Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a Kansas City, Kan.-based cooperative owned by family farmers, and Sprint, Overland, Kan., announced the companies selected for the 2018 Accelerator program, which includes startups focused on ag tech and dairy food products. For the 2018 program, DFA said it also will be joined by CoBank, a cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America, as a supporting partner.

This year’s participants come from cities around the United States and Canada and are working to develop both hardware and software-based solutions. The selected companies include:

  • Pharm Robotics from San Jacinto, Calif. The company is developing robotic systems to automate the administration of animal health products in dairy cows.
  • Ripe Technologies from San Francisco. Ripe is transforming the food supply chain using blockchain technology to enable data transparency, so consumers know where their food is from and what has happened to it.
  • SomaDetect from Fredericton, New Brunswick. 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. The company aims to provide all consumers with a cheese cracker that has 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, which contains 24 grams of protein per serving and is low in sugar.
  • Too Cool Chix from New York, N.Y. The company creates all-natural ice cream sandwiches free of artificial ingredients and stabilizing gums.

As a sponsor for the Accelerator, DFA said it will provide mentorship, connections and resources to help accelerate the growth of the ag tech and dairy food product startups selected. Features of the 90-day program include:

  • Targeted, strategic meetings with the corporate partner teams to discuss business development, pilots and potential sponsorships.
  • Mentoring from DFA senior staff and their networks, as well as from the investor, business development and entrepreneurial communities.
  • Business building sessions around product, brand, marketing and entrepreneurship.
  • State-of-the-art workspace facilities provided at Sprint Accelerator in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District.

“We’ve found tremendous value in this program and leveraging innovation that’s happening with startup companies in the ag tech space,” said Kevin Strathman, senior vice president of finance for DFA. “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 also exciting to add dairy food startups 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 Accelerator is a 90-day immersive program that launched on March 5 and continues through June. Startups will work directly with leaders from Sprint, DFA and CoBank, as well as other industry experts and mentors, DFA and Sprint said. This year’s participants come from cities around the United States and Canada and are working to develop both hardware and software-based solutions.

Visit the Sprint Accelerator calendar for public opportunities to engage with these companies at sprintaccelerator.com.