TOPEKA, KAN. — Following partnerships with Cargill and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Plug and Play held its inaugural pitch competition event for industry startups through its new Topeka innovation center.

Ten early-stage companies from across the United States, Australia, Spain, the United Kingdom and Sweden were selected to participate in the pitch competition. Bond Pet Foods, Inc., a biotechnology company developing lab-cultured, meatless pet food proteins, was one of them.

“As the animal health, ag tech and bioscience industries come together, it is the ideal time to create this incredible innovation platform in Topeka,” said Saeed Amidi, chief executive officer and founder of 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.”

The inaugural event was held virtually due to travel restrictions and COVID-19 constraints. Going forward, Plug and Play plans to host the event in-person at its new Topeka accelerator facility.

“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.”

During the pitch competition, Plug and Play also announced a third partnership with Evergy, an energy utility company serving more than 1.6 million Kansas and Missouri households.

“With this Selection Day, we begin the first chapter of Plug and Play Topeka,” said Katrin Bridges, senior vice president of innovation at Go Topeka. “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.”

Startups selected to participate in Plug and Play’s program will receive several benefits, including mentorship, business development resources, pitch polishing, deal flow, office space and potential investment from private equity and industry members.

These companies include:

  • Ceres Tag (Queensland, Australia)
  • RAPiD GENOMICS (Gainesville, Fla.)
  • Andes Ag (Emeryville, Calif.)
  • Peeva (Buffalo, N.Y.)
  • Waggit (Boulder, Colo.)
  • Volta Greentech (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Pitpat (Cambridge, United Kingdom)
  • Bond Pet Foods (Boulder, Colo.)
  • ProAgni (New South Wales, Australia)
  • Dinbeat (Barcelona, Spain)

The 10 selected businesses represent a wide range of innovations to agricultural technology and animal health, including smart ear tags for livestock from Ceres Tag, universal pet identification solutions from Peeva, wearable pet health monitoring technology from Dinbeat, and novel seed development from microbes from Andes Ag, to name a few.

Plug and Play hopes to bring 10 companies to Topeka to accelerate business growth and innovation every six months.

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

Stay up to date on news about the pet food processing industry on our News page.