SUNNYVALE, CALIF. — After announcing its initial partnership with Cargill, Plug and Play on Sept. 15 shared that Hill’s Pet Nutrition will become its second founding partner for its new center in Topeka, Kan., where it will support agriculture technology and animal health-focused startups.

As part of this partnership, Hill’s Pet Nutrition will support innovations specific to companion animal health.

"We are delighted to be partnered with Hill's Pet Nutrition in Topeka to foster a culture of innovation and change across the animal health space,” said Saeed Amidi, founder and chief executive officer of Plug and Play. “We look forward to further nurturing and connecting the local ecosystem with our global network of startups and corporations.”

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is headquartered in Topeka, at the heart of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, which spans from Manhattan, Kan. to Columbia, Mo. The area represents 56% of total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales, according to KC Animal Health Corridor.

This was part of the reason Plug and Play chose to build its new office in Topeka, where it could best serve emerging companies focused on ag tech and animal health.

"Hill's Pet Nutrition has for decades played a pivotal role in addressing the nutritional needs of pets and continues to make advancements in animal health research and development," said Kimberly Young, president of KC Animal Health Corridor. "Topeka's new innovation platform is proving to be quite a promising addition to the Corridor, and with Hill's' engagement it will only serve to strengthen the resources and opportunities available to everyone in the field of animal health."

Plug and Play will focus on helping ag tech and animal health startups enter new geographic locations and markets, find new customers and tap into opportunities for growth, innovation and expansion.

The company will bring on eight to 10 startups twice per year to work one-on-one with industry partners. It plans to virtually host its first three-month accelerator program in fall 2020. The program will focus on business development, mentorship and networking, Plug and Play said.

"We are excited to have Plug and Play join the Animal Health Corridor in continuing to build breakthrough innovation and equally as important to continue attracting great talent, investment and resources to the Corridor," said Yvonne Hsu, vice president of marketing of Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s United States division and board chair for KC Animal Health Corridor.

Learn more about Plug and Play’s Animal Health program in Topeka.

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