An all-natural sports drink made from dairy by-products; handheld pizza and Philly cheesesteak cones; a green fashion brand that’s creating T-shirts from excess milk; and a hand-crafted spirit made from whey — innovative tastes of an American industry known for its most classic component: milk.
Nine startups — hailing from across the nation and globe — convened virtually this week as Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America kicked off its 2020 CoLAB accelerator. A demo day is set for July 30.
Dairy Farmers of America is a national, farmer-owned dairy cooperative focusing on quality, innovation and the future of family dairies.
“We’re excited about the companies for this year’s class. Not only is this the biggest group that we’ve ever had, but a lot of these companies are developing cutting-edge products and solutions,” said Doug Dresslaer, director of innovation at DFA. “Plus, on both the agtech and food sides of the program, we have companies doing really cool things with sustainability and dairy by-products, which is a strategic focus for our cooperative and the industry.”
The DFA CoLAB Accelerator is a 90-day immersive program, with a combination of on-site meetings and virtual programs to provide training, growth opportunities and mentorship.
Click here to learn more about the CoLAB family of DFA programming, which includes the accelerator, CoLAB Connections and CoLAB Conversations.
Most startups typically spend about four weeks in Kansas City, where DFA is headquartered. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the 2020 program is beginning remotely for the first two weeks, utilizing digital training tools and resources in June. On-site, group learning is a goal for July, depending on the success of reopening efforts amid COVID-19.
The DFA corporate accelerator runs concurrently with the T-Mobile Accelerator, formerly the Sprint Accelerator, which focuses on startups utilizing 5G technology. Click here to read more about the just-announced T-Mobile cohort.
The 2020 CoLAB accelerator class, split between agtech and dairy food verticals includes:
- ArmentaTM, (Ra’anana, Israel) — a non-invasive technology for antibiotic-free treatment of bovine mastitis.
- Capro-X, (Ithaca, New York) — a sustainable solution for whey waste from Greek yogurt production.
- Livestock Water Recycling, (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) — a manure treatment technology, which recycles 75 percent of manure into clean water while segregating manure nutrients for precision fertilizer application.
- Mi Terro, (Los Angeles) — a sustainable fashion brand that uses excess milk to make men’s and women’s T-shirts.
Dairy Food Products
- Chank’s Grab-N-Go, (Millville, New Jersey) — a handheld snack company featuring pizza cones, philly cheesesteak cones and more.
- GoodSport (Chicago) — a sports drink made from milk which uses only natural ingredients and has naturally occurring electrolytes and vitamins.
- SuperFrau (Cambridge, Massachusetts) — electrolyte drinks made from upcycling surplus whey, with real ingredients and no added sugars.
- Wheyward Spirit (Eugene, Oregon) — premium spirit made from whey.
- Yaar Nordic Quark Bar (London) — Nordic chilled dairy snacks made with fresh quark, a mixture of cow’s milk and natural lactic acid.
Throughout the program, startups have numerous opportunities to meet with a variety of DFA executives and other relevant investors and industry leaders. Participants also receive guidance and advice on business development, product development, marketing and other key aspects of startup growth.
The DFA accelerator has worked with 25 companies to date, and continues those relationships, in some capacity, with the majority of startups after the 90-day program. Ninety-four percent of the alumni companies are still in business today.
Click here to learn more about DFA.