SAN FRANCISCO — On Feb. 29, plant-based pet nutrition brand PawCo Foods announced the closing of its seed funding round, raising $2 million in investments. The round was led by Elevate Ventures and received participation from PawCo Foods’ angel investors, including Arash Ferdowsi, co-founder of Dropbox.

Founded and led by former Impossible Foods scientist Mahsa Vazin, Ph.D., PawCo Foods launched in August 2022, seeking to bring high-quality, sustainable and scientifically formulated nutrition to dogs’ bowls. Since its launch, the brand has expanded by introducing new plant-based products. Additionally, the brand is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) — making it the first plant-based dog food company to do so, according to the company — to help optimize the nutrition and palatability of its formulas.

“The widespread adoption of plant-based foods has changed how we approach nutrition; however, there has been less innovation in this category when it comes to pet food,” said Christopher Day, chief executive officer of Elevate Ventures. “We are excited about Mahsa’s vision, and background, to bring plant-based nutrition to pets by democratizing access to nutritious and eco-friendly pet food.”

According to PawCo Foods, it also developed the first fresh, plant-based meat for dogs, called GreenMeat™, which serves as the base for all its formulas. The brand’s current products include: InstaBites™, a fresh shelf-stable formula designed for convenience and affordability; LuxBites™, a premium fresh recipe designed to support gut health, boost immune health and enhance nutrient absorption; and GreenBites, the brand’s original recipe of fresh/frozen meals.

PawCo Foods plans to use the funding to scale its operations by opening a second production facility located in the Midwest to complement its current facility in California. The brand will also further invest in its growth, dedicating funds to research and development, new formulas, and marketing strategies to help drive awareness of the plant-based pet food segment.

“I’m excited to partner with Christopher and the team at Elevate Ventures as we embark on a major year for PawCo — through market expansions, new production facilities and big product launches, we intend on solidifying the plant-based pet food category,” Vazin said. “We look forward to growing and providing pet owners with healthy and nutritious options for their dogs, while also creating a product that’s safer and more sustainable for the planet.”

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