BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Ten entrepreneurs in the pet product space will have the opportunity to connect with pet industry leaders, pitch their innovations and collaborate in this mastermind solutions event during the two-day Pet Innovation Challenge, co-sponsored by Factory LLC and New Hope Network.

Participating companies will compete for more than $50,000 in funding and support, which includes media exposure, a booth at Natural Products Expo East in 2020, a spot in the New Product Showcase at SuperZoo 2020 and six months of services from Factory.

Innovators in the pet food and treat industry, including those working with alternative proteins, functional nutrition, wellness and supplements, and pet care technology, were encouraged to apply by Sept. 5. The 10 companies selected to participate in the Pet Innovation Challenge are:

  • Because Animals
  • Animal Biome
  • TEEF by Primal Health
  • Toletta Cat
  • Clue Jay
  • Shameless Pets
  • Chippin
  • Jiminy’s
  • Obe
  • Mella

Each company will present their biggest business challenge to more than 100 pet industry leaders in attendance, then break out with them to develop solutions. The Pitch Event and a networking opportunity will take place Thursday evening, Oct. 2 and the Innovation Challenge will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3.

The agenda for Oct. 3 includes a networking breakfast followed by a welcome from Factory Founder Rich Thompson and a keynote speaker. Then, each company will present their brand and the biggest business challenge they are currently facing and break out into groups based on their experience and skillsets, according to Factory.

After nearly two hours in the breakout sessions, the groups will reconvene and companies will each present the solutions they developed to address the challenges mentioned earlier that morning. The day will end with closing remarks and a networking happy hour.


About the brands

Because Animals is a pet nutrition startup developing a line of cat treats formulated with clean, lab-cultured meat, with its first product, cat treats incorporating cultured mouse proteins expected to hit shelves in 2020.

Animal Biome is all about the gut health of pets and offers microbiome tests and supplements for cats and dogs to address pets with digestive, immune system and skin issues.

TEEF, a subsidiary of Primal Health, is using a proprietary combination of four bioactive ingredients — soluble fiber, amino acid, vitamin and sodium bicarbonate — to enhance oral health in dogs. The powder solution can be added to the dog’s water bowl. TEEF recently won Leap Venture Studio’s grand prize competition, earning $15,000 to further develop the brand.

Chicago-based Shameless Pets formulates dog treats using upcycled ingredients, working with farmers and other food processors to use spent, nutrient-rich ingredients that would otherwise be wasted. The company’s platform is to create a sustainable process while providing key nutritional benefits through its dog treats.

Chippin and Jiminy’s are two companies utilizing sustainable insect protein as a nutrient source in dog food and treats. Chippin uses cricket protein to develop three formulas of dog treats, and Jiminy’s most recently launched two complete-and-balanced formulas of dog food with insect protein as the first ingredient in each.

The remaining four companies — Toletta Cat, Clue Jay, Obe and Mella — offer pet healthcare related tools, giving consumers more hands-on resources for tracking and testing their pets overall health.

Factory LLC is an accelerator program for brands across a wide range of industries, including pet treats. Located in a renovated Bethlehem Steel Corp. factory built in 1940 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Factory provides these brands with a robust team of consumer packaged goods professionals to rapidly grow the companies and produce value .

New Hope Network is a business-to-business media firm for healthy lifestyle brands.

Those interested in attending the Pet Innovation Challenge in Bethlehem may register for the event through New Hope.

Read more about products and brands shaking up the pet food and treat market.