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Purina’s Pet Care Innovation Prize Finalists Unveiled

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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High-Protein Meat-Free Dog Food Debuts at SuperZoo

It incorporates yeast proteins.

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LAS VEGAS — Wild Earth Inc. has launched what it calls “the industry’s first line of high-protein, meat-free dog food” at the SuperZoo Conference in Las Vegas.

The food will be available in independent pet food retailers nationwide starting in September, with United Pacific Pet serving as the exclusive distributor in California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. The product can also be purchased online at https://wildearth.com.

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“The effects of meat production on the environment are well-documented and utterly unsustainable, and pet food is a large part of the problem. The irony is that there is a better way, dogs can thrive on a clean, plant-based diet,” said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt. “When we set out to make the healthiest food for our pets and the environment, we knew we had to look past meat. We’re of course also animal lovers, so kind, cruelty-free nutrition that avoids lab animal testing is of utmost importance to us.”

Wild Earth states that its pet food “replaces factory-farmed meat with yeast proteins that provide the 10 essential amino acids that dogs require without the harmful effects of meat production.”

According to a press release:

Wild Earth’s clean protein formula is the industry’s first dog food that uses yeast protein as the main ingredient, a unique, major source of dietary fiber that’s absent in animal meat and highly lacking in conventional dog foods. Thus, the formula provides a clean protein source with an added nutritional boost.

The veterinarian-developed food offers 31% complete proteins in every scoop and a natural umami (meaty) taste that dogs love. By utilizing 100% purposeful ingredients — oats, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, blueberries, pumpkin, spinach — dogs are treated to healthy fibers, vitamins, antioxidants, chloride and potassium. And these sources provide energy, heart health, immune system support, better digestion and nutrient absorption, among other key benefits. There are also no artificial preservatives or flavors and no corn, soy or rice in Wild Earth’s formula.

Wild Earth has secured more than $16 million in funding thus far, including a Series A round led by VegInvest announced earlier this year and $550,000 from Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and judge on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

“I invested in Wild Earth because they have the potential to transform the Pet Food industry just like Beyond Meat has transformed the meat industry,” said Cuban. “The release of their first flagship product, a clean, high protein dog food, is a huge milestone for the whole pet food industry.”

Yeast-based proteins are approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe for dogs.

“A common misconception is that dogs need animal meat in their diet, but what they truly need is protein. And protein is readily available to dogs from a variety of plant and fungi-based sources. In fact, many would be surprised to learn that the fungal proteins used by Wild Earth contain more protein per gram than beef,” said Wild Earth Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Ernie Ward.

Representatives from Wild Earth will be available at this year’s SuperZoo conference, booth #565.

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Bayer to Sell Animal Health Business in $7.6B Deal

The deal will double Elanco’s companion animal business.

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GREENFIELD, IN — Elanco Animal Health Inc. plans to acquire Bayer AG’s animal health business in a $7.6 billion deal.

The transaction “will create the second-largest animal health leader,” according to a press release from Elanco (NYSE:ELAN). It will double Elanco’s companion animal business.

“This combination will join two complementary animal health-focused entities previously under the human pharma umbrella into a dedicated company focused on delivering for farmers, veterinarians and pet owners,” said Jeffrey N. Simmons, president and CEO of Elanco. “It creates increased speed, attention and investment to bring customers greater access and options at a variety of price points to make a difference in the lives of animals.

“We look forward to adding Bayer Animal Health’s employees’ breadth of expertise. Ultimately, we believe these increased capabilities and knowledge will allow us to better support the veterinarian, creating a bridge between the pet owner and the veterinarian where relationships don’t exist today.”

Bayer AG’s CEO, Werner Baumann, said: “Our Animal Health business is among the pioneers of this sector, having built up an attractive portfolio and secured well-established market positions in the companion and farm animal segments. And now, the combination with Elanco will give rise to a leading competitor in the animal health industry, benefiting customers, employees and shareholders alike.”

Elanco will finance the transaction through both cash and equity. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions,

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78 Animals Rescued From Fire at Pet Resort

Some pets were treated for smoke inhalation.

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Firefighters rescued 78 animals from a fire at Pet Paradise, a pet resort in Charlottesville, Va., on Sunday.

Dogs and cats were taken to local veterinary clinics in the area to be treated for smoke inhalation, CBS 19 News reported. (Watch a CBS 19 News video about the fire below.)

The Daily Progress reported that about 10 animals were in critical condition. Some animals were being taken to the Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital, and some were going to shelters and foster homes.

In a message on its website Monday morning, Pet Paradise Charlottesville stated:

Our management team continues to be focused on ensuring the safety of all the pets at Pet Paradise Charlottesville after this emergency. As of this morning, we have contacted all the owners and notified them of their pets locations. The pets previously reported in critical condition are now in stable condition and being cared for by local veterinary hospitals. We currently have 2 cats and 1 dog that escaped during the emergency last night. Our team members spent the night searching for these pets and our number one priority is locating them and safely returning them to our owners. Our efforts today will be focused on locating these pets.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at about 6:25 p.m. and had extinguished it by 8 p.m. One firefighter was taken to the hospital after suffering heat-related injuries, according to CBS 19.

It’s still unknown what caused the fire.

Watch a news video about the fire:

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