TOPEKA, KAN. — Economic development group GO Topeka recently announced that Plug and Play Topeka selected two pet nutrition companies to participate in the fourth cohort of its animal health and ag-tech accelerator program. Kibus Petcare and Mighty Petz will participate in the accelerator alongside 10 other startups.

The startups were selected by Cargill, Every, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and other partners of the accelerator program following a pitch competition held virtually in September. Spanning various countries across the globe, the selected startups represent innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), sustainable packaging, food safety and pet health.

“We have a great group of startups that represent the breath of the animal health industry,” said Lindsay Lebahn, program manager for Plug and Play Topeka. “Because these startups were hand selected by our partners, we have already helped facilitate some meaningful conversations we hope will form into partnerships and pilots that will help shape the future of our industry.”

Kibus Petcare's innovative kitchen robot device cooks fresh dog foodSource: Kibus Petcare

Kibus Petcare offers a device that prepares fresh dog food. The company offers a kitchen robot device that automatically prepares and cooks its complete-and-balanced formulas, which are developed by veterinarians and contain natural ingredients and no byproducts.

Kibus offers three formulas, including Chicken and Apple, Cod and Pumpkin and Salmon and Rice, all of which are gently dehydrated in its cooking device.

Mighty Petz offers premium pet supplements and treats formulated with active ingredients. The company’s chewable supplements target specific health concerns, including allergies and urinary tract issues, immune, hip and joint, skin and coat health and more. The company also offers supplements formulated with hemp, glucosamine, chondroitin, Omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics and other active ingredients.

Mighty Petz manufactures pet supplements and treats made with active ingredientsSource: Mighty Petz

Kibus Petcare and Mighty Petz will participate in the accelerator alongside 10 other startups:

  • Israel-based BioTip develops sticker-based technology that detects the freshness level of food products.
  • Vancouver-based Evanesce manufactures sustainable packaging leveraging advancements in material science, creating compostable and commercially scalable solutions.
  • Matrixspec offers hyperspectral imaging for various food processing industries.
  • London-based Metalchemy creates durable, organic packaging using nanotechnology to help keep food fresh.
  • Washington-based PetHub offers a pet database and consumer membership service.
  • Singapore-based Protenga produces insect-based ingredients for use in pet food, animal feed and agricultural industries.
  • Texas-based Precision Livestock Technologies uses AI and machine vision to help boost production, increase product quality and improve overall animal health.
  • England-based SGMA develops sustainable coatings and advanced materials using a sol-gel process.
  • California-based Sphinx offers an automatic wet feeder for pet food.
  • Massachusetts-based Vizit offers AI-powered brand software using predictive visual analytics to help companies expand their consumer bases.

Leaders representing the startups will participate in a three-month program set to advance their businesses.

Plug and Play Topeka strives to bring global innovation to the Midwest by offering business development opportunities and mentorship to global startups. Topeka is located within the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, one of the world’s largest concentrations of animal health and pet nutrition companies.

Currently, more than 300 animal health companies lie between Manhattan, Kan., and Columbia, Mo., generating 56% of the world’s total animal health, diagnostics and pet food products sold, which total about $21.5 billion in annual sales.

“Kansas is well known for its animal health and ag-tech successes, and Topeka is proud to further support the industry's growth through mentorship and business development provided by the accelerator,” said Stephanie Moran, senior vice president of innovation at GO Topeka. “By finding new ways to support animal health and agriculture, we can support the economy of Kansas, the Midwest and the United States as a whole. It is imperative that we continue to push forth this type of innovation through programs like Plug and Play.”

So far, 41 startups have graduated from the Plug and Play Topeka accelerator program.

Stay up to date on the latest pet food processing industry headlines on our News page.