Thinking of joining a food accelerator? While they’re not for everyone, these programs offer a growing number of startups access to things like mentors and potential investors, as well as assistance in taking a business to its next phase of growth. Yes, there’s some money involved in many cases, though experts will tell you that shouldn’t be the prime motivator for joining an accelerator or incubator.
Applications for many of these programs will open in early 2020. In the meantime, here are a few early opportunities for startups both in the U.S. and overseas.
New York City & Remote
Taking applications for Spring 2020 is the Chobani Incubator, one of the most well-known programs to be run by a major CPG company. According to the program FAQs, Chobani looks for early-stage food and beverage companies who are already producing and selling their products “with some early traction” to join the four-month-long program, which will kick off in March of 2020.
Chosen companies — usually six or seven — spend roughly one week per month onsite at the Incubator HQ in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood and visiting Chobani manufacturing sites. Other program work can be done remotely, though participants should expect to travel during their time in the program. Chosen startups also each receive a $25,000 equity-free grant, a stipend for travel expenses, mentorship opportunities, and access to potential investors.
Applications close December 1, 2019.
Food-X Food Innovation Accelerator
New York City
It feels like Food-X just started working with Cohort 10, but already the NYC-based accelerator is looking for startups to join Cohort 11, which will kick off in March of 2020 and run until June.
Food-X works with companies up and down the food innovation stack, with sustainability, health, supply chain efficiency, and food traceability being just a few areas of focus. Chosen participants relocate to NYC to work out of the Food-X offices in Manhattan. In exchange for 8 percent equity, companies also receive $70,000 in cash, mentorship, access to the larger Food-X community, and potential investment opportunity. Food-X normally takes about eight companies per cohort — from an applicant pool that’s in the hundreds at this point.
The final application deadline is January 12, 2020.
Den Haag, Netherlands
Netherlands-based program FoodStars looks for agtech startups to join its community on an ongoing basis. Companies can be developing new technologies, production methods, and business models that improve food production and prioritize things like health and sustainability. Some areas of focus include food waste, horticulture, and control farming.
Those chosen to join the community/program get a minimum 12 months of mentorship, training programs, access to FoodStars events, a startup visa (for international companies), and office space in The Hague. In exchange, FoodStars takes 2 percent equity.
Applications are taken on a rolling basis.