March 8, 2023

Ancera: Driving a Different Kind of Innovation

By Arjun Ganesan, CEO @ Ancera


“I may not know much, but I do know the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad.”

          -Lyndon Baines Johnson, 35th President of the United States

The world is full of companies claiming to help you collect data—to scrape it, organize it, and leverage it to sell products and services. Good for them.

At Ancera, however, we think true innovation is about something very different: Not just digitizing or re-arranging existing data, or blending it in with loads of commoditized information, but combining the best of hardware and the best of software to uncover new sources of insight that help you see around corners on your most pressing problems.

We have coined a term for what all our products deliver: “net-new visibility.”

For the food production customers we serve, net-new visibility means delivering products that reveal insights they could not have unearthed previously. We shine a spotlight on what they can do to reduce risk and generate new profits throughout their supply chains. 

One way we do that is by applying innovation to the piles of feces sitting on the floors of America’s poultry houses. We comb through terabytes of microbial data contained in small samples to spot emerging trends and propose timely course corrections that will improve operations, and we do so far ahead of competing technologies. That’s net-new visibility in action.

Like the 35th US president, in short, we know the difference between the two forms of poultry output. Even better, we know how to turn chicken shit into something really, really valuable.  

Hard Science + Computer Science = Superior Decision Science

Ancera is neither a pure-play data company nor a diagnostics company (though if you happened to meet us early inour journey, that’s an understandable mistake, since diagnostics is where we started). Instead, we have evolved into a decision-science company, one whose products are software-defined and hardware-enabled.

Think of it this way: Ancera is where hard science (microbiology, microfluidics, gene sequencing, laboratory supply chains, etc.) meets computer science (cloud-computing, probabilistic models, analytics pipelines, etc.). We use this hybrid combination to improve our customers’ decision science, relying on data-driven applications that measure their business inputs and track them against key outcomes, such as improving feed conversion, switching to a more cost-effective antimicrobial product, or more effectively preventing pathogens that threaten human health from reaching downstream operations.

To create the products that enable these decisions, we have built and patented the next generation of laboratory equipment and also encoded data science models that allow sampling to representatively scale to millions of birds. To combine these parts of the business into a cohesive product we've significantly invested in human capital – microbiologists, physicists, data scientists, engineers, and poultry insiders. Our products are built from their diverse expertise and perspectives to create an entirely new category, focused on generating insights.

Finally, all the complex features that lie beneath these insights are hidden from customers’ view (unless they want to see them). Instead, they receive only the answers they need in a simple mobile app or report.

2023: The Year of the Product

Prior to 2023, Ancera had been completely focused on testing its core thesis of net-new visibility in the poultry industry where an estimated $5 Billion is lost annually to Coccidia. After hardening the product and evaluating its value with early adopters, we are sharing our Coccidia System Monitoring (CSM) product with the industry. The methodology counts parasite eggs to monitor for dangerous levels of Coccidia and alert operations and veterinarian teams 6-10 weeks ahead of status quo approaches. You can learn more about Oocyst counting here.

I am proud to say that the market has validated this fact-based, quantitative approach, and we are now working with our first commercial customers. They are expecting to add over $10,000 per complex each week back to the bottom line.

Next on our roadmap is Salmonella, where we’re using another fact-based, risk-focused approach that brings net-new visibility to the live side of poultry. Innovation has overlooked this critical part of the supply chain, treating Salmonella as a monolith rather than as ~2,500 distinct serotypes with their own sets of characteristics and data. Our product is a game-changer in terms of granularity, time savings, and cost efficiencies. We are currently speaking with select beta partners who are interested in getting ahead of the USDA regulatory framework, preventing Salmonella from getting into plants, or improving their plant categorization in order to open new markets. We look forward to building their feedback into the product, but in the meantime you can learn more about our proprietary CRISPR-based deep serotyping methods here.

Meanwhile, our R&D teams, supported by a next-gen lab and growing cloud-infrastructure, are building the next assays and intelligent models. Expect to see more products that address additional microbial risks and span the entire production continuum.

Stay in the Know

As we accelerate the pace of innovation in our industry, staying current with Ancera’s latest capabilities will be more challenging. We are committed to sharing these updates with the market more frequently and are opening the door for the market’s questions. If you are interested in evaluating our Coccidia System Monitoring or SalmonellaSystem Monitoring products, we’d love to talk to you about how these new methodologies put money back into producers’ pockets.

Our mission has never been more relevant. 2023 will be characterized by volatility, high feed prices, avian pathogens, and a crunch on margins. But it can also be the year many food producers find their secret weapon – net-new visibility, gained from gathering data in the unlikeliest of places.

I encourage you to reach out to and meet the team.