LOS ANGELES — Two plant-based pet food startups have been chosen, along with six other early-stage pet industry innovators representing six countries, to participate in Leap Venture Studio’s 2021 accelerator program. Both pet food brands identify their plant-powered products as a nutritionally viable way to achieve sustainability by taking pressure off the global meat supply. 

The program begins Feb. 8 and will end with an online pitch event, Demo Day, on May 6. Each participating startup will receive up to $200,000 in investments for being accepted in the 2021 Studio program.

Oakland, Calif.-based Petaluma, Inc. is crafting plant-based, oven-baked kibble alternatives for dogs using solely plant-based, organic ingredients.

THE PACK is another plant-based pet food producer based in London. The brand is gearing up to launch its first vegan dog food formulas in early 2021.

Other startups that will participate in this year’s Leap Venture Studios program are offering artificial intelligence pet technology, holistic wellness for pets and pet parents, and pet-friendly travel solutions.

Oliver Pets, based in Mexico City and Buenos Aires, Argentina, has created an all-inclusive pet service platform to help pet parents. Moss Beach, Calif.-based Pebble Naturals, is connecting animal shelters directly with pet pharmaceutical providers to help them save money.

Coconut Creek, Fla.-based petNmind Naturals is a small, independent retailer focused on high-quality products, product education, simplifying pet care services and local delivery services. The Barke Shoppe, based in New York City, is another premium pet retailer specializing in grooming and getting pet groomers trained and certified.

Toletta Cats Inc., based in Fujisawa, Japan, has designed a “smart” litter box to help pet owners detect early signs of common feline diseases. Athens, Greece-based Woof Together is working to standardize the hospitality industry to become more pet friendly.

“It is clear that innovation in pet care is happening in every corner of the world,” said Asad Butt, director of ventures and partnerships of Kinship. “We are proud that this year’s Leap cohort is representative of those trends.”

Leap Venture Studio is hosted by Kinship, a division of Mars Petcare, and Michelson Found Animals, a foundation promoting the benefits of pet ownership and supporting animal rescue organizations. The program will take place virtually this year to accommodate continued pandemic concerns. Leap Venture Studio and its sponsors said the virtual format of this year’s event opened the door to include “an even more diverse and international set of startup founders.”

“This unique group of companies may not have been realized had our travel not been limited,” said Brett Yates, chief executive officer of Michelson Found Animals. “And we can already expect that these incredible companies will make a lasting change in the pet care industry.”

Each early-stage company will be exposed to a team of strategists, technologists, designers, consultants and mentors through Kinship, Michelson Found Animals and R/GA Ventures, a global startup consultant supporting Leap Venture Studio.

Read more about Leap Venture Studio's past programs and other works in the pet care industry.

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