Cargill backs second Farm to Fork accelerator

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

"Solving the greatest food and sustainability challenges the world faces today requires partnership and fresh, innovative ideas." Pic: Getty/VTT Studio
"Solving the greatest food and sustainability challenges the world faces today requires partnership and fresh, innovative ideas." Pic: Getty/VTT Studio

Related tags: Cargill, accelerator, incubator, startups, Agriculture

A second class of 11 startups kicked off the Techstars Farm to Fork accelerator this week, supported by mentors from Cargill and Ecolab.

The agriculture startups were chosen based on their innovations to create “a safer and more sustainable food system,”​ including food security and safety, ag tech, consumer goods and supply chain management.

The program closed its applications on April 7, and then kicked off on July 15. It will run out of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, until Demo Day on October 15 during Twin Cities Startup Week. The companies will work with 12 mentors and have access to their global industry connections and investment capital.

Katie Peterson, VP of marketing at Ecolab, said, "While we're here to mentor these startups, we're also learning from their approach to problem-solving and are excited to help bring their energy to the Twin Cities startup community.

"Their passion and innovation, combined with the global scale and reach of Ecolab and Cargill, can help solve the challenges of safely feeding the world's population."

Seven of the 11 participating startups are based in the US. Contain is a finance company for indoor agriculture from Reno, Nevada. It offers lease financing for indoor agriculture equipment, working in greenhouses, hoophouses and warehouses.

Conversight is an artificial intelligence system from Indianapolis, Food for All is an app operating in Boston and New York City that sells leftover food from restaurants to reduce waste. Magic AI is using machine-learning in Seattle to support video streams of animals for health and security.

Phood is an app that helps food businesses track their own food waste, based out of Boston. PurPics from Austin, Texas, connects students with brand partners for social media promotions, including food products. And Trackter from Atlanta is a supply chain management platform with access to buyers, shippers and logistics companies.

Transparent Kitchen and Otrafy are based out of Canada, EcoPlant hails from Israel and Imago AI is from India.

Justin Kershaw, CIO at Cargill, said "Solving the greatest food and sustainability challenges the world faces today requires partnership and fresh, innovative ideas. These are the two key ingredients of the Techstars Farm to Fork program."

"Having the brightest minds in food and ag tech in Cargill and Ecolab's backyards provides an amazing opportunity to infuse startup energy into our company, while also helping bring critical solutions to scale. It's truly a win-win."

Brett Brohl, Techstars Farm to Fork accelerator managing director, said, "Together we are helping entrepreneurs build their business, secure capital, expand their reach and ultimately have a positive impact on the food industry and society."

"We're excited to build on last year's success, leveraging the expertise of Cargill and Ecolab, Techstars' proven accelerator model, and the entrepreneurial energy of each of the startup companies' founders."

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