According to media reports, Global innovation platform, Plug and Play, today announced Hill’s Pet Nutrition will serve as a founding partner for its newest location in Topeka, Kansas. They join co-founding partner Cargill to support Plug and Play’s work with startups that are creating ideas to transform animal health and agriculture. Hill’s Pet Nutrition will primarily focus on innovations surrounding animal health for companion animals.
Hill’s is located within the KC Animal Health Corridor, an area anchored by Manhattan, Kansas and Columbia, Missouri. Working with the Greater Topeka Partnership, Plug and Play chose the area because it is home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration in the world.
“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.”
“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, VP of Marketing, US Hill’s Pet Nutrition and KC Animal Health Corridor Board Chair.
Plug and Play’s network helps startups enter new geographic locations and to find new opportunities and customers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, with their global headquarters in Topeka, is opening their doors to work with select startups on partnerships and pilots.
“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. We look forward to further nurturing and connecting the local ecosystem with our global network of startups and corporations,” said Saeed Amidi, Founder and CEO of Plug and Play.
Twice a year, Plug and Play will accept eight to 10 startups for this program to work one-on-one with their partners in the Animal Health industry. Later this fall, Plug and Play Topeka will run their first virtual accelerator in this location. Startups will go through the three-month accelerator program focused on business development, mentorship and networking.
“Plug and Play will provide a paradigm shift to research and development. Hill’s has a rich innovation pipeline and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with startups to accelerate the delivery of breakthrough innovation for pet nutrition,” said Dave Baloga, VP of Science and Technology at Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
“For more than a century, Hill’s Pet Nutrition has been a cornerstone in the Topeka business community. They continue to be at the forefront of innovation and are a key driver in Topeka’s role in the animal health corridor. Just last year Hill’s began an expansion of their world-renowned research center to include a new Small Paws center, in Topeka, featuring state-of-the-art facilities dedicated to serving the special needs of small dogs,” said Katrin Bridges, SVP of Innovation, Greater Topeka Partnership. “We are thrilled about this partnership and the new opportunities it will generate for Topeka and Shawnee County.”
“This partnership is momentous,” said Matt Pivarnik, CEO, Greater Topeka Partnership. “As a significant contributor to the world of animal health science, Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s support will significantly elevate the prestige, as well as increase the opportunities, of Topeka’s first innovation platform.”
Corporations and startups interested in Plug and Play’s Animal Health program in Topeka can apply here.