NEW YORK — In April, Inc. released its 2024 Female Founders 250, the seventh annual list recognizing women entrepreneurs “making significant waves in business.” Among this list, three women founders from the pet industry were recognized.

According to Inc., this year’s list was culled from thousands of entries throughout the United States, examining each company’s revenue growth, sales, funding, audience size and more. Combined, these women founders grew their companies’ revenue in 2023 to more than $8.86 billion and raised $6.2 billion in funding, according to the publication.

Pet industry women recognized include:

  • Katie Spies, founder and chief executive officer of Maev, for more than doubling Maev’s employee growth and revenue. 
  • Donie Yamamoto, founder and chief executive officer of Vital Pet Life, for bringing transparency to the pet food industry, requiring third-party verification of ingredients to prevent fish oil fraud, and promoting pet health through her company Vital Pet Life.
  • Svanika Balasubramanian, co-founder and chief executive officer of rePurpose Global, for tackling global plastic pollution and growing rePurpose Global’s revenue by 150% from 2022 to 2023. 
Katie Spies, founder and CEO of Maev, with her two dogs George (left) and Winnie

Katie Spies, founder and CEO of Maev, with her two dogs George (left) and Winnie.

| Source: Travis Hallmark

Spies founded Maev in 2018, aiming to transform the way people feed their dogs. Maev specializes in flash-frozen, raw dog foods formulated with real ingredients and visual inclusions that consumers recognize. Maev’s offerings currently span raw diets, including one for puppies, and supplement bars to additional nutrition, a bone broth topper and nutritional bundles. 

Yamamoto founded Vital Pet Life in 2017, seeking to address common health issues in pets with sustainable, transparent and effective supplement products. Upon founding the business, Yamamoto found transparency in the fish oil pet space severely lacking and partnered with supplier Bioriginal and verification firm ORIVO to ensure the traceability of Vital Pet Life’s supply chain. Vital Pet Life’s current offerings span fish oil, salmon oil and glucosamine liquid supplements, as well as pet shampoos, all touting enhanced transparency and traceability. 

“What an honor it is to be a part of such an esteemed and innovative group, all of whom I admire and respect for what they’ve brought to their industries,” Yamamoto said. “This past year has been both a struggle and an inspiration. After being plagued by rampant fraud and price spikes in the broken wild Alaskan salmon oil supply chain, I learned to not let fear hold me back.

Donie Yamamoto, founder and CEO of Vital Pet Life

Donie Yamamoto, founder and CEO of Vital Pet Life. 

| Source: Vital Pet Life

“As a family-owned business, 2023 taught us that progress is often nonlinear,” she added. “Through intense research and development and finally collaboration with those who share our transparency and sustainability goals, we made it to the other side. Our small yet mighty pet wellness brand remains true to our ethos and continues to heal pet families, while providing a reliable and ethical supply network of certified fish oil for pets. I’m humbled to have been recognized and named on the 2024 Female Founders list by Inc., a publication held in high regard as a leading authority.”

Balasubramanian co-founded rePurpose Global in 2016 with the goal to create a global community taking action against plastic waste. Since its founding, rePurpose Global has helped recover about 24.6 million kgs (54.2 million lbs) of nature-bound plastic throughout seven countries around the world. Many pet food brands have partnered with rePurpose Global, including v-dogRaised RightWaggin’ WaterEarth AnimalCampfire TreatsNature’s LogicFreshpetRawTernative and Vital Pet Life. In partnering with rePurpose Global, companies can become certified plastic neutral by funding the removal of as much plastic as they use. 

“The past year, for many, will go down as one of the hardest ever — between a funding freeze and ad-spending pull back,” said Diana Ransom, executive editor of Inc. “The female founders on this year’s list are a testament to what triumph over adversity looks like. They should all be proud of this singular accomplishment.”

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