Gratitude powered down the sixth cohort of the Sprint and Dairy Farmers of America-backed Corporate Accelerator Thursday.
“I do have one more person that I need to acknowledge and that person is Doug Dresslear,” Tina Peterson, manager of the Sprint Accelerator, told a packed crowd at the National World War 1 museum’s J.C. Nichols Auditorium.
“Tina is emotion-less — she doesn’t cry,” Dresslaer, former managing director of the program, joked as Peterson gave a heartfelt thank you to him for his help building the accelerator, which launched in 2014.
“We’re so excited for what he’s going to do next and to continue working with Doug in his new role at [Dairy Farmers of America],” Peterson said.
Dresslaer accepted a new position as director of innovation at DFA in April, right as the 2019 Sprint Accelerator cohort began, he explained.
“I jumped off the cell tower and landed on a dairy farm,” Dresslaer joked of his career transition. “… However, I started that job less than a month before this program began … not a really smart move.”
In his absence, Peterson and Ari Degrote, community and programs manager for the accelerator, stepped in to lead the cohort — which partnered heavily with DFA and saw six of the cohort’s seven startups work to innovate the dairy and agriculture space. Dresslaer lauded the duo for their hard work continuing the popular accelerator.
Click here for an introduction to the 2019 Sprint Accelerator class, which featured such companies as Brooklyn Buttery.
“They can’t get rid of me that easily! Part of my responsibilities at DFA will be to work with these guys to keep the accelerator going forward,” Dresslaer teased. “We are all in for 2020 so I’m excited for that.”
For its part, Sprint made a commitment to launching its 5G technology over the course of the 90-day cohort — largely to the benefit of the accelerator program’s lone tech startup, Nodecraft.
Oklahoma-based Nodecraft is actively looking to hire Kansas City tech minds, announced Johnathan Yarbor, the company’s founder.
“If you want to nerd out about how we’re building the future of online infrastructure … we’d love to talk to you,” he said of the company’s hiring plans.
Plans for the Corporate Accelerator’s seventh cohort have yet to be formally announced, though officials from both Sprint and DFA indicated their companies were on board for 2020.
Click here for a play-by-play on the startups’ presentations Thursday.
Check out a photo gallery from the accelerator’s demo day below.