Startup accelerator Techstars will partner with agribusiness giant Cargill and Ecolab for a new Farm to Fork accelerator focusing on early and later-stage startups developing technology that impacts the food industry.
The Farm to Fork accelerator will kick off next year and focus on various aspects of AgTech, including manufacturing, supply chains, food safety, waste reduction and traceability. It’s Techstars’ first accelerator that focuses on the tech side of food and agriculture.
Farm to Fork is expected to continue for three years. Applications for the first class will open next month. 10 startups will be accepted into the program, which will begin summer 2018. The companies will receive investment capital and mentorship from Cargill and Ecolab executives over the course of the 13-week program.
The Farm to Fork accelerator will be based in the Twin Cities, but a site has not yet been selected, the Business Journal reports. It will not be housed in the facilities of Minnetonka-based Cargill or St. Paul-based Ecolab.
The accelerator will be headed by Brett Brohl, who previously served as entrepreneur in residence for the Target + Techstars retail accelerator, which launched in the Twin Cities two years ago. Brohl is also the founder and managing director of The Syndicate Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund that launched earlier this year.
Brohl previously led another Techstars program in the Twin Cities that focused on food and tech. In 2016, Techstars worked with Land O’ Lakes on Startup Next Food & Tech, which mentored young AgTech and food startups. Startup Next focused on providing mentorship for these early-stage companies, and was not a full-blown accelerator. The program was part-time, and Techstars did not take equity in participating businesses.