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Land O’Lakes, Techstars, Partner to Launch Accelerator Program

May 30, 2016

Agriculture and food giant, Land O’Lakes has partnered with Techstars to launch Startup Next Food & Tech, a pre-accelerator program for innovative food and agtech startups, reports Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Land O’Lakes will provide mentors, and will host the part-time program from its TractorWorks Building at its North Loop offices, while Brett Brohl, a former entrepreneur-in-residence at the Target+Techstars Retail Accelerator, will head the effort for Techstars.

The program is seeking out startups along the entire agricultural and food value chains including logistics companies dedicated to milk supply efficiencies, consumer product companies, and milk processing ventures.

Startup Next Food & Tech will differ from other accelerator programs in that equity stakes will not be taken in participating businesses, however, Brohl states, “It’s a no-brainer for a company that may not have a tone of traction yet, but is getting ready to start thinking about a seed round.”

Unlike other major food companies such as General Mills, Campbell’s, and Anheuser Busch, Land O’Lakes has not launched a venture capital arm, but has been actively participating in mentoring innovative developments in the ag and food spaces.

Earlier this spring, Land O’Lakes announced it would be participating in the Thrive Accelerator investment program led by SVG Partners on its panel of 15 senior-judges. The panel includes expertise drawn from agriculture, financial and investment, universities, and the technology sector. Land O’Lakes will be joining Dole Fresh Vegetables, Taylor Farms, Land O’Lakes, Western Growers Association, Verizon, Wells Fargo, SAP, Alvarez Technology Group, Royal Rose, Crestlight Venture Production, UC Davis, and California State University, Monterey Bay.

“As a leader in AgTech, we are excited to offer our expertise and leadership to the Thrive accelerator program and support innovative start-ups in driving the future of our industry,” said Mike Macrie, CIO of Arden Hills-based Land O’Lakes.

GAI News staff

 

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