The 2021 class of startup companies are changing the face of food and ag workforce development, research, retail and more.
Cargill and Ecolab announced the latest class of entrepreneurs to join the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, a three-month, mentorship- driven program that engages early-stage entrepreneurs changing the face of the global food system. The 11 startups in the 2021 Techstars program are utilizing technology to drive innovative solutions in areas such as the future of food retail, food safety, and workforce development and management.
The food value chain is one of the last major industries to completely modernize, but the latest technologies are having a major positive impact throughout the food system, says Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator Managing Director Brett Brohl. “We’ve seen tremendous industry leadership from our partners Cargill and Ecolab in using technology to drive real business value for themselves and customers, and this year’s Farm to Fork startups are poised to do the same.”
“Cargill is continuing to invest in technology, both internally and externally — putting the best minds, most innovative people and companies to the task of addressing the biggest challenges facing the food system,” said Justin Kershaw, Cargill CIO. “Through our continuing work with the Techstars program, we’re able to bring established, global business resources and reach to the table while motivating fresh thinking that will help us solve urgent and complex food security and sustainability issues.”
“Ecolab believes that innovative ideas can come from anyone and anywhere, and our involvement in the Techstars program is one way that we are helping to advance innovation to benefit the food industry and ultimately, society,” said John Guttery, senior vice president of enterprise initiatives for Ecolab. “We look forward to helping these impressive entrepreneurs advance their solutions and enable a more efficient and sustainable food system.”
Now in its fourth year, the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator engages early-stage entrepreneurs seeking to effect positive change across the food system through the improvement of food safety and quality, the use of upcycled materials, and the harnessing of research data for the betterment of the industry. The 11 teams in the 2021 class come from across the United States and the globe, and include the Farm to Fork Accelerator’s first two teams from Africa.
Participants receive mentor support from Cargill and Ecolab executives and access to the companies’ market expertise and global connections. The Techstars network of successful entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and other partners also work with the selected startups throughout the accelerator program.