Cargill Celebrates Startup Innovation in The Twin Cities

HOPKINS, Minn.– Cargill is celebrating the Twin Cities as an innovation hub, with a focus on investing in the startup community during Twin Cities Startup Week. The company is a title sponsor of the week, which elevates the region’s leadership in the tech space. A hallmark of Cargill’s activities include the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator demo day on October 15. At the event, the class of 10 startups will deliver their pitches, showcasing innovations to address some of the greatest challenges facing the food and ag sector.

“These startups have the potential to make our food system safer and more sustainable, while also helping farmers prosper,” said Keith Narr, vice president, Cargill Digital Labs, Cargill. “For Cargill, the program helps us expand space for innovation across our businesses. We’re learning a lot through Farm to Fork – including innovative ways to disrupt the global supply chain that moves everything from raw agricultural products to the food on our plates.”

Founders in the 2019 Farm to Fork class represent startups from Australia, Canada, India, Israel and the United States. Cargill has partnered with Ecolab and Techstars on the program, and the company provides mentors and support for to help the founders bring their innovations to market.

At the October 15 Farm to Fork Demo Day event, each startup will pitch their innovations on stage to an audience of investors and Twin Cities business leaders and entrepreneurs. Following the pitches, attendees will engage in a startup showcase and reception to meet the founders.

Startups in the Techstars Farm to Fork program are showing industry leaders like Cargill cutting-edge ways to apply the latest technologies in ways that advance food and agriculture worldwide.

“We know that technology gives every player a true competitive advantage in the global economy, but it cannot be activated for the sake of technology alone—it must be technology with a purpose,” said Justin Kershaw, chief information officer, Cargill. “These startups help us to see the different ways technologies – whether blockchain, IoT, machine learning and AI, or something that’s on the horizon – can solve a very real problem in the food system, help a farmer prosper, or improve sustainability. They challenge us to think differently about how we will evolve Cargill, how we can help change entire industries and how we can collaborate with others worldwide.”

Cargill is investing in innovation in all its forms, whether through technology, digitalization or research & development. The company believes these investments will allow it to pursue market-changing business models that will benefit not only its global businesses, but also its customers, consumers, communities and the planet.

“Disruptions are good for Cargill,” Kershaw said. “They force us to think differently about what we already know how to do, how we will change our organization, how we can help change entire industries and how we can collaborate with others – partners, customers, and even competitors.”

In addition to the Farm to Fork accelerator, Cargill is a title sponsor of the 2019 TCSW as well as  the final award ceremony for the 2019 MN Cup competition on October 14 at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.