Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Kansas City, Kan., said it launched its 2020 DFA Accelerator class. 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.

Startup companies participating in previous DFA Accelerator classes typically spent about four weeks in Kansas City. But this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program will kick off remotely for the first two weeks and will also use digital training tools and resources in June, with the hope of having some on-site group learning in July, DFA said.

Throughout the program, startups will have numerous opportunities to meet with a variety of DFA executives and other relevant investors and industry leaders. Participants also will receive guidance and advice on business development, product development, marketing and other key aspects of startup growth.

“We’re excited about the companies for this year’s class,” said Doug Dresslaer, director of innovation at DFA. “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. 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 nine startups in the 2020 DFA Accelerator class include:

Ag tech

  • Armenta (Ra’anana, Israel): pioneer of a non-invasive technology for antibiotic-free treatment of bovine mastitis.
  • Capro-X (Ithaca, N.Y.): creator of a sustainable solution for whey waste from Greek yogurt production.
  • Livestock Water Recycling (Calgary, Alberta): a manure treatment technology, which recycles 75% of manure into clean water while segregating manure nutrients for precision fertilizer application.
  • Mi Terro (Los Angeles): 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 that makes pizza cones, Philly cheesesteak cones and more.
  • GoodSport (Chicago): makes a sports drink made from upcycled liquid dairy byproducts that uses only natural ingredients and has naturally occurring electrolytes and vitamins.
  • SuperFrau (Cambridge, Mass.): makes electrolyte drinks by upcycling surplus whey, with real ingredients and no added sugars.
  • Wheyward Spirit (Eugene, Ore.): makes premium spirit from whey.
  • Yaar Nordic Quark Bar (London): makes Nordic chilled dairy snacks 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 those companies in some capacity after the 90-day program. To date, 94% of the alumni companies are still in business today, DFA said.

For additional information, visit colab.dfamilk.com/. The 2020 DFA Accelerator will culminate with a Demo Day on July 30, where the startups will showcase their ideas.