Incubators and accelerators can be useful to entrepreneurs who are looking to move their start-ups forward. In addition to mentorship and training, many food startup accelerators will offer funding. (Note that this funding is often in exchange for a portion of equity). They also tend to offer co-working space, community, connections to distributors, and introductions to angels and venture capitalists looking to fund businesses like yours.
Note: Originally published on April 23, 2015. The current publication date reflects the last time the list was updated. Thanks to all who write in with additions to the list!
The List: Food Startup Accelerators & Incubators
Without further ado, here are some of the incubators and accelerators that have popped up across the globe for you. These programs are focused on food, beverage, consumer goods and/or agriculture businesses. Check ’em out.
|33 Entrepreneurs||France||Has a Food & Beverage cohort|
|Accelerating Appalachia||Louisville||KY||Food and ag, looks for “innovative triple bottom-line businesses”|
|Accelerise||France||Foodtech and agtech acceleration program|
|AccelFoods||New York||NY||Looking for innovative food products in markets of at least $100M|
|Agro Innovation Lab||Vienna||Austria||Agro Innovation Lab is the innovation platform of BayWa & RWA, two major players in the global agricultural industry|
|Bits x Bites||China||“Our mission is to shape the future of good food by investing in people and technology to create more sustainable food systems.”|
|Branchfood||Boston||MA||Focus on food innovation in New England|
|Break Fast & Launch||San Antonio||TX||Culinary business accelerator with focus also on CPG|
|Canvas||global||Marriott’s concept lab for incubating entrepreneurial food and drink ideas|
|Chobani Food Incubator||global||4-month program with 25k grant|
|Cinnamon Bridge||United Kingdom||Food & beverage companies with social impact|
|Dairy Accelerator||Minneapolis||MN||“The entity must utilize dairy as a primary ingredient in its product idea. Any aspect of dairy including but not limited to: yogurt, cheese, whey or other milk-based proteins or ingredients can be used. However, the applicant’s idea cannot be focused on butter or butter-based spreads.”|
|Dig Eat All||Spain||FoodTech|
|Food Ecosystem Accelerator||Netherlands||Themes: FoodTech & Data, Food Delivery & Commerce, and Sustainability & Social Responsibility|
|Food Foundry||Chicago||IL||Focuses on seed-stage startups in middle of food value chain; offers 75k in funding|
|Food Hatch||New York||NY||Invests cash in a wide variety of early-stage food companies|
|Food System 6||San Francisco||CA||Helps startups working to change our food system|
|Food-X||New York||NY||Works with startups across the food chain; boasts 300+ startup founders in their alumni network|
|FoodFutureCo||New York||NY||Targeted at startups with 1M+ in revenues with the idea of helping food businesses scale|
|Good Food Business Accelerator||Chicago||IL||Started by the folks at FamilyFarmed|
|Good Food Makers||Global||BLU1877’s collaboration program for Barilla employees and startups, powered by KitchenTown. Teams work one-on-one with a team of Barilla leaders in an 8-week pilot project to scale solutions to business challenges.|
|Good Kitchen||London||United Kingdom||The Good Kitchen is a social enterprise accelerator for organisations working to tackle food poverty|
|H-Farm||Italy||4-month program, food and ag|
|IKEA Bootcamp||Älmhult||Sweden||Start-up food companies can spend three months in one of the company’s labs in Sweden, receive more than $22,000 and free housing, and benefit from the expertise of scientists|
|Just Eat||London||United Kingdom||Foodtech|
|Kendall College Incubator||Chicago||IL||part of a culinary school|
|LIFE||Istanbul, Mersin||food entrepreneurship incubation program — supports refugees and host communities|
|Plug and Play||Sunnyvale||CA||Food program partners with Molson Coors, Hershey’s, and PepsiCo|
|RevTech Accelerator||Dallas||TX||restaurant, retail focus|
|Rutgers Food Innovation Center||Bridgeton||NJ||focused on developing, commercializing, marketing and selling food and beverage products|
|ShakeUpFactory||Paris||France||“farm to forrk”|
|Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG)||Providence||RI||CPG, New England regional focus|
|Startup Next by Land O’Lakes||Minneapolis||MN||pre-accelerator for startups in the food and tech industry, Land O’Lakes and TechStars collaboration|
|Startupbootcamp FoodTech||global||Looks for high growth startups operating within all segments of the food chain|
|Target Takeoff!||Minneapolis||MN||Target and Techstars collaboration for better-for-you brands|
|Terra||San Francisco||CA||affiliated with FoodBytes!|
|The Kitchen||Israel||founded by the Strauss-Group|
Accelerators Adjacent to Food & CPG
The below groups aren’t focused on food or CPG, but work in adjacent spaces. They sometimes include CPG companies in their cohorts.
- Bioenterprise — Not-for-profit accelerator focused on Ag-Bio – Canada
- Indie Bio — focused on biotech, but accelerates synbio companies like Muufri – San Francisco & Cork, Ireland
- The NextFarm Accelerator — Martin, TN
- Thrive Accelerator — This is SVG Partner’s accelerator, dedicated to AgTech – Salinas Valley
- Village Capital — focused on agriculture startups – Louisville, KY
- The Yield Lab — AgTech – St. Louis, MO
Incubators vs. Accelerators
With all this talk of accelerators and incubators, you might be wondering: What’s the difference between an accelerator and an incubator? I’ve got you covered. Check out: What’s the difference between an accelerator and an incubator?
Are Accelerator Programs Worth Giving Up Equity?
Is it worth giving up equity to participate in an accelerator program? As someone who has been through an accelerator (Chicago Booth’s Polsky Accelerator Program) and has interviewed for and gotten into YCombinator, I understand the question.
As accelerator program money tends to be expensive capital, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll be getting more than just money out of the program. What benefits do you expect to also get? Connections? Prestige? Access to VC capital? Give this some thought, and also check out our post: Are startup accelerators worth the equity you give up?
Do Accelerator Programs Work?
Do accelerator programs work? These stats on accelerator success rates might be helpful. It seems that YCominbator leads the pack (but rarely admits CPG companies) in ROI. (YC helped launch Airbnb, Reddit, etc.) All of this said, the success and metrics of accelerator programs in general are opaque.
Questions and List Additions
Have questions? Want to chat? Think I missed a program worthy of being listed? Shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment below. I’m happy to help.
you might want to add Break Fast and Launch in San Antonio, TX to your list.
Hi David, thanks so much for calling this one out. I’ve added it to the list!
Hi Erin, Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (LIFE) Project is an incubator supporting refugees and cross-cultural engagement in food sector in Istanbul.
Hi alp, great addition. I’ve added it to the list. Thank you!
Hi Erin, great work and overview! METRO Group (one of the biggest European retailers) is also very active with a FoodTech Programm called Nx-Food.com. Best regards Fabio
Thanks, Fabio. We’ve added this to the list.
What about ShakeUpFactory, the startup accelerator from farm to fork in Station f, the world’s largest startup campus.
Added it! Thanks, Yohan!