Ahead of the Animal AgTech Innovation Summit, we caught up with Kari Spaan, CEO at iYOTAH Solutions about the company’s journey in the livestock sector, key partnerships for their business strategy and what’s next for them in 2022.
Can you tell us about your journey as an early-stage start-up up to your recent success? What have been the key milestones?
In 2019, we started iYOTAH Solutions with a mission to serve the livestock industry by providing a cutting-edge, data-technology platform that could effectively connect data, people, and businesses throughout the value chain and deliver economic-driven solutions that enhance efficiencies and improve profits.
Since our inception, iYOTAH has put together one of the most impressive, innovative, and proven teams, of both employees and advisors, to make our vision come alive. Armed with the knowledge and insights from pilot herds, strategic partners and industry influencers, our team has been heads down developing a data technology platform like no other before.
Designed to solve the ‘messy middle’ challenges of the industry, iYOTAH is already connecting and overlaying data in new and innovative ways, to help producers and businesses across the value chain, enhance collaboration and facilitate the critical thinking necessary to drive continuous improvement. With iYOTAH, customers cannot only utilize the data platform to see what happened, but now they can combine multiple data sources to gain predictive and prescriptive insights that will help move their operations to next-level productivity.
What role do partnerships and collaboration play in your business strategy?
Our entire business strategy is based on partnerships, collaborations and creating a supportive community where stakeholders across the value chain can all significantly benefit from iYOTAH’s ‘neutral’ environment. Designed to act as a vehicle that strengthens relationships and facilitates collaboration and critical thinking, we believe our company and platform will play a critical role in bringing together multiple constituents across the industry, who are united in the common goal of helping the industry thrive.
Key strategic partnerships and collaborations that we have been working closely with during our initial phases include: pilot herds who have supported our discovery and technology advancements; National Dairy Herd Information Association (NDHIA) and their help in understanding the industry’s challenges we are solving for; the PAC group (Production Animal Consultation) and their high-level insights in business strategy, consulting and animal health; Standard Nutrition and their savviness in combining multiple data sets to add value; WKU and their Smart Holstein Lab testing integrations and the overlay of data; North Carolina State University and Purdue University expanding on insights to strengthen and deepen our value propositions, and last but not least, our most recent Strategic Partnership with Neogen, where we have partnered to create effective tools and solutions, through the use of the iYOTAH platform, to accelerate acceptance and use of genomics, overlay phenotypic and genotypic data and deliver simple to use visuals that simplify and improve sorting and selection decisions.
Can you share any success stories as a result of joining us at a previous Animal AgTech Innovation Summit?
Absolutely! I attended my very first Animal AgTech Innovation Summit in 2018 in San Francisco. As a person developing a new business, I loved the set-up, the structure of the event and all the event managers. The environment was welcoming, engaging and effective. From the time the event started, I was immediately networking with the people and prospects that I intended to connect with, gaining new insights and knowledge into the hottest trends and technology from top leaders and influencers, and deepening my understanding of the problems that need to be solved throughout the industry.
From there, I participated as one of the Top 10 Start-Ups during the pitching session, and now, this year, I was asked to join as a panelist in one of the sessions. I would have to say, in all my years of business development, this event is one of the most productive conferences I have ever attended. Through the many relationships I have made during my attendance, both live and virtual, I have managed to maintain the majority of those connections. I believe one of the main reasons for this, is that the people that attend are exactly the people I want to talk to.
Today, some of those relationships have developed into supporting colleagues, others are positively moving through our pipeline process, and a few have made it the finish line and have become commercial and strategic partners of iYOTAH. Pretty sure you can’t get much better results than that from an event!
What motivates you as an innovator to drive forward change within the animal agtech industry?
It’s exciting to be a changemaker and problem solver! Even more rewarding is the opportunity to be a servant to an amazing group of people in an industry whose goal is to feed the world. Knowing that we can make a significant impact in the progress of something so important gives our entire team purpose. And while it is super motivating to be involved in a $Billion opportunity, our ambition to create a technology that has the potential to build a better life for our customers, our community, our company and the animals we touch, is ultimately what drives us.
What’s next for your company?
We are at an exciting stage of our business! Expect to hear several important announcements from us in the upcoming months. Stay tuned for our commercial launch later this year and watch for our reports on multiple success stories, commercial partnerships, strategic partnerships and more! This will be the year that we really start showing our stuff to the US and to the world!
We’re excited to welcome Kari and the team to the Animal AgTech Innovation Summit! Join Kari’s panel discussion on ‘The Future of Farming: Consolidating and Integrating Precision Technologies’ at 11am PT on March 21. Plus, you can visit iYOTAH Solutions exhibition booth in San Francisco.