ST. LOUIS — On Jan. 8, Nestlé Purina PetCare announced the finalists of its 2024 Pet Care Innovation Prize. This year’s finalists focus on innovation throughout the gamut of pet food, products, care and services, from alternative protein and allergy-friendly pet nutrition to enrichment toys, cat-specific oral care and more.

Purina’s Pet Care Innovation Prize aims to support pet industry startups across the globe, with this year’s eighth iteration awarding companies from the United States, Canada and Australia. According to Purina, nearly 150 companies from around the world applied for this year’s prize.

This year’s winners include pet nutrition startup Arch Pet Food. Based in Chicago, Arch Pet Food specializes in pet foods and treats using sustainable, alternative proteins and allergen-friendly ingredients. The company’s current portfolio of pet treats and foods leverages ingredients like microalgae, insect proteins and invasive fish species.

Other 2024 winners include:

  • Melbourne, Fla.-based SwiftPaws, a pet toy company focused on enrichment
  • Kansas City, Mo.-based BestyBnb, which focuses on providing temporary housing to pets whose owners cannot adequately care for them during challenging situations
  • Vancouver-based RYERCAT, a cat-specific toothbrush company
  • Perth, Australia-based VetChip, a biotechnology startup aiming to monitor pet heath issues.

Each startup will receive $25,000, mentorship from the Pet Care Innovation team at Purina and Active Capital, and will also have the opportunity to participate in an accelerator bootcamp at Purina’s St. Louis headquarters.

“At Purina, our purpose and passion revolve around enriching the lives of pets and the people who love them,” said Blair Morgan, co-lead of Purina’s 9 Square Ventures group and vice president of strategy and innovation for Purina. “Collaborating with startups that share our enthusiasm for pets and are dedicated to continuous innovation enables us to mutually inspire and learn from each other.

“This year’s group of winners exemplifies the diverse range of possibilities in pet care, and we look forward to working with each of these companies to help accelerate their success in an incredibly competitive and rewarding industry,” Morgan added.

The five finalists will present their businesses in a pitch competition during this year’s Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla. Following this, a grand prize winner will be selected, winning an additional $25,000 from Purina.

Purina’s Pet Care Innovation Prize is a collaboration between Purina’s 9 Square Ventures and investment firm Active Capital. The program aims to support early-stage startups offering innovative businesses that address pet health and wellness through nutrition, services, technology and care products.

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