© 2023 MJH Life Sciences™ and dvm360 | Veterinary News, Veterinarian Insights, Medicine, Pet Care. All rights reserved.
Animal health startups among emerging companies selected for accelerator program
Small businesses from 5 countries are participating in the 3-month initiative in Topeka, Kansas
Emerging animal health companies are among 11 businesses selected to participate in the fifth cohort of Plug and Play Topeka, an innovation platform that creates industry-specific accelerator programs. These early-to-mid-stage startups from around the world were selected by program partners that include Cargill, Evergy and Hill’s Pet Nutrition following a pitch competition that focused on the animal health and agriculture technology sectors, according to GO Topeka, the economic development group for Kansas’ capital city.
“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,” said Eric Flanagan, director of emerging products and solutions for Cargill’s North American Protein business. “Cargill is proud to support the Plug and Play Topeka Animal Health accelerator.”
Among the participating businesses in the accelerator program are the following startups:
- Animoscope, a Paris, France-based service that offers veterinary advice to dog and cat owners.
- FaunaLabs in Durham, North Carolina, helps optimize animal health and welfare by delivering valuable insights to enable veterinarians as well as animal owners and farm managers with scalable fur-penetrating sensors and artificial intelligence-driven predictive medicine.
- Pastoral, based in London, United Kingdom, provides incentives, tools and resources to livestock farmers to be more environmentally sustainable.
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.
More than 300 animal health companies located between Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri, including 4 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.
The chosen startups represent a broad range of innovations in pet health and wellness as well as supply chain, sustainability, anti-waste, and new material sectors of the agriculture industry. Entrepreneurs representing these startups will now participate in a 3-month-long accelerator program to connect them with resources and help their businesses get off the ground.
“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,” said Lindsay Lebahn, senior program manager for Plug and Play Topeka, in an organizational release.
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 develops 2 accelerator groups, each comprised of 10-12 animal health and agriculture technology startups. “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, in the release. “The latest batch is full of potential, and we look forward to helping advance some of the exciting ideas they bring to the table.”
Other startups selected for the program include the following:
- Aquapak, a company in Birmingham, United Kingdom, is focused on bringing multifunctional plastics into a circular economy.
- Curbicus in New York, New York, provides a clean, compostable solution to dog waste for modern pet owners.
- Okeanos in Miami Beach, Florida, which replaces the majority of plastic in packaging with stone.
- PeelON in Newark, Delaware, provides a biodegradable packaging solution that extends the shelf-life of fresh produce by 3 times.
- Prevera of Ashdod, Israel, provides a solution that specializes in protecting water and foods.
- Titan Bioplastics in Seattle, Washington, develops functional, sustainable materials for a wide variety of industries and applications.
- United Kingdom-based Treetop Biopak provides sustainable packaging solutions for industry, with a focus on compostable materials.
- Norway-based Völur is optimizing the meat industry by reducing waste and making it more sustainable.
“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, in the release. “The latest cohort represents a range of cutting-edge innovations, and we’re eager to see how their products advance through this program.”
‘Plug and Play Topeka’ Selects 11 Startups for 5th Round of Animal Health, Ag-Tech Accelerator Program. News release. Go Topeka. March 29, 2023. [email]