Winning a mother’s trust is a big deal, said Michael Moran, founder of MoPro, a high-protein, low-sugar Greek yogurt that was among the 2018 Sprint Accelerator cohort’s dairy-centric startups.
But what’s perhaps even better than earning Mom’s blessing? Winning financial support from a key backer.
“DFA has been so impressed with Michael and the progress that he’s made, we’re willing to make an equity investment in his company,” said Kevin Strathman, senior vice president of finance for Dairy Farmers of America. “We’ll be working with Michael to take MoPro nationwide.”
The dairy marketing cooperative will continue to sponsor the accelerator in 2019, company officials said Tuesday.
Another member of the cohort, Cheddies — a San Antonio-baked, healthy, cheddar cheese snack cracker company — also announced a promising outcome of the program: a deal to put their products in a majority of Des Moines-based Hy-Vee’s stores by August.
“Choosing the right snack is always a tug of war between indulgent and healthy — until now,” said Francisco Pergola, co-founder and CEO of Cheddies. “We’ve created a better snack that doesn’t compromise on taste.”
The Hy-Vee deal will help the company achieve its dream of providing consumers a guilt-free option, he said.
Joining in the celebratory revelations Tuesday, cohort member Keybot announced it was opening the door to a channel partnership with the accelerator’s namesake sponsor Sprint.
The innovation behind the St. Louis company — which helps landlords automate rental properties with proprietary keypad locks that gives or removes access to renters — aligns with Sprint’s retail strategy, said Keybot’s T.J. Tavares.
Other participants in the 2018 accelerator program included startups specializing in products ranging from ice cream and blockchain to artificial intelligence and livestock vaccinations.
Check out a list of the cohort’s members below the photo gallery.
- Cheddies (Francisco and Tomas Pergola, San Antonio, Texas) — a savory, crunchy and nutritious cheese cracker with 10 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs, no artificial flavors or colors and 0 grams of sugar.
- Keybot (T.J. Tavares, St. Louis) — helps landlords automate rental properties with proprietary keypad locks that gives or removes access to renters.
- MoPro Nutrition (Michael Moran, Birmingham, Michigan) — provides a protein-packed Greek yogurt, which is completely gluten and nut free.
- Pharm Robotics (Marinus Dijkstra and Alika Chuck, San Francisco) — helps administer vaccines and medicines to dairy cattle.
- Ripe.io (Raja Ramachandran, San Francisco) — taps blockchain technology to create transparency throughout the food chain.
- Sofihub (Rob Howdeshell, Melbourne, Australia) — uses artificial intelligence to give worried family members peace of mind about their aging loved ones; offering reminders, helpful information and contact for family members if it detects unusual behavior.
- SomaDetect (Bethany Deshpande, Fredericton, Canada) — focuses on revolutionizing dairy production by providing dairy farmers with useful data on their cattle.
- Too Cool Chix (Sharon Monahan, New York City) — all-natural, organic ice cream sandwiches with such names as “I Dream in Chocolate” and “The Beauty Bar.”