Startups Get Big Break at Purina’s Pet Care Innovation Summit
Purina recently hosted 25 pet-focused startups at its St. Louis headquarters as part of its Pet Care Innovation Summit. The inaugural event was designed to give startups an opportunity to pitch their business to Purina’s 9 Square Ventures team, the company’s corporate venturing group, and other industry investors.
Startups represented pet tech, services, nutrition, food technology, traditional food treats and litter businesses.
Two learning tracks were also offered at the summit with sessions focused on digitally driven traction and continuous innovation, “making it a networking and educational opportunity for attendees,” officials said.
Basepaws, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, received a $125,000 investment from Purina at the event. The company sequences the DNA of cats and provides health and dietary recommendations to customers.
Dig, a startup dating app connecting like-minded dog owners, secured $50,000 in digital marketing support from Purina and Centro to help its business grow.
“Financial backing is important to any startup, but money alone won’t drive success,” said Bill Broun, co-lead of Purina’s 9 Square Ventures Division and vice president of personalization and business development at Purina. “Having a network of support is key, and that is what we are providing with the Pet Care Innovation program at Purina.”
All participants of the summit were invited to join the Pet Care Innovation Network, an invite-only network for founders of “scalable, high potential early stage companies.” Pet Care Innovation Network members receive access to business tools, educational opportunities and exclusive networking events like the Pet Care Innovation Summit at no cost.
Pet care startups can apply for the Pet Care Innovation Prize program, which invites entrepreneurs to join a class of their peers to learn from pet care experts and each other through development opportunities led by Purina.
The summit is part of an ongoing effort by Purina and St. Louis-based Active Capital, which manages the Pet Care Innovation Prize, to support and connect with early stage pet care startups.
Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Nestlé S.A.