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KC’s Sprint Accelerator builds community, announces new class

Kansas City’s Sprint Accelerator opened in 2013 and kicked off their first class of their Corporate Accelerator program the following year. This week, Sprint and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) announced the nine participants of the fifth annual class.

In the past, classes have focused on specific verticals like mobile health, this year’s class is covering three verticals: IoT, AgTech and food/dairy.

“We have a diverse and exciting group of companies joining our program this year,” said Doug Dresslaer, Managing Director of the Sprint Accelerator. “For Sprint, we’ve recruited companies that align with our IoT team’s core business strategies and for DFA, we’ve not only brought in cutting-edge agricultural technology companies, but we also have three dairy food product companies in this year’s cohort.

The Corporate Accelerator is a 90-day, immersive program. Startups in each vertical — IoT, Ag Tech and Dairy Food Products— will work directly with leaders from Sprint, DFA and CoBank as well as other industry experts and mentors.

“We are proud to support this year’s class of cutting-edge startups. Sprint has an ambitious vision for IoT and we look forward to working alongside these companies to continue the evolution of IoT technologies and solutions,” said Ivo Rook, senior vice president of IoT for Sprint.

The class launched on Monday and continues through June. In addition to the accelerator class, the center also has permanent coworking for their partners and program graduates, a six-month mentor network for early-stage entrepreneurs.

“With the mentor network, we’ve had 27 difference corporations involved,” said Ari DeGrotte, Community and Programs Manager for Sprint Accelerator. “We pair them directly with corporate executives around the Kansas City area. That helps to break down some of the cultural barriers for those conversations, and the mentors get a ton out of it as well.”

Creating meaningful collisions between Kansas City’s corporate and entrepreneurial communities is a main focus of Sprint Accelerator.

“In the startup world you hear about serendipitous collisions but we wanted to make it very intentional,” said DeGrotte. “We like to be the bridge between corporate innovation and entrepreneurial engagement.”

Sprint Accelerator also hosts a variety of entrepreneurial community events for schools, MeetUp groups, and the STEM Alliance.

“If it’s something that’s aligned with our goal in entrepreneurship or technology, more often than not we accommodate them and offer the space in-kind,” said DeGrotte. “We’re giving back to the community that way.”

The 2018 Class of the Corporate Accelerator

IoT Vertical Participants

  • Keybot from St. Louis, Mo. Keybot helps automate rental access with proprietary keypad lock and app through self-showings and renter and maintenance access.
  • Luxe Concierge from Kansas City, Mo.  The Luxe mobile app allows apartment residents to book and manage services like housekeeping, dog walking and dry cleaning pick up.
  • Sofihub from Melbourne, Australia. Sofihub is a digital assisted living solution using Artificial Intelligence and sensor technology to support seniors to live independently.

AgTech Vertical Participants

  • Pharm Robotics from San Jacinto, Calif. Pharm Robotics is developing robotic systems to automate administration of animal health products in dairy cows.
  • Ripe Technologies from San Francisco, Calif. Ripe is transforming the food supply chain using blockchain technology to enable data transparency, so we know where our food is from and what has happened to it.
  • SomaDetect from Fredericton, Canada. SomaDetect is a precision-dairy company that is creating an in-line system for measuring every compound of interest in raw milk, including fat, protein, somatic cells, progesterone and trace antibiotics.

Dairy Food Product Vertical Participants

  • Cheddies from San Antonio, Texas.  Cheddies aims to provide all consumers with a cheese cracker that has added nutritional benefits. These benefits include 10g of protein, 12g of carbohydrates, no artificial flavors or colors and 0g of sugar.
  • MoPro Nutrition from Birmingham, Mich.  MoPro is the first Greek yogurt infused with CFM Whey Protein Isolate that contains 24 grams of protein per serving and is low in sugar.
  • Too Cool Chix from New York, N.Y.  Too Cool Chix creates delicious, all-natural ice cream sandwiches free of artificial ingredients and stabilizing gums.

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Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News

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