Animal Health, AgTech Startups Pitch at ‘Plug and Play Topeka’s’ Inaugural Selection Day

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Entrepreneurs from around the world present business plans to potential investors, corporate partners from Cargill, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Evergy

The Plug and Play program aims to bring innovative startups from around the world to Kansas every six months, building upon the region’s fast-growing and robust animal health industry.

“As the animal health, agtech and bioscience industries come together, it is the ideal time to create this incredible innovation platform in Topeka,” said Saeed Amidi, CEO and founder at Plug and Play.

Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play, a global innovation platform that specializes in creating industry-specific accelerator programs, today held its inaugural pitch competition event in the animal health and ag tech space. Ten early- and mid-stage startups from numerous U.S. states, Australia, Spain, the U.K. and Sweden pitched an audience of corporate executives, venture capitalists and media at the fast-paced online demo day.

Presenting companies have developed a variety of innovative products for the animal health and ag tech industry. These include smart health and GPS tracking software for dogs, smart ear tags for livestock and a universal pet identification microchip.

“With this Selection Day, we begin the first chapter of Plug and Play Topeka,” said Senior Vice President of Innovation at Go Topeka, Katrin Bridges. “Forging ahead alongside our influential and invaluable founding partners, Cargill, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Evergy, we are setting our sights on soon becoming a hub of innovation of the Midwest.”

The program aims to bring innovative startups from around the world to Kansas every six months, building upon the region’s fast-growing and robust animal health industry. The startups will go through three-month “accelerator” programs aimed at helping the businesses get off the ground. There is a 70 percent average success rate for companies that go through a Plug and Play accelerator program, measured in follow-on capital raised.

Startups selected for the program will receive benefits including office space, mentorship, business development, pitch polishing, deal flow and potential investment.

Presenting companies include:

  • Ceres Tag – Queensland, Australia: smart ear tags for livestock
  • RAPiD GENOMICS – Gainesville, Fla.: DNA genotyping and genetic analysis company
  • Andes Ag – Emeryville, Calif.: harnessing the power of microbes to develop novel seeds for a regenerative agriculture revolution
  • Peeva – Buffalo, N.Y.: universal pet identification and central database microchip company
  • Waggit – Boulder, Colo.: smart health and GPS tracking for dogs
  • Volta Greentech – Stockholm, Sweden: battling global warming by reducing methane emissions from cows
  • Pitpat – Cambridge, U.K.: dog activity monitor and fitness tracker company
  • Bond Pet Foods – Boulder, Colo.: biotechnology company creating animal-free and protein-rich pet food
  • ProAgni – New South Wales, Australia: sheep and cattle nutrition products that are antibiotic and ionophore free
  • Dinbeat – Barcelona, Spain: wearable technology to monitor pet health in real time

“As the animal health, agtech and bioscience industries come together, it is the ideal time to create this incredible innovation platform in Topeka,” said Saeed Amidi, CEO and founder at Plug and Play. “With our wide grasp of technologies and solutions across different industries, we are very excited to explore and foster the animal health and ag tech ecosystem here in Topeka.”

In addition, at the event it was announced that Evergy, an energy company serving more than 1.6 million customers across Kansas and Missouri, would join Hill's Pet Nutrition and Cargill as the first founding partners in the new Plug and Play Topeka program.

Held virtually this year due to COVID-19, the biannual selection day event will normally be held in Topeka, Kan., the home of the new Animal Health/AgTech Accelerator.

The KC Animal Health Corridor, anchored by Manhattan, Kan., and Columbia, Mo., is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world. Companies with a strategic location in the KC Animal Health Corridor now represent 56 percent of total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales.

“Topeka is in the middle of the Animal Health Corridor,” said Kimberly Young, president of the KC Animal Health Corridor. “The addition of Plug and Play to our 22-county, bi-state region further enhances the established and growing ecosystem that attracts and supports emerging and established companies alike.”

Based out of Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale, Calif., Plug and Play also maintains a presence in New York City, Cleveland and Northwest Arkansas. In 2019 alone, Plug and Play accelerated 1,450 startups worldwide.

About Plug and Play
Plug and Play is a global innovation platform. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the company has built accelerator programs, corporate innovation services, and an in-house VC to make technological advancement progress faster than ever before. Since its inception in 2006, Plug and Play’s programs have expanded worldwide to include a presence in over 30 locations globally, giving startups the necessary resources to succeed in Silicon Valley and beyond. With over 30,000 startups and 400 official corporate partners, Plug and Play has created the ultimate startup ecosystem in many industries. The company provides active investments with 200 leading Silicon Valley VCs and hosts more than 700 networking events per year. Companies in the Plug and Play community have raised over $9 billion in funding, with successful portfolio exits including Danger, Dropbox, Lending Club and PayPal. For more information, visit plugandplaytechcenter.com.

About GO Topeka
GO Topeka creates opportunities for economic growth that provide a thriving business climate and fulfilling lifestyle for Topeka and Shawnee County. The Greater Topeka area in Shawnee County represents a community of 178,915 people, located in the Greater Kansas City region. As the state capital of Kansas, Topeka is home to a dynamic employer base with headquartered companies including Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Advisors Excel, Security Benefit, Capitol Federal and Evergy. Topeka is located less than 40 minutes from suburban Kansas City’s shops and restaurant districts, less than one hour to downtown Kansas City, including the KC Crossroads District, the River Market and the Country Club Plaza, and an hour from Kansas City International Airport. Topeka is proud to be a part of the #KCHeartland. For more information, visit gotopeka.com

About the KC Animal Health Corridor
The KC Animal Health Corridor, anchored by Manhattan, Kan. and Columbia, Mo., is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world. For more information, visit KCanimalhealth.com.

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