WeWork launching its own foodtech accelerator was the big news this week, but as ambitious and exciting as those plans are, they’re not alone. An ever-growing number of programs take place around the world nowadays, all geared towards helping startups in the food industry scale up and get their products and services out and ready to change the food system for better.
We could probably publish a book-length report on the number of cool accelerators out there now, but since it’s Friday, here’s a quick look at some of our favorites still taking applications.
One of the largest foodtech accelerators in the country, Food-X picks a few companies for each cohort from a sizable pool of applicants. (Around 500 companies applied for the last cohort.) The program helps companies scale, determine product-market fit, and prepare for funding during the course of the curriculum, and each week, participants meet with mentors at Food-X’s NYC location. The program ends with a Demo Day, where companies pitch to potential investors.
The Food-X website simply states that the program wants early-stage businesses in agtech, CPG, supply-chain logistics, hardware, and SaaS for Cohort 10, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation in terms of company types. Cohort 8 companies covered everything from machine learning to upcycled sunflower seeds.
Those chosen startups get up to $65,000 in cash as well as access to mentors and the sizable Food-X alumni network. Companies should plan on relocating to New York City for the three-month program, where they will work out of Food-X’s coworking space.
Kentucky, North Carolina
There’s only a little time left to apply for this one, but if “nature-based accelerator,” as the program calls itself, seems relevant to your business, Accelerating Appalachia’s Soil and Soul 2019 accelerator is worth checking out. The eight-week program invites businesses working in natural foods, non-timber forest products (mushrooms, nut trees, fruit), soil and water innovations, and practices around good land use (e.g., regenerative agriculture).
While anyone from around the world can apply, the program is especially interested in companies based in the Southeastern U.S. Selected participants attend training days in both North Carolina and Kentucky, and end the eight weeks with a pitch day in front of peers, mentors, and potential investors.
Techstars Farm to Fork
If you pay even a small amount of attention to young companies, you’ve no doubt heard of Techstars, a seed accelerator that’s by now a global fixture in the startup scene. Last year, Techstars held its very first Farm to Fork accelerator, which focused specifically on the tech side of agriculture, and the program is back for another cohort.
Farm to Fork looks for companies in agtech, manufacturing, supply chain, food safety and traceability, and waste reduction. Farm to Fork alumni include Spoonshot (formerly Dishq), which uses AI for flavor recommendations; and Renewal Mill, which just raised $2.5 million for its food-upcycling business.
The 90-day program takes place from mid-July to mid-October of 2019. Upon acceptance, startups get a $100,000 convertible note, as well as a $20,000 stipend from Techstars. Companies also get office space (you’re required to relocate to St. Paul-Minneapolis for the program), mentorship and networking opportunities, and the chance to pitch to investors during a demo day.