Whistle, PetCoach, Mars Petcare and Petco Launch Pitch Event for Entrepreneurs
PetCoach, a pet advice website and app, and Whistle, makers of an all-in-one pet tracker, have launched Pet Project 2017, a pitch event designed to help innovators in pet care transform their concepts into a high-impact business. The inaugural venture program invites entrepreneurs to pitch a new service or product in a private forum for the chance to win a $25,000 "no strings attached" cash prize, and get feedback from industry experts within Mars Petcare and Petco.
"As the global pet market continues to grow and consumer behavior evolves, great ideas are going to win," said Brock Weatherup, executive vice president of strategic innovation at Petco. "Helping founders accelerate innovation is something many of us in the pet industry want to help foster."
The $60-plus billion pet industry continues to see significant growth each year, and pet owners are looking for better ways to meet the present and future needs of their pets. Brock Weatherup, PetCoach co-founder, and Ben Jacobs, co-founder and CEO of Whistle, recognized that the pet space is ripe for innovation and teamed up to help new pet ventures clear the traditional hurdles of bringing an idea to such a large marketplace.
"The rest of our lives have become smarter, and we now have the opportunity to create a smarter way to care for our pets," said Jacobs. "We are believers in bold, new businesses and are hosting this pitch event because we know that when great concepts meet opportunity, results are sure to follow."
Pet Project 2017 is open to entrepreneurs building pet care businesses that are in their early stages. The top applicants will be invited to Las Vegas to present their ideas in a private pitch to a judging panel of pet industry experts from Mars and Petco. The event will take place July 25, during the SuperZoo trade show. One winning idea will receive a cash prize of $25,000 to help accelerate their business, and the opportunity to network with successful pet care leaders. Online submissions are now being accepted online.
Early stage startups with less than $5 million in revenue and less than 2 years since incorporation are encouraged to apply for $25,000 in "no strings attached" venture funding.
Joining Jacobs and Weatherup as expert judges are Banfield Pet Hospital senior vice president, Jeannine Taaffe, and Petco CIO, John Zavada.
Pet Project is a collaboration of Pet Coach, Whistle, and is made possible through Mars Petcare and Petco.