They won $10K each.
Five pet-focused startups have won $10,000 each and are competing to win the 2017/2018 Pet Care Innovation Prize grand prize.
The Grand Prize Winner will be announced in March 2018, and all five finalists will attend Global Pet Expo, courtesy of the Pet Care Innovation Prize team and the American Pet Products Association, producer of the show. Additionally, the Grand Prize-winning startup will receive a free booth at Global Pet Expo and up to an additional $10,000 in marketing support.
(See the list of finalists below.)
This year's five finalists each receive a trip to St. Louis, where Purina's global headquarters is located, for a Pet Care Business Boot Camp, a multi-day accelerator program to get advice, mentorship and access to business partners. All of the finalists will then present their businesses to an audience of industry influencers early next year at a Purina Better With Pets event in New York.
Now in its second year, the Pet Care Innovation Prize is a partnership between Purina and investment firms Active Capital and Cultivation Capital.
The competition is open to companies that focus on key areas of dog and cat needs, care and ownership including pet food, nutrition, care, play and technology. More than 85 companies from nine countries applied for the 2017/2018 Pet Care Innovation Prize.
Past Pet Care Innovation Prize finalists and winners have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity and prizes from investors and accelerator programs across the U.S., according to the release.
"We were thrilled to help launch the Pet Care Innovation Prize last year," said Cultivation Capital Managing partner Brian Matthews. "Our focus is investing in companies whose ideas have the potential to transform the way we live and work. Our team sees lots of exciting potential from the pet care startups that come through the Pet Care Innovation Prize."
"The ongoing pursuit of innovation is a key to success in every consumer-focused industry, but the unique ability to change and enrich the lives of pets and people sets the pet care category apart," said Blair Morgan, Co-Lead of Purina's 9 Square Ventures Division and Vice President of Innovation at Purina. "The Pet Care Innovation Prize is Purina's way of working with other pet lovers to reward ideas that will raise the bar in making the lives of pets and the people who love them better."
The finalists are:
AnimalBiome, Berkeley, CA
Founders: Holly Ganz and Kari Goodman
AnimalBiome is helping the millions of dogs and cats in the U.S. living with chronic digestive disorders by offering microbiome-based supplements and non-invasive diagnostics.
BareItAll, Chicago, IL
Founders: Michael Cody and Logan Honeycutt
BareItAll makes healthy, environmentally friendly pet food for dogs and cats utilizing the invasive Asian Carp as the main protein source, creating a commercial market to help reduce the populations and prevent them from entering the Great Lakes.
Barkly Pets, Washington, D.C.
Founders: Christopher Gonzalez, Dave Comiskey and Jim Camut
Barkly is the highest rated, most reliable dog walking app to simplify everyday and essential pet care needs, available to users 365 days a year in 60 minutes notice or less.
Fetch Labs Inc., San Jose, CA and New York City, NY
Founders: Greg Tariff, Adam Jackowitz and Steve Malko|
Fetch Labs Inc. is making pet life management simple for pet parents with the Fetch My Pet app.
PupJoy, Chicago, IL
Founders: Dustin McAdams and Bill Wilkins
PupJoy provides the industry's most customizable and vendor-friendly subscription box for dogs and their parents as well as an online store for product replenishment and larger ticket items.