Checkoff News

Soy Innovation Challenge Selects Four Finalists That Increase Value for Soybean Meal

A soybean harvester pours soybeans into a white grain truck.

From a worldwide applicant pool, these innovative startups, inventors and disruptors will strengthen soybean meal markets and create unique revenue streams for U.S. soybean farmers.

ST. LOUIS (Feb. 15, 2023) — The sky’s the limit with this year’s Soy Innovation Challenge finalists. Ideas range from animal agriculture and artificial intelligence to pet foods and feed additives. The Yield Lab Institute in partnership with the United Soybean Board is proud to announce four finalists selected from nearly 80 applicants around the world to move forward to the final round.

Innovations generated from these startups, entrepreneurs and research teams aim to advance soybean meal demand, storage and transportation. The distinct nutritional and quality advantages of U.S. Soy allow for a variety of uses across animal agriculture, aquaculture, pet foods and soyfoods for human consumption. 

“We’re working with the best of the best, and these finalists open the door to new markets for soybean farmers,” said April Hemmes, USB Demand Action Team Chair and farmer from Iowa. “With meal representing 80% of the soybean, it’s critical that we expand the use and value for our high-quality premium protein source. And it’s partnerships like this with The Yield Lab Institute that create these opportunities.” 

The four finalists are as follows: 

  • Satavie — Satavie’s mission is to nourish with responsibly sourced, high-quality soy protein concentrate made with innovative technology. They believe in providing wholesome and nutritious ingredients and strive to be a trusted source of nourishment for generations.
  • SoyKitty — SoyKitty is an innovative pet company that creates premium companion animal products that are safer for people, pets, and the planet. Their flagship product will be an eco-friendly, nontoxic cat litter made predominantly from soybean byproducts for eco-conscious cat owners that demand an odor-free household without hurting the planet.
  • Ichthus Unlimited — Ichthus Unlimited aims at resolving bottleneck issues for the aquaculture industry and providing solutions for its sustainability and permanence. A key R&D focus of Ichthus is to develop soy-based animal feed binders to replace costly alternatives.
  • POLARISqb — POLARISqb utilizes quantum computing and artificial intelligence to revolutionize drug design. They are developing a feed additive that makes soymeal feed digestible and nutritious for livestock without relying on costly extraction methods.

“We are excited about the finalists for the Soy Innovation Challenge 2022,” said Brandon Day, COO of The Yield Lab Institute. “These four finalists represent an interesting blend of pre- and post-commercial innovations and technologies. We feel they can drive new value to existing and new markets for soybean meal and its applications, and we are proud to support them along their journey.”

The challenge is sponsored by USB, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Solis Agrosciences. All finalists will now move forward, competing for:

  • $170,000 in cash prizes courtesy of USB.
  • Mentorship and entrepreneurial networking courtesy of The Yield Lab Institute’s global network of ag-tech business and technical leaders.
  • $5,000 in in-kind technical services and credits per finalist, courtesy of AWS.
  • Gene-editing, transgenic plant generation/transformation and other research services courtesy of Solis Agrosciences.

About United Soybean Board: United Soybean Board’s 77 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers create value by investing in research, education and promotion with the vision to deliver sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day across the three priority areas of Infrastructure & Connectivity, Health & Nutrition, and Innovation & Technology. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit

About Yield Lab Institute: The Yield Lab Institute is a non-profit, agtech think tank focused on supporting, advancing global agtech startups, entrepreneurs and ecosystems. The Institute’s initiatives include open innovation challenges (The Soy Innovation Challenge, The Sustainable Agtech Challenge and more), ecosystems assessments (e.g. Rosario, Argentina, Piracicaba, Brazil, East and West Africa) and technical studies (e.g. St. Louis soilless ag white paper co-published with the WWF).  The Institute is the non-profit arm of The Yield Lab Group, a global federation of venture capital funds that invest in early stage agtech.  For more information, please visit The Yield Lab Institute.



Paul Murphy-Spooner at United Soybean Board, 515.975.6584

Brandon Day at The Yield Lab Institute, 831.809.0755

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