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 12 startups to participate in the third cohort of its animal-health and ag-tech program. These early-to-mid-stage startups hail from six countries – the U.S., Israel, Italy, Spain, Chile and the U.K. – and states including California, Pennsylvania and Washington. The companies were selected following a pitch competition held virtually this month.
Selected by program partners including Cargill, Evergy and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the startups represent a broad range of innovators in areas like sustainable packaging, pet and livestock health, food systems, and energy. Entrepreneurs will participate in a three-month-long accelerator program aimed at connecting them with resources to help launch and grow their businesses.
Learn more about the 12 startups selected for the program:
• Adrich – Connects brands and retailers through a smart-packaging and post-sales data analytics platform.
• Full Cycle Bioplastics – Addresses the issues of plastic pollution, food waste and climate change by transforming existing food waste into a non-toxic, compostable alternative to oil-based plastics called PHA.
• Hargol FoodTech – The world’s first commercial grasshopper farm, harnessing the power of nature’s most efficient protein source.
• Helpet – Helps pet owners manage daily life with their pets, this application allows them to control the routine, vaccines, food, consultations and everything else they need to maintain their animals’ health.
• Kauel Technologies – Delivers unique solutions for energy-sector-related industries, such as oil and gas, through artificial intelligence, computer vision and data processing.
• Moolec Science – An ag-foodtech, science-based ingredients company producing real animal proteins in plants through a disruptive technology in the alternative protein landscape.
• Natural Machines – Accelerates the use of 3D printing in several industries, enabling companies to treat their consumers as individuals, not mass-market consumers, by providing personalized products on demand.
• NovoNutrients – Works to upcycle industrial-waste gases and transform CO2 emissions into microbial alternative-protein ingredients.
• PupPod – The world’s first multispecies gaming platform at the intersection of pets, smart homes and gaming.
• TeleTails – A veterinary telehealth platform that provides live video, messaging and payment capabilities for pet owners.
• W-Cycle – Producer of compostable and renewable materials focused on the food-packaging industry.
• Yoran Imaging – A leading company in thermal inspection of heat-sealing packaging.
The Plug and Play Topeka accelerator facilitates and fosters partnerships, mentorships and connections with help from GO Topeka, while capitalizing on Topeka’s robust animal-health and agricultural economic ecosystems. Topeka is centrally located within the Kansas City Animal-Health Corridor, the world’s largest concentration of animal-health and related industries.
“Plug and Play Topeka’s accelerator has shined a light on the local and regional resources powering innovation in northeast Kansas,” said Molly Howey, president of GO Topeka. “GO Topeka is excited to continue our partnership with Plug and Play, as we introduce a new batch of startups to all that Topeka and Shawnee County have to offer. The future of animal-health and ag-tech innovation is being shaped right here in our capital city, and these startups are vital pieces of the puzzle.”
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’re excited to invite these 12 startups to participate in our Plug and Play Topeka accelerator,” said Lindsay Lebahn, program manager for Plug and Play Topeka. “Our selection process reflects our partners’ animal-health and ag-tech needs, ensuring the potential partnerships between these companies and startups are that much more impactful – not only for the businesses themselves but for everyday consumers looking for meaningful solutions to some of today’s biggest health-science challenges.”
Since the start of the program in spring of 2021, 20 startups have graduated from the Plug and Play Topeka accelerator program. Each year, the program will develop two accelerator groups, both of which are made up of 10-12 animal-health and ag-tech startups.