to Fork’ – almost everyone has an immediate reaction or assumption when they hear this phrase. We are excited to partner with Cargill and Ecolab and I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what we are thinking about for the first Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator.

Broadly speaking, the digital side of the food value chain is of most interest to us. This could be companies building smart devices, working with big data, or creating a new software solution. Challenges to food are not limited by geography nor rural or urban settings.

The is incredibly broad and there is no way we could put together an exhaustive list of opportunities that may catch our eye, but here are a few specific areas of interest to get us started:

Farm Productivity

Two easy questions to ask when defining this bucket: Does it make a farmer’s life better, more sustainable or more productive? How can we help farmers do more with less? From weather and climate to animal health and productivity to computer vision, this bucket alone is big. Here are a few more areas of interest:

  • Automation
  • Smart Usage
  • Ag Finance
  • Payment Systems
  • VR/AR
  • Yield Management/Prediction
  • Risk Management
  • Animal Health / Animal Productivity
  • Weather/Climate Systems
  • Drones
  • Storage
  • Robotics
  • Credit
  • Computer Vision

Food & Safety

A very popular topic in 2017, food & safety will continue to be a hot topic into the foreseeable future. When we think about food safety, we think about it across the entire value chain. This includes the safety of employees working in the space, the safety of the end consumer – anyone that eats, pest control and animal health and safety. Big data, machine vision, blockchain, and new software systems are all tools entrepreneurs are using to tackle these problems and we are excited to see what’s out there. For us food safety goes beyond just “safe food.”

Food Retail & Restaurants

How and where consumers find and eat their food is changing. Is technology going to have the same effect on brick and mortar grocers or restaurants that it has had on traditional retailers? We have already seen several trends begin to take off that are driven by technology including food with a story, farm to consumer, food ecommerce, and food delivery all of which are interesting. Beyond these how entrepreneurs tackle prepackaged foods, restaurant management and health and nutrition could all be interesting. I am excited to see how entrepreneurs are innovating in this space.

Food Manufacturing & Supply Chain

Another really large bucket, it’s everything between the farm and the fork! I have always loved companies tackling problems in areas that may be a bit less “sexy.” From machinery to the financial tools that make the supply chain run, there is a ton of potential here. Here are a few themes in this space that are interesting:

  • Traceability
  • Sustainable Supply Chain
  • Transparency
  • Blockchain
  • Cold Chain
  • Last Mile
  • /Robotics
  • Quality Contro
  • Energy Consumption
  • Computer Vision
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Futures and Automated Trading
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Smart Devices/IoT

Waste Management

Roughly one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. This is almost one trillion dollars worth of food each year which equates to about one billion tonnes of food. One Billion! About 2/3rd of this waste comes from industrialized countries and the other 1/3rd occurs in developing countries. The problem doesn’t stop with food; water waste is also a major issue. Tackling these problems will be a major path to feeding and providing sustainable, safe water for the world’s growing population.

 

Are you working on a solution for the areas mentioned above? Applications are open, apply today!

Feel free to send me an email to connect – brett.brohl@techstars.com. We will also be on the road over the next few months. Look out for us in NYC, Miami, San Francisco, Memphis, Kansas City, Omaha, Austin, Boston, and maybe a few others! Stay tuned to Techstars social media for updates.


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Brett Brohl Brett Brohl

Brett is the Managing Director of Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator. Previously, Brett was an EIR at Techstars Retail Accelerator, in with Target. Serial Entrepreneur, Avid Lobster Diver, Dad and Husband. Follow on twitter @brettbrohl or at brettbrohl.com





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