Nine entrepreneurs accelerate to success

A milking set-up with SomaDetect installed. SomaDetect was one of nine 2019 Pearse Lyons Accelerator participants. Another was Higher Steaks, founded by Benjamina Bollag, pictured above. The Accelerator participants made presentations at the Alltech Ideas Conference, right, to about 3,500 delegates from about 70 countries.

One of several 2019 Pearse Lyons Accelerator participants from the UK is Higher Steaks, which claims to produce the finest meats by using state-of-the-art cell culture techniques. It is one of nine successful start-ups out of 251 who applied to take part in the Accelerator programme organised by Alltech, the US-based multinational (but with strong Irish links) with a mission to improve health and performance of people, animals and plants through nutrition and scientific innovation.

Accelerator participants benefited from a mentorship programme; an intensive “business boot camp” of product development discussions, market insights, financial guidance, business development strategies, and presentation skills; and presentation of their businesses at the Alltech Ideas Conference to about 3,500 delegates from about 70 countries.

Higher Steaks

Higher Steaks plans to bring cell cultured pork sausage and mince to the market in 2021, but the company founders believe the real value of the cell-based meat industry lies in more complex products such as chicken breasts, pork chops, or steaks.

A small sample of cells from an animal is expanded by feeding these cells a rich, animal-free growth medium, to form the desired meat product.

It all starts with a blood sample, and the meat is produced sustainably without CO2 emissions or land and water usage, requiring no antibiotics, in clean conditions, which reduces the risk of food-borne diseases.

According to Benjamina Bollag, CEO and founder of Higher Steaks; “This is a much more sustainable solution, and the best part is that the taste will stay the same!”


Canada also had a 2019 Pearse Lyons Accelerator participant, in SomaDetect, the in-line sensor that measures every critical indicator of dairy quality, including milk fat, protein, somatic cell count, progesterone and antibiotics, from every cow at every milking.

SomaDetect Inc. was established in 2016 by Dr Bethany Deshpande.

It uses optical sensor technology in the milking line of existing dairy equipment, for rapid analysis of raw milk.

So it can be used anywhere from a state-of-the-art robotic milking system to a milking parlour or tie-stall system.

It does not require use of chemicals, the milk used to take measurements is unaltered, and can be returned to the milking line afterwards.

SomaDetect uses computer vision and deep neural networks based on records from thousands of milk samples, to build robust algorithms, so that it can predict the presence and concentrations of major compounds in raw milk. Therefore it can rapidly diagnose diseases such sub-clinical and clinical mastitis, ketosis, and acidosis.

Already a multiple innovation award winner, it also detects heat, and alerts the farmer so that insemination can be carried out at the ideal time. Potential benefits worth $478 per cow per year are claimed for SomaDetect users.


From the UK, Breedr is the world’s first app for livestock farmers that uses shared data to optimise yield, quality and profitability, and allow farmers to track and manage their animals on the go.

The user connects existing data from a farm management platform to the Breedr app, and imports data directly from farm data sources such as weighings, or scanners, links up with their national farm regulatory system, and can access all the data anywhere, any time, on the Breedr app.

Examples of what the app can deliver include monitoring growth of individual animals, sire performance charts, and farmer group benchmarking and messaging groups.

Breedr recommends getting EID tags to assist with data collection.

The Breedr marketplace on the app predicts the best time to sell each individual animal, and can be used to market livestock to buyers who can see each animal’s history and the farm’s credentials.

Folium Science

Also from the UK, Folium Science presented their Guided Biotics technology.

Their products are designed to keep healthy animals healthy, when added to animal feed or drinking water, by selectively reducing unwanted bacteria.

Or they can be used in crops to selectively remove plant pathogens, including solutions for over 70% of all bacterial blight, wilt or rot issues.

Guided Biotics technology includes inoculators to condition soil with bacterial species beneficial for plant growth.

Specific products are available for selective removal of target bacteria in biofilms (for example, from drinking lines on farms), or on surfaces or in suspension (such as foot-dips on farms).


Yet another UK success story in the Pearse Lyons Accelerator programme is Colabriq.

it is a system using Google’s knowledge graph technology to bring real-time data from the end-to-end supply chain directly into business systems.

This improves connection of a company’s supply chain, agriculture, and commercial teams, to grow the business.

Knowledge graphs can be found behind many digital innovations such as voice assistants or personalised shopping.

Jason Cresswell told the One19 delegates that it is knowledge graphs that make Google Search so powerful, and it is also used by 25 of the world’s 27 largest banks.

Colabriq brings these benefits to businesses by installing a simple virtual appliance, for the world’s first decentralised knowledge graph.

In this way, information “trapped” in different systems and spreadsheets in incompatible data models, is connected for analysis by the user, to understand what is happening across the extended enterprise, and enable the user make the right decisions

Jason Cresswell described the example of a poultry processor who needs to sell quickly, but must connect a lot of information on prices, specifications, etc, from their business and others, before finding a market.

Colabriq speeds this up, avoiding the danger of having to freeze the chicken, thus losing half its market value.

n The 2019 Pearse Lyons Accelerator programme is the brainchild of the late Dr Pearse Lyons, founder of the Alltech animal nutrition company.

“Through the Pearse Lyons Accelerator, we carry on my father’s legacy, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his desire to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs who are transforming the face of agriculture,” said Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech.

“It will be exciting to see how far these companies can go,” he added.

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