Accelerators & Incubators

Leap Venture Studio’s 8th Cohort Demo Day highlights groundbreaking innovations in the pet care industry

The global pet care industry is thriving like never before. According to Research and Markets, the expectation is for projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.22% from 2023 to 2028. This translates to a market opportunity of US$500 billion by 2030, according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s Pet Economy Report. The reason is key trends and drivers that are reshaping the industry landscape, catering to the evolving needs and preferences of pet owners worldwide.

The Leap Venture Studio, venture organization formed in partnership between Mars Petcare, a leading pet care company and Michelson Found Animals, an animal welfare organization, along with R/GA Ventures, has committed to improving the lives of pets and their owners through science and technology. The program is designed to usher in growth for pet care startups.

With the purpose of creating a better world for pets, Mars Petcare’s 100,000 Petcare Associates help pets in more than 130 countries through comprehensive veterinary care, nutrition, breakthrough programs in diagnostics, wearable health monitoring, DNA testing and pet welfare.

??Michelson Found Animals is an innovative animal welfare non-profit that believes pets and people are better together. Dr. Gary Michelson started Found Animals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, establishing the first free microchip registry to help every lost pet find their way home.

The Leap Venture Studio & Academy is the first startup-centric program built to springboard innovation in the growing pet ecosystem. In addition to the six companies selected for the Leap portfolio, a seventh “impact company” was also included in this year’s Leap Venture Studio program. The startups have been working closely with the Leap partners over the past 12 weeks, and the Leap Venture Studio culminated today with an online pitch event, the virtual “demo day”.

Leap welcomed six companies to their portfolio, which demonstrated their efforts in easing life for pets, their owners, and their care givers. For example, GekkoVet is an online diagnostic and treatment tool for veterinary professionals by veterinarians. The company brings the knowledge in interactive format to clinic vets. With science as their basis, it is free for veterinary students and Veterinary University staff.

Innovative Pet Lab is a science-driven pet wellness company empowering the pet community with at-home tests and personalized solutions. ??Majority female-founded, owned and operated, the startup is close to officially being a women-owned business. Their founding team has a combined experience of a 100 years in diagnostic testing.

Omni was founded by veterinarians on a mission to create a healthier and more sustainable pet food that doesn’t compromise on flavour or price. ??Their vet-founded and formulated diets are backed by peer-reviewed research where numerous health benefits are proven and published. ??The startup is trying to release the world’s first “Ozempic” for dogs to combat the obesity epidemic in the pet population.

Scooch is an AI-powered holistic pet health subscription for the new generation of pet parents. Catering to modern pet parents the startup is the winner of AI Startup of the Year 2024 London at UK Startup Awards and was named the Best PetTech Company 2023 by TechRound.

VetVerifi better connects the pet economy by fetching verified vaccination records at the moment they are needed. The startup was awarded an Arch Grant in St. Louis that helped them open a verification operations centre in Washington, Missouri. ?The startup is releasing its Partner API documentation and capabilities this summer to enable enterprise verifications at scale.

WIMBA ??is transforming pet orthopedics with AI and 3D printing technology for custom solutions in minutes. The startup provides a variety of 4D printed orthopedic products for animals, called V-OP, using a new measurement technique and a specialized app, which allows them to address degenerative, post-accidental, or congenital abnormalities in a way that is tailored to the specific needs of the patient.

In addition, Leap included the first ever social impact company in cohort 8 as a special seventh member.

BestyBnB is an impact-driven, technical platform that removes barriers to accessing services and bridges the gap between Human Social Services and Animal Welfare Agencies by enabling and enhancing pet advocacy through Crisis Care and Safety Net Programs, so Agencies can find safe and confidential temporary housing for their clients’ pets until they can be reunited. The startup was awarded the prestigious Human-Animal Bond Research Institute’s 2023 Innovation Award for Pet-Inclusive Infrastructure, ??and recently travelled to Washington D.C. to speak at HABRI’s Spring Policy Forum on Mental Health & Companion Animals. ??

The Leap Venture Studio represents Michelson Found Animals and Mars Petcare’s commitment to improving the lives of pets and their owners through science, technology, and innovation. The Studio is supported by R/GA Ventures, a world-class services platform that connects the startups with award-winning strategists, technologists, designers, and consultants. The combined networks and resources of R/GA, Michelson Found Animals, and Mars Petcare make the Leap Venture Studio the most effective startup accelerator in the pet care industry.

The pitches came with warm pet stories as well as compelling investment potentials. As we enter the AI era, pet care isn’t going to be left out of the benefits of this emerging tech and is offering ideas like virtual checkups, pet health information, information access. Other technology like 3D printing, cloud, database are all pushing for pet friendly solutions leading to market partnerships with global reach.

Navanwita Bora Sachdev

Navanwita is the editor of The Tech Panda who also frequently publishes stories in news outlets such as The Indian Express, Entrepreneur India, and The Business Standard

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Navanwita Bora Sachdev

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