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Five Startups Chosen as Nestlé Purina Pet Care Innovation Prize Finalists


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K9 Fit Club, founded in Chicago by Tricia Montgomery, is one of five finalists in Nestlé Purina's first-ever Pet Care Innovation Prize.

The creators of five pet products and services are being recognized as finalists in the first-ever Pet Care Innovation Prize, a partnership between Nestlé Purina and investment firms Active Capital and Cultivation Capital.

The contest, which identifies and supports early-stage pet care companies, is tailored toward companies producing nutrition, pet care, play and technology products and services for dogs, cats and their owners. More than 80 companies from 11 countries applied for the Pet Care Innovation Prize.

The five finalists each will receive a $10,000 prize, plus an immersion in a multiday accelerator program to get advice and mentorship, and enjoy access to business partners. One of the finalists will be selected as the grand-prize winner, to be announced at a later date, and will receive an additional $10,000 for business development and an exhibit at the 2017 Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla.

“The Pet Care Innovation Prize is about helping advance the ambitions of passionate pet care entrepreneurs who, like Purina, aim to help to improve the lives of pets and pet owners,” said Blair Morgan, Vice President of Marketing, Innovation Group at Purina.

The five finalists are:

FetchFind; Chicago; Founder, Jamie Migdal; fetchfind.com
FetchFind is an integrated eLearning marketplace for the $60 billion pet industry. With courses like pet first aid, canine behavior and customer service basics, FetchFind turns pet enthusiasts into pet pros while helping pet industry businesses train and retain staff, according to the company.

Ewegurt; South Barrington, Ill.; Founder, Jennifer Erdman; ewegurt.com
Ewegurt makes sheep milk yogurt treats/food toppers for dogs with a proprietary blend of sheep milk yogurt, protein, vegetables and fruit that is freeze-dried for shelf stability. Ewegurt products also claim to help reduce pet anxiety and promote immune and gut health.

K9 Fit Club; Chicago; Founder, Tricia Montgomery; K9FitClub.com
K9 Fit Club has created exercise instruction that people do with their dogs in a classroom setting. Both the human and the dog benefit physically from the structured physical activities, according to the company. The proprietary fitness programs are taught in a controlled small group environment by K9 Fit Club Master Trainers in licensed K9 Fit Club locations.

Obe; San Francisco, Founder, Hilary Jensen; ObeDog.com
Obe’s flagship product is the ProBowl and its companion iOS app. ProBowl is a patent-pending smart scale that connects to the cloud and your phone in the form of a dishwasher-safe bowl and smart base and smartphone app. With Obe, pet parents can feed their pet much more accurately, helping ensure pets get the nutrition they need, when they need it, without getting too much, according to the company.

PupPod; Seattle; Founder, Erick Eidus; PupPod.com
PupPod is a gaming, learning and social platform for dogs and owners, who can use PupPod to play with their dog in person or remotely. Dogs exercise their mind by playing a puzzle game that gets progressively more difficult based on a dog’s actual performance and are then rewarded with kibble or treats for taking correct actions in the game, according to the company. Owners can share their dog’s progress and videos on social media and compare achievements across the PupPod community.

 

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