Globally lauded VC-firm and corporate innovation hub Plug and Play stands to bridge regional gaps in the Midwest’s animal health corridor with the launch of a new accelerator in Topeka.
“This will put Topeka on the map in terms of innovation,” said Jon Keddy, CTO of Security Benefit and Greater Topeka Partnership advisory board member.
Laser focused on animal health and ag tech, Plug and Play’s latest accelerator — the fourth outside of its Silicon Valley headquarters — will welcome 20 startups into its 90-day Top City cohort, the program said in a release.
“Topeka’s partnership with Plug and Play is the first step in realizing our vision of making Topeka a hub of innovation for the entire region,” said Katrin Bridges, senior vice president of innovation at Greater Topeka Partnership.
“In 2018 alone, Plug and Play accelerated 1,107 startups worldwide,” she added. “Plug and Play will leverage their global innovation platform to attract animal health/ag tech startups to Topeka which will have a tremendous economic impact on Shawnee County and the entire region.”
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“We continue to develop a lot of ideas about how we can not only become part of the community initiatives that we’ve seen — and we think are really vital to the region — [but what we can bring to the table ourselves],” Lisa Tamayo, founder and CEO of Scollar, said when the company relocated to the metro in April.
ELIAS Animal Health, founded and run by Tammie Wahaus, was recently named one of Kansas City’s Top-VC Backed Companies in 2019.
“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,” Kimberly Young, president of the KC Animal Health Corridor, added in recognition that the program could provide pathways to opportunity for startups on both sides of the stateline.
New momentum for a growing ecosystem, the Greater Topeka Partnership is confident the program will draw more startups to Kansas’ capital city, Bridges said.
“We will also work to attract and retain [cohort companies] to the area, growing the Topeka startup community in the process,” she added.
Planning for the accelerator’s first cohort is ongoing. An official start date has not been announced.