ST. LOUIS — Nestlé Purina PetCare on Jan. 27 announced the five winners of its 2021 Pet Care Innovation Prize cohort, to which Purina awarded a combined total of $50,000 in prizes and support.
"Purina is committed to supporting early stage pet care startups," said Blair Morgan, co-lead of Purina's 9 Square Ventures group, and vice president, strategy and innovation for Purina. "Our culture thrives on collaboration and mentorship, and by extending that outside of our walls to startups who share our passion for enriching the lives of pets, we are able to both help and be inspired by a new generation of entrepreneurs."
Of these five companies, one proudly represented the pet food market with its sous-vide style fresh dog food formulas. Austin, Texas-based A Pup Above curates its dog diets with 100% human-grade ingredients, offering full sourcing traceability and an average of 72% more protein than its gently cooked dog food competitors.
The other four companies include: ClueJay, a digital diagnostic platform for accessing on-demand lab work and direct-to-consumer screening tests; Kitty Sift, a sustainable cat litter alternative made from 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard; Mella Pet Care, a veterinary technology and diagnostic tool provider; and VetGuardian, a zero-touch telemonitor for veterinary use that measures pet vitals from up to five feet away.
As a result of being chosen, these five companies will each receive $10,000 in funding and mentorship from Purina’s Pet Care Innovation team. They will also be invited to participate in a virtual accelerator boot camp, where they will have the chance to connect with other pet industry professionals to help grow their brands.
The five companies will also participate in a virtual pitch competition in March, of which one grand prize winner will be chosen to receive an additional $10,000 and the opportunity to partner with Purina on a future project.
A Pup Above, ClueJay, Kitty Sift, Mella Pet Care and VetGuardian were chosen as finalists among more than 100 startup submissions spanning 43 cities around the world.
Purina’s Pet Care Innovation Prize is made possible by its 9 Square Ventures division and Active Capital. Businesses considered for the prize are startups in their early stages working in the pet care industry with innovative ideas in pet health and wellness, services, technology, nutrition and new products.
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