LOS ANGELES — Leap Venture Studio, a start-up accelerator created by the Kinship division of Mars Petcare, Michelson Found Animals Foundation and R/GA Ventures, announced May 21 the launch of Leap Venture Academy, a series of in-person and online programs designed to grow early-stage pet care companies.

Leap Venture Academy will commence in June 2019. Its programs will include pitch competitions, bootcamps, classes and webinars, meetups, and hackathons. These will be held throughout the year.

"We were thrilled at the demand for Leap Venture Studio from pet care startups, and learned that we needed to create more outlets for development and growth," says Ben Jacobs, Head of Ventures and Partnerships at Kinship. "Leap Venture Academy will help the earlier stage developing startups get the resources and support they need to prepare them for the future."

Events within Leap Venture Academy will serve as “open pre-accelerator and community-building activities,” according to Leap Venture Studio. All events will be free and open to the public.

Upcoming Leap Venture Academy sessions include a female CEO roundtable, CEO listening tour, informational webinar and animal welfare market overview.

Leap Venture Studio has fostered two groups of pet industry start-ups so far. Applications for the program’s third cohort, which will take place from February to May 2020 in Los Angeles, will be available in fall of 2019.

"With the introduction of the Leap Venture Academy plus the third Leap Venture Studio cohort, we are excited to continue and expand our support for the growing community of innovators in our industry with a range of resources for companies at all stages of development," says Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of Michelson Found Animals. "And we're also pleased to continue to host the third Leap program here in Los Angeles, our home market and the source of a wealth of innovation."

Read about the six companies chosen to participate in Leap Venture Studio 2019.

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