Program brings together startups from around the globe to capitalize on the region’s animal health and agricultural ecosystem.

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GoTopeka has announced that Plug and Play, a global innovation platform that specializes in creating industry-specific accelerator programs, has selected its first batch of startups for its animal health and ag tech program in Topeka. Ten early- and mid-stage startups from numerous U.S. states, Canada and Singapore were selected after a pitch competition in March 2021.

These startups represent a broad range of innovations designed to disrupt the animal health and ag tech industries, including food safety, pet and livestock health, technology and energy. Entrepreneurs will participate in a three-month “accelerator” program in Topeka aimed at helping businesses get off the ground, providing mentorship, resources and office space.

Selected companies include:

  • Ampcontrol – New York, New York: AI-powered software for electric vehicles.
  • BIOPSIN – Singapore: Microbial detection system.
  • GBatteries – Ottawa, Canada: Electric vehicle battery charging.
  • Heila – Somerville, Mass.: Simplifies the installation and operation of complex DER systems.
  • NanoSpy – Ames, Iowa: Rapid pathogen detection biosensors.
  • Nutrivert – St. Louis, Mo.: Development of postbiotics intended to provide an alternative to livestock antibiotics.
  • Obe, Inc. – San Francisco, Calif.: Digital pet health and wellness.
  • Resilient Biotics – Berkeley, Calif.: Microbiome-based solutions to combat respiratory infectious diseases in animal and human health.
  • StenCo – Birmingham, Ala.: Compostable oxygen barrier technology to extend shelf life in the single use packaging industry.
  • Veloce Energy – Los Angeles, Calif.: Reducing physical and financial barriers to EV charging infrastructure deployment.

“This first batch of startups is a great representation of the variety of industries animal health encompasses, as well as the reach and opportunities this program promises,” said Lindsay Lebahn, program manager, Plug and Play Topeka.

“Obe is thrilled to join the first animal health cohort,” said Hilary Jensen, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Obe, Inc. “The program opens opportunities for new partnerships and a network specific to our focus on companion animal health and wellness, not to mention great peers to learn from.”

Roughly two-thirds of the companies that Plug and Play invests in will have an exit, such as an acquisition, merger or initial public offering. This is a leading performance metric compared to other early-stage investors and accelerators.

“Resilient Biotics is extremely excited to be selected as part of Plug and Play’s inaugural Animal Health batch,” said Chris Belnap, CEO and co-founder, Resilient Biotics in Berkeley. “Participation in the program will enable direct contact with big strategic players in the industry. We look forward to being part of the Plug and Play ecosystem.”

Topeka and Shawnee County are centrally located within the KC Animal Health Corridor. More than 300 animal health companies are located between Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri, including four of the top 10 animal health companies in the world.

“These startups are coming from all over the world to spend time in the Capital City and we foresee great things to come,” said Katrin Bridges, SVP of Innovation, GO Topeka. “What’s more, this first batch is really setting the stage for Plug and Play’s presence in Topeka. It will be exciting to see the impact innovation can have on this region.”

Founding partners of the program include Cargill, Evergy, and Hills Pet Nutrition.

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.