to farmers, processors, consumers, and beyond,” ​SomaDetect CEO Bethany Desphande told DairyReporter.

“We believe the Accelerator will help us form important industry relationships as we finish our product and receive feedback from this key industry player.” 

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