ST. LOUIS — Nestlé Purina PetCare revealed that two pet nutrition startups — Artie and Happy Bond — have won the 2023 Pet Care Innovation Prize, alongside three other pet care companies. The five startups were selected from the United States and Canada and represent the latest technology and innovation within the $123.6 billion pet care industry

Almost 140 companies from the United States and Canada applied for the seventh annual Pet Care Innovation prize. The prize is a collaboration between Purina’s 9 Square Ventures group and investment leaders from Active Capital. The Pet Care Innovation Prize seeks to support early-stage pet industry startups that address pet health and wellness and offer pet services, technology, litter or nutrition products. 

“Enriching the lives of pets and the people who love them is our purpose and our passion at Purina,” said Blair Morgan, co-lead of 9 Square Ventures and vice president of strategy and innovation at Purina. “Working with startups who share our passion for pets and the tireless pursuit of innovation allows us to inspire and help each other on this journey.”

Phoenix-based Artie offers an appliance system that prepares artisan-inspired, home-cooked meals for dogs. The startup’s dog food formulas, called Harvest Bowls, are formulated with whole proteins, vegetables, fruits, grains and vitamins.

Los Angeles-based Happy Bond produces preservative-free dog food. Formulated with premium, human-grade ingredients, the diets are free from fillers and additives. The company also offers functional pet supplements targeting specific health concerns, including hip and joint health.

Other winners include EpiPaws, a pet age test kit; PDX Biotech, the creator of rapid periodontal disease screening tests for veterinarians; and, a company that uses artificial intelligence to create predictive healthcare products.

“This year's class of winners showcases the breadth of opportunities that exist in the pet industry, and our team is excited to help mentor and support them as they grow,” Morgan said.

The winners of the Pet Care Innovation Prize will receive $25,000, mentorship, and will participate in Purina’s accelerator bootcamp in St. Louis. In March, the winners will gather at Global Pet Expo to pitch their companies to investors. One grand prize winner will be chosen at the expo and will receive an additional $25,000.

Winners of the 2022 Pet Care Innovation Prize included pet nutrition startups Bright Planet Pet and uPetsia, and the grand prize winner was FluentPet.

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