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  • Center of Excellence in Food and Agriculture
  • Cornell AgriTech
  • Agriculture
  • Food
When Andrea Ippolito ’06 gave birth in February 2018, she wanted to breastfeed because of the health benefits it offered her newborn daughter. But like 12% of mothers, Ippolito experienced a form of lactation dysfunction—in her case, not producing enough milk.

“While formula had everything she needed to thrive and grow, it didn’t have everything we wanted for her,” said Ippolito, a lecturer in the Engineering Management Program at Cornell.

In summer 2019, she launched SimpliFed, a startup company whose mission is to provide more nutritious options for infants. The startup is one of more than 75 small, New York state-based companies supported by Cornell AgriTech’s Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture (COE).

“Our purpose is to cultivate economic growth and job creation opportunities by connecting entrepreneurs to the resources they need to thrive,” said COE’s executive director, Cathy Young. “It’s an exciting time in the food, beverage and agriculture industries—there’s an incredible amount of innovation, and much of it is consumer-driven.”

Since COE’s launch in September 2018, the companies working with the center have raised $25 million to grow their businesses. For SimpliFed, support has included reviewing pitches, sharing funding opportunities and connecting with food science professionals and other experts for product development.

Ippolito said CALS’ expertise has been instrumental. “All the plane parts are in the hangar, and the Center of Excellence connects those parts to help startups like ours take off.”

Learn more about how the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture helps startups thrive.

This article was originally published in the CALS Magazine.

Graphic by Cristina Eagan

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