Leap Venture Studio Welcomes New Set of Pet-Tech Entrepreneurs

The participating company founders of the third Leap Venture Studio.

Seven pet-tech entrepreneurs are gearing up to participate in the third cohort of the Leap Venture Studio, a startup program that is designed to foster innovation within the industry. The program was launched in 2018 by Michelson Found Animals Foundation, R/GA Ventures and Kinship, a division of Mars Petcare in Franklin, Tenn.

"Consumers were expecting innovation from an antiquated market, and the startup disruptors promising innovation needed the expertise, network and mentorship to attain their business objectives," officials said in a press release. "Thus, Kinship, Michelson Found Animals and R/GA Ventures joined forces to create Leap Venture Studio, a startup innovation platform on a mission to support and help entrepreneurs fulfill these promises."

The companies that will be participating in Leap’s third cohort are:

  • Bark Buildings, a company in Jersey City, N.J., that is "redefining ‘dog-friendly’ in residential apartment buildings." It is the first experiential pet care company partnering with multi-family communities to create pet amenity programs and provide services for pet owners, according to officials.
  • Dogdrop in Los Angeles, which dubs itself as "new kind of dog day care based around convenience and flexibility—monthly subscription, multiple retail locations, well-designed and tech-enabled."
  • Dogly in New York, which is described as a marketplace that "helps pet parents worry less by vetting and bringing together trainers, holistic vets, nutritionists and other wellness advocates in one place to learn from and shop recommended products so we can all live better with our dogs."
  • Dogo App, a mobile dog training app based in Berlin, is designed to help strengthen the bond between dog owners and their four-legged friends, according to officials.
  • St. Louis-based Native Pet is setting out to redefine pet supplements by "harnessing the nutritional power of whole food ingredients to deliver highly effective, clean label supplements."
  • PetHospice, which is based in Berkeley, Calif., offers in-home palliative care, hospice and euthanasia, telehealth consults focused on quality of life, grief counseling, free education and a professionally moderated online community, according to officials.
  • Project Blu, a company in Wales, is converting polluting materials such as ocean-bound plastic waste into dog beds, cat beds, leashes and toys, according to officials.

The partners have previously supported the past cohorts in topics such as brand strategy and design, customer acquisition, product formulation, fundraising expertise and networking. Altogether, the 12 Leap Venture Studio portfolio companies making up the past two cohorts of Leap have raised more than $50 million in venture capital funding, and all companies remain active, officials said.

Similar to the two previous cohorts, all companies will work with a curated team of R/GA strategists, technologists, designers and consultants, and receive mentorship from executives at Kinship and Michelson Found Animals, according to officials.

"These collaborations intend to help companies enhance their business plans, prepare for fundraising milestones and establish minimum viable brands," officials said.

The Leap program will begin at the R/GA office in Los Angeles and conclude with a Demo Day at Coalition by Kinship in New York. The conference is designed to give each startup an opportunity to present to industry leaders, partners, investors and customers from the technology and innovation community, officials said.