Leap Venture Studio has selected eight pet care startups for its latest cohort. The startups were chosen for their unique products and services, and represent various segments within the pet industry, such as vegan pet food and treats, artificial intelligence technology and pet-friendly travel, according to officials.
The startups joining Leap Venture Studio’s fourth cohort are:
• Oliver Pets in Mexico City, Mexico, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, an all-in-one service platform that makes “pet parenting simpler and more fun,” according to officials.
• Pebble Naturals in Moss Beach, Calif., which helps shelters save money on medications by connecting them directly to manufacturers, according to officials.
• Petaluma Inc. in Oakland, Calif., a public benefit corporation that formulates sustainable dog nutrition with environmentally-friendly and animal-free ingredients, officials said.
• petNmind Naturals in Coconut Creek, Fla., which aims to enhance the bond between pets and their humans by focusing on quality products, insightful education, simple pet-washing services and local product delivery, which creates peace of mind for pet owners and a healthy lifestyle for pets, according to officials.
• The Bark Shoppe in New York, a pet care company specializing in pet grooming. They aim to standardize and certify pet groomers with their flagship grooming school and online training platform, according to officials.
• The Pack in London, which is on a mission to cook-up plant-based meals for every dog-bowl in the world, officials said. A kind that’s better for dogs, and the planet too, officials added.
• Toletta Cats Inc. in Fujisawa, Japan, described as a “smart” cat litter box capable of detecting early symptoms of common feline diseases, without the stress of a veterinarian visit, officials said.
• Woof Together in Athens, Greece, a startup that assesses, certifies and trains pet-friendly hospitality businesses, according to officials.
The Leap Venture Studio is the first pet care-specific startup accelerator and represents Kinship, a division of Mars Petcare, and Michelson Found Animals’ commitment to improving the lives of pets and their owners, according to officials.
“This year’s program takes place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” officials said. “In a positive and ironic twist, the pandemic caused the implementation of travel restrictions, thereby allowing Leap to attract an even more diverse and international set of startup founders.”
Brett Yates, CEO of Michelson Found Animals, added, “This unique group of companies may not have been realized had our travel not been limited. And we can already expect that these incredible companies will make a lasting change in the pet care industry.”
The startups will grow their companies with the support of R/GA Ventures, according to officials. Each company 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. The goal of the program is for each company to enhance their business plans, prepare for fundraising milestones and establish minimum viable brands, officials said. Additionally, each company received an investment of up to $200,000 for being accepted into the Studio, officials further noted.
The Leap Venture Studio will culminate in an online pitch event where the companies will present to investors, industry leaders and the startup community in May.