Now in its fourth year, the Sprint Accelerator on Tuesday held a demo day showcasing the seven companies in its 2017 cohort that recently graduated its program.
The cohort represents the first graduating class for the corporate partnership-based accelerator program since it parted ways with Techstars, with which it conducted three years of programming. Thanks to partnerships with the Dairy Farmers of America and Virgin Mobile, the 2017 Sprint Accelerator program featured two tracks: Ag tech and digital innovations.
Kevin Strathman, vice president of finance at the Dairy Farmers of America, said that the firm was proud to partner with Sprint Accelerator. On Tuesday, he announced that Dairy Farmers of America have already committed to sponsoring the 2018 ag tech track of the Sprint Accelerator.
“Our goals for the program were simple,” Strathman said. “We wanted to learn from the process, partner and support thriving startups in the ag tech sector and we wanted to contribute to Kansas city’s growing entrepreneurial spirit. We’ve accomplished all of those goals and much more.”
Strathman added that DFA will add a second segment focused on dairy food products. The addition will add to the potential innovations DFA can tap from the program.
“This means that our partnership with Sprint Accelerator now covers all of DFA’s businesses,” Strathman said. “It further demonstrates our commitment to innovation from farm to table.”
Sprint Accelerator managing director Doug Dresslaer said that he was impressed by the commitment to innovation shown by DFA.
“The DFA team has been engaged since the first time we met them,” Dresslaer said. “They gave the companies of the Sprint Accelerator access to tools and other assets to make them better businesses.”
Victor Hwang, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, said that the Sprint Accelerator offered something unique for Kansas Citians. In May, the foundation awarded the Sprint Accelerator a grant as part of the 2016 KC Accelerator Challenge.
“We’re excited that the Sprint Accelerator has this opportunity to blend the corporate with the new. This is something that we found to be a particular strength,” Hwang said. “The Kansas City area has wonderfully established industries and new innovations. (With the Sprint Accelerator,) these startup companies can leverage, tap into and accelerate the larger institutional strengths within the city.”
Here’s more about the companies and a bit about their experience in the accelerator.
- AgVoice, Atlanta, Ga. — AgVoice is a mobile voice-interaction device designed for food and agriculture professionals to capture on-the-go insights. Co-founder Aaron Gobin said he loved being in Kansas City and that the program had “fantastic mentors.” He said he plans to continue to establish stronger business roots so he can spend more time in the area.
- HerdDogg, Longmont, Colo. — This firm developed “smart tags for cows,” which can identify and monitor the health of livestock. Following the program, HerdDogg will continue to partner with the Dairy Farmers of America, Sprint as well as Colorado State University.
- My Dairy Dashboard, Frisco, Texas — For the dairy industry, this solution connects professionals with the data analytics they need. The dashboard includes management, feed, coop and weather data. Via its partnership with the Dairy Farmers of America, My Dairy Dashboard recently launched an insiders program this quarter.
- TradeLanes, Miami, Fla. — A software as a service platform that enables shippers, merchants and traders to better control their supply chain. Following the program, TradeLanes CEO Vijay Harrell announced he made a hire in Kansas City to add to its sales team.
- Centiment, New York, N.Y. — This machine learning startup wants to bring emotion back to advertisement. The artificial intelligence software will analyze the emotion of content and will generate the likelihood of the ad’s success, based on its target market. Centiment announced it is currently engaged in a research partnership with University of Kansas School of Medicine.
- DART Technologies, New York, N.Y. — Connecting new media with mobility, DART Technologies is a software company that builds location-based solutions for transit and urban development.
- Oodles Rewards, Austin, Texas — A mobile customer loyalty platform made for small businesses, helping retailers make data-driven marketing decisions. At demo day, Oodles Rewards announced it has entered a relationship with Ford and will begin a pilot program with the automaker later this year. The firm will continue to work with Overland Park-based Sprint in the future.