Tyson Ventures picks 6 startups at inaugural Demo Day

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,672 views 

The Tyson Ventures executive panel evaluated participants in its first Demo Day event for sustainability entrepreneurs and startups.

Bentonville-based logistics startup FR8relay was selected as one of the six companies to receive mentorship and other partnership opportunities with Springdale-based meat giant Tyson Foods Inc.

According to a recent news release, Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, recently hosted its first Demo Day event for sustainability entrepreneurs and startups to pitch innovative solutions for a more sustainable food system.

“This effort is surfacing the best and brightest innovations to tackle complex industry challenges,” said John Tyson, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. “We’re excited about the promise each startup brings to create a comprehensive approach to sustainable food production.”

The event included 20 startups showcasing solutions, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing food waste, animal welfare, regenerative agriculture, packaging, soil health and water management.

FR8relay looks to change long-haul trucking from a point-to-point model to a relay model. That is expected to improve the driver’s lifestyle, increase efficiency, and reduce emissions.

Deme Yuan, chief operating officer, and CEO Aayush Thakur are the co-founders of FR8relay and married. They established the company in May 2018 in Memphis, Tenn., and relocated to Bentonville in early 2020.

Following are the other selected startups:

  • AgThera of St. Paul, Minn.
  • Bioionix Inc. of McFarland, Wis.
  • Grain4Grain of San Antonio, Texas
  • Tangible Robotics Inc. of New York
  • Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley, Mass.

According to the release, Demo Day was created to identify and ultimately invest in breakthrough, sustainable technologies to help Tyson Foods reach its sustainability goals. A team of Tyson Foods’ senior leadership and Ventures Innovation Partners narrowed more than 120 applicants from 23 countries to 20 participants for the event.

Whether another Demo Day will take place has yet to be determined, as the team is evaluating opportunities for year two.