GO Topeka, the economic development group for Kansas’ capital city, recently announced that Plug and Play Topeka, a global innovation platform that creates industry-specific accelerator programs, has selected 11 startups to participate in the fifth cohort of its animal health and ag-tech program. These early-to-mid-stage startups were selected following a pitch competition and hail from countries all over the world, including France, the U.K. and Israel.
Chosen by partners of the program, including Cargill, Evergy and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the startups represent a broad range of innovations in areas like supply chain, sustainability, anti-waste, new materials, and pet health and wellness. Entrepreneurs representing these startups will now participate in a three-month-long accelerator program to connect them with resources and help their businesses get off the ground.
The 11 startups selected for the program are:
• Animoscope — Offers veterinary advice to all dog and cat owners.
• Aquapak — Focuses on bringing multi-functional plastics into a circular economy.
• Curbicus — Provides a clean, compostable solution to dog waste for modern pet parents.
• FaunaLabs — FaunaLabs helps optimize animal health and welfare by delivering valuable insights to enable carers (owners, farm managers and veterinarians) with scalable fur-penetrating sensors and AI-driven predictive medicine.
• Okeanos — Okeanos can replace the majority of plastic in packaging with stone.
• Pastoral — Incentives livestock farmers to be more environmentally sustainable, providing the tools and data required to transition to low-GHG regenerative farming while generating valuable carbon credits and carbon accounting data.
• PeelON — A biodegradable packaging solution that extends the shelf-life of fresh produce by three times.
• Prevera — Provides a solution that specializes in protecting water and foods.
• Titan Bioplastics — Develops functional, sustainable materials for a wide variety of industries and applications.
• Treetop Biopak — Provides sustainable packaging solutions for industry, with a focus on compostable materials.
• Völur — Is optimizing the meat industry by reducing waste and making it more sustainable.
“We are excited to see such diverse startups that showcase how comprehensive the animal health industry is,” said Lindsay Lebahn, senior program manager for Plug and Play Topeka. “Our goal is to help these emerging companies gain valuable resources, mentorship, and partnerships, which can ultimately bring their innovative ideas to market and make a real impact in the animal health industry.”
The Plug and Play Topeka accelerator aims to bring global innovation to the Midwest by facilitating opportunities for business development, mentorship programs and proof of concepts between the selected startups and founding partners of the program. Topeka is centrally located within the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, the world’s largest concentration of animal health companies and related industries.
“Cargill is proud to support the Plug and Play Topeka Animal Health accelerator,” said Eric Flanagan, director of emerging products and solutions for Cargill’s North American Protein business. “The startups selected represent some exciting and innovative technologies that have the potential to enhance our work across the food supply chain and make an impact on the animal health corridor.”
“We’ve been impressed by the depth of the startups going through Topeka’s Plug and Play accelerator,” said Jeff Martin, vice president, customer operations for Evergy. “The latest cohort represents a range of cutting-edge innovations, and we’re eager to see how their products advance through this program.”
More than 300 animal health companies located between Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri, including four of the top 10 animal health companies in the world, generate 56% of the total animal health, diagnostics and pet food sold globally, totaling $21.5 billion in annual sales.
“We are already seeing the difference being made by innovative startups going through the Plug and Play program,” said Dave Baloga, vice president of science and technology for Hill's Pet Nutrition. “The latest batch is full of potential, and we look forward to helping advance some of the exciting ideas they bring to the table.”
“These startups are developing exciting new technologies and products that will enhance the animal health industry,” said Stephanie Moran, senior vice president of innovation for GO Topeka. “We are excited to introduce them to the resources and support available to them in Topeka and hope that they will consider our community for their growth needs as they continue to develop.”
Since the start of the program in the spring of 2021, 44 startups have graduated from the Plug and Play Topeka accelerator program. Each year, the program will develop two accelerator groups, each comprised of 10-12 animal health and ag-tech startups.https://www.gotopeka.com/
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