The 2019 Techstars Farm to Fork class is composed of an incredibly diverse set of amazing people and ideas. Founders will be joining us in Saint Paul, Minnesota from all over the world including companies from Australia, Canada, India, Israel and the United States!
Agri-food, food tech, farm to fork – as more and more people take notice of this vertical more names for it are created. Regardless of how you refer to the space, our focus for the program continues to be tech-enabled startups, software, hardware & IoT, that want to solve big problems in the food world. This year’s class truly represents technology that will impact the industry from farms all the way to the fork.
Our mentors from Cargill, Ecolab, and our broader startup community look forward to diving in to help these founders build big companies that will change the world. Personally, I am excited to work with these founders, not just for the next three months, but for the rest of their entrepreneurial careers. They are passionate, hardworking and smart.
Please join us in welcoming the Techstars Farm to Fork Class of 2019!
Transparent Kitchen (Ottawa, CA)
Transparent Kitchen is transforming the future of dining and sustainability by helping restaurants use data to create personalized experiences for their customers. Their first product turns a restaurant’s PDF menu into an interactive digital experience to optimize a customer’s experience and help the restaurant better understand how to act on predictive insights into their customer base.
Trackter (Atlanta, GA)
Trackter is a total fresh produce supply chain management solution. They allow companies to connect buyers, shippers, and logistics partners in a system that automates communications between these stakeholders in order to reduce phone calls, emails, and repetitive data entry – to ultimately enable all parties to generate higher profit margins.
Purpics (Austin, TX)
Founded on the idea “pictures with purpose,” PurPics connects brands to everyday consumers over a cause. The platform drives 10x higher engagement for brands, enabling businesses to better engage and understand the next generation of consumers. For users, PurPics empowers them to promote the brands they love to raise funds for the causes they care about.
Phood (Boston, MA)
Commercial food waste prevention through AI. Phood is helping food service establishments understand, evaluate, and control their food waste with the power of machine vision.
Otrafy (Vancouver, CA)
Otrafy is a supply-chain management platform that runs on a track and trace model with a focus on data sharing and product history. They provide digital integration between farm, manufacturing and retail supply chain for ongoing tracking of relevant production information.
Imago AI (Gurgaon, India)
ImagoAI is building a new standard of food quality. It helps companies increase their revenue by providing superior food quality and reducing food wastage in the supply chain. It’s artificial intelligence platform analyse food quality parameters in real time at production grade speed and also detect foreign object contamination.
Food For All (Boston, MA)
Food For All believes that food should be tasted, not wasted. With their app, consumers can find and enjoy meals from restaurants for at least 50% of their original cost. For restaurants, this means an extra revenue stream and a great story surrounding the prevention of food waste.
EcoPlant (Kibbutz Gevim, Israel)
EcoPlant provides Industrial IoT energy efficiency as a service. EcoPlant has developed a SaaS solution that connects to air compressors’ controllers and pipeline sensors to continuously monitor, control, and optimize the entire system. Using predictive AI algorithms, EcoPlant conducts ongoing energy surveys and dynamically controls each compressor, as well as the entire system, to significantly reduce energy waste and optimize maintenance.
ConverSight.ai (Indianapolis, IN)
ConverSight.ai is providing business insights through natural interaction and conversation. The platform creates and aggregates actionable data to help business leaders to make informed decisions without having to manually create reports or spend money on developing additional digital infrastructure.
Contain (Reno, NV)
Contain Inc is a fintech platform dedicated to indoor growers, those farming in warehouses, greenhouses and container farms. Our platform solves indoor growers’ largest issue, finding funding, through data-driven leasing and insurance products.
2018 – The Results
Our first Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator Class, in partnership with Cargill and Ecolab, completed our first program this past October.
Applications poured in from 40+ countries resulting in the selection of nine amazing companies from all over the world. More than 100 mentors participated over the course of the program and over 40 venture capital firms met with the companies during 13 weeks of Techstars Farm to Fork.
The nine companies that attended the program represented an incredible breadth of concepts: from restaurant tech to supply chain to manufacturing and digital solutions for farms. Our corporate partners Cargill & Ecolab were both highly engaged in the program, providing invaluable access to subject matter experts and industry executives. This engagement led to POC’s, investment, and ongoing talks with seven of the companies that went through the program, and two of the nine companies are staying in the St. Paul area to further build their businesses and brands within the twin cities ecosystem.
We are excited to continue to support and work with the 2018 class as they move onto the next phase of their entrepreneurial journey. Check out this documentary on the first class of Techstars Farm to Fork to learn more about their journey.
Looking to 2019
We are thrilled for year two of Techstars Farm to Fork and have already begun meeting companies that are interested in our 2019 class. Applications open January 7th!
In year two of program, we are excited to work with companies building tech enabled businesses, software, or hardware focused on solving global problems in the food world. This includes US-based businesses as well as businesses from other developed nations and emerging markets.
We have a broad scope in focus: on farm, supply chain and logistics, processing and manufacturing, water tech and restaurants, and even companies building platforms for large enterprises! Ultimately, we want to work with great entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds that are working on world-changing ideas. While not a complete list, here are four broad areas of focus for our 2019 Techstars Farm to Fork program:
Robotics and Automation
Labor shortages, safety and the state of technology have all created an environment ripe for robotics and automation across the entire food value chain. Manufacturing, cleaning, pest control, warehouse management, supply chain, restaurants and food production are all arenas where we are interested in exploring solutions.
Food is the largest industry on the planet, estimated at about 10% of the world’s GDP. There are a variety of platforms that may not be “food” specific but can be leveraged by enterprises in food, like Cargill, Ecolab, and their food industry partners. If you are building a tech platform and food companies are an interesting market, you could be a good fit. A few specific examples:
- Workforce Management
- Employee Safety
- Data Acquisition
- Computer Vision/ML
- Predictive Modeling
Food Safety, Quality Assurance, and Security
Food safety is a worldwide issue and continues to be a focus for our program. We are interested in digital solutions anywhere in the food value chain from real time pathogen and allergen detection to predictive risk assessments. We continue to be interested in the traceability of food throughout the supply chain, including real-time sensing and monitoring. The utilization of different computer vision and imaging technologies for things like QA, safety checks, and the monitoring of food could have a major impact on food safety and security. We are also interested in the management and reduction of food waste as it impacts food safety, quality, and security.
Water tech is a new area of interest for us in 2019. The food industry uses approximately 70% of the fresh water consumed on an annual basis, so this focus is a natural fit for our program. Specifically, we are interested in technologies that help ensure access to sufficient clean water for those that need it. This could include, but is not limited to, a variety of concepts, including non-invasive contamination monitoring and detection, new methods of conservation, and smart water usage.
Join us for 2019
From farms to restaurants and retailers, we want to help entrepreneurs build technology with the potential to have a significant impact on the food world. These four buckets are just a starting point, and this is not an all-inclusive list. Check out last year’s thesis, as there are more concepts there that continue to interest us. We will inevitably be blown away by unique concepts we haven’t thought of, so if you have a great team and a big vision we want to hear from you.