Plug and Play Kicks Off New Office in Fargo, North Dakota Focused on Agtech

SUNNYVALE, Calif., March 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Plug and Play has announced its newest location in Fargo, North Dakota with a focus in agriculture technology. This office will launch with four Founding Partners: Bremer Bank, CHS, Microsoft Corp., and The OCP Group. Full operations are scheduled to kick off in late May.

“Being on the ground in North Dakota alongside our partners will help attract emerging agtech startups to the region that will benefit not only our growing network, but the farming community as a whole,” said Michael Olmstead, CRO of Plug and Play.

“With the support of our Founding Partners, we are excited to build this ecosystem and find the next unicorn in this space,” added Saeed Amidi, Founder and CEO of Plug and Play.

“We’re grateful to Plug and Play and its corporate partners for their investment in North Dakota’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. As a national leader in agriculture and farm technology, North Dakota is an ideal place for startups from around the globe to test their technology, grow their companies and advance agriculture for our nation and world,” commented Doug Burgum, Governor of North Dakota.

Plug and Play has offices in over 25 cities worldwide and works with hundreds of startups per year. Under their existing Food & Beverage program, Plug and Play North Dakota will run two, three-month programs a year. Startups accepted into the programs will have the opportunity to not only work with the corporate partners, but also test their technology at the Grand Farm Test Site. Grand Farm is Emerging Prairie’s largest agtech initiative and is already a globally-recognized project located just south of Fargo.

Emerging Prairie aims to grow the potential in agriculture and technology industries and supports the entrepreneurial ecosystem alongside Plug and Play. As part of that support, Grand Farm, with the help of Plug and Play and its partner network, will bring together businesses and startups to create the farm of the future. Microsoft is supporting Plug and Play through its support of the Grand Farm project.

“Plug and Play’s expansion to Fargo, alongside Emerging Prairie’s Grand Farm initiative, drives us one step closer to forming a world-class agtech ecosystem to spark the next generation of innovation in our state. Microsoft TechSpark‘s mission to drive economic development and job creation will undoubtedly be enhanced by the dynamic partnerships cultivated with Plug and Play’s presence in North Dakota,” said Taya Spelhaug, TechSpark Manager at Microsoft.

“We’re so excited to have Plug and Play right here in Fargo. The expertise, energy and excitement they bring will have a multiplier effect on the entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the entire region,” shared Grand Farm Director, Brian Carroll.

“All of the hard work to make this happen will bring a positive force in our community. The collaboration of Plug and Play and its partners—CHS, Microsoft, The OCP Group, and Bremer Bank—will create success stories that will be shared around the world—all broadcast from right here. On behalf of our community, we welcome our new partners with open arms and look forward to great things.”

“Serving agriculture customers and investing in farming communities has been a part of Bremer’s DNA for over 75 years,” said Jeanne Crain, President and CEO of Bremer Bank. “We are thrilled to welcome Plug and Play to this effort as we work together to find new technologies and strategies that help our local farmers achieve and grow.”

“As the nation’s leading agricultural cooperative, CHS creates connections to empower agriculture for our local cooperatives and individual owners. Leveraging innovation, technology, and thought leadership helps our farmers and cooperatives grow their businesses,” said Nick Colbert, Director of Corporate Development at CHS, the nation’s leading agricultural cooperative. “We’ve been in farming and committed to farming for 90 years, and we’re committed to being here for the next 90 years. We know farming will look different than it does today, and this partnership helps our owners ensure they are positioned for the future.”

“As part of our engagement with the global agtech innovation ecosystem, the OCP Group is proud to become a founding partner of Plug and Play’s newest accelerator in Fargo, North Dakota. This partnership highlights our commitment to spur innovation that will help OCP, and the broader agricultural value chain, sustainably feed a growing world population,” said Kerry McNamara, CEO of OCP North America.

Startups and corporations interested in this new location can apply here: https://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/join/

About Plug and Play
Plug and Play is a global innovation platform. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, we have built accelerator programs, corporate innovation services and an in-house VC to make technological advancement progress faster than ever before. Since inception in 2006, our programs have expanded worldwide to include a presence in over 25 locations globally giving startups the necessary resources to succeed in Silicon Valley and beyond. With over 10,000 startups and 300 official corporate partners, we have created the ultimate startup ecosystem in many industries. Companies in our community have raised over $7 billion in funding, with successful portfolio exits including Danger, Dropbox, Lending Club and PayPal. For more information, visit https://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/

About Emerging Prairie
Emerging Prairie is an organization that focuses on connecting and celebrating the entrepreneurial ecosystem through innovative initiatives, programming and events that move the needle and ignite economic growth for our region. With our principles, mission and vision as a guiding force, we strive to support the founders, creators and community builders. Founded in 2013, Emerging Prairie continues to take risks to support those across the region to be curious and relentless in their pursuits.

About CHS Inc.
CHS Inc. (www.chsinc.com) is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, agronomy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to creating connections to empower agriculture, helping its farmer-owners, customers and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS supplies energy, crop nutrients, seed, crop protection products, grain marketing services, production and agricultural services, animal nutrition products, foods and food ingredients, and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries and pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.

About OCP Group
The OCP Group (https://www.ocpgroup.ma/en) is a major global plant nutrition company headquartered in Morocco. The company is integrated across the entire phosphate value chain, extracting, marketing and selling phosphate and its derivatives, phosphoric acid and customized fertilizers to customers on five continents. In Morocco, the OCP Group is the largest corporate employer, with more than 21,000 employees and an annual turnover of $6Bn in 2018. While its origins are in the plant nutrition sector, the OCP Group has been diversifying into a range of complementary sectors with a focus on sustainable farmer solutions, education and data analytics. OCP is championing innovation throughout the world including advanced R&D on the African continent through its incubation of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (https://www.um6p.ma/en/about), a world-class African research and teaching institution that has partnered with premier universities around the globe.

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