Meet 5 New Innovative Pet Startups
Leap Venture Studio is a springboard for these companies designing “flexitarian” pet diets, state-of-the-art health tools, and more.
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During the pandemic, pet adoption skyrocketed, meaning pet parenthood became one of the most common new commitments people took on in lockdown, along with sourdough bread baking and using a gallon of detergent as a free weight. Following the adoption boom came an increased demand for veterinary tele-health appointments, and finally, for millennial pet parent-focused products that center sustainability, personalization, and holistic health.
Folks solving the pain points of pet parenthood have faced the unique challenge of streamlining the experience and all the challenges that come with it. Leap Venture Studio is committed to finding those solutions. By identifying companies that are using creative approaches to new-age pet parenting challenges, Leap is supporting these innovative startups in their early-stage journeys. Below, here’s the (healthily portioned) scoop on all of Leap’s exciting new companies to watch.
Bright Planet Pet
Bright Planet Pet believes that all dogs deserve a chance at making the world more sustainable. While humans have meat alternatives to turn to, why shouldn’t dogs? With the planet at the core of their mission, the company has launched 100 percent plant-based vegan dog treats that taste and smell like real meat. According to CEO and founder Katherine Ellison, Bright Planet was “inspired by the human food trend of plant-based meat including companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.”
After years of working in pet nutrition, Ellison learned that pet parents have developed an interest in feeding their pets food and treats that align with their personal values and lifestyles. So, for vegan or flexitarian pet parents who get the ick feeding their dog a bowl full of meat, there’s now a totally meat-free alternative. Made from a base of chickpea flour, brown, rice, sweet potato, and yeast, Bright Planet’s treats are free from corn, soy, wheat, peas, and artificial ingredients.
“But most importantly,” Ellison adds, “they are unbelievably delicious, and the dogs love them.”
Toronto-based company Dog Child is remastering what it means to give our pets a home cooked meal by launching simple easy to make meals using upcycled ingredients to empower pet parents to cook nutrient-rich meals at home. Spoiler: Most of what you’ll need is already in your fridge. Dog Child has enlisted a team of experts, including veterinarians and nutritionists, in order to develop healthy, delicious and nutritionally-balanced formulas to make the process of home-cooked meals easier, faster, and safer.
When CEO and founder Nicole Marchand was looking to make the switch to whole foods for her dog’s diet, she says she “quickly realized the options available were either fresh food delivery services — extremely expensive with wasteful packaging — or complicated online recipes with hard to source ingredients.”
Aside from the fact that cooking for your pet at home rarely comes with an endorsement from a veterinarian, many DIY recipes lack essential nutrients that pets need.
“That’s where the idea of Dog Child was born,” Marchand says. “The goal was to empower dog parents to cook for their pets with the peace of mind that their wellbeing is covered, and they are truly giving their pets the best.”
With human connection, culture, and collaboration at the core of its mission, Hound is furthering the pet-care worker’s journey with their veterinary employee-experience platform. By providing better care to veterinary teams, Hound is ensuring better care for all pets. While working for more than a decade in veterinary medicine, Hound’s founder Andrew Luna noticed pain points in the industry, citing “toxic culture, status management, inadequate compensation, poor leadership, and even the tragic loss of a colleague and friend” as a few.
After completing his degree, with the issues plaguing veterinary medicine in mind, he joined a veterinary practice in Austin called Paz, which centered the people working in veterinary medicine with an emphasis on community building. These are values he attributes to the practice's success. Years later, with this ethos in mind, Luna got to work creating Hound.
“Our goal is to empower, inspire, and support the people of veterinary medicine and build a better, brighter future for our people,” he shares. In a field that can be extremely isolating and emotionally taxing, Hound aims to bring people together and create healthy-working environments that foster a passion for animals.
Mella is an ecosystem of connected wellness monitoring products for both veterinarians and parents. Their products have been designed with pet health, monitoring challenges in mind, such as their non-invasive digital thermometer — an accurate and fear-free way to take your pet’s temperature. According to CEO Anya Babbitt, whose Shih Tzu mix, Mella, is the company’s namesake, Mella has “taken lessons from human health care and applied them to pets” to improve the veterinary experience for doctors, pets, and pet parents.
Mella’s also taking steps to improve pet care outside of the veterinarian’s office. They’ve developed technologies that create more effective tele-health visits by helping you track your pet’s symptoms at home. By digitizing their products, which range from diabetes monitoring devices to tracking chip readers, Mella aims to create an interconnected network of health information to ensure your pet is getting the best treatment possible.
Perhaps most crucially, Mella was created by pet parents committed to helping pets live happy, healthy, and longer lives. “Each one of our products is inspired by and lovingly named after one of our pets,” Babbitt says.
PetHub offers modern pet identification systems to monitor your pet’s whereabouts in real-time through its data platform and subscription membership service that helps pet parents keep their pets happy, safe, and protected.
The idea for PetHub came when founder Tom Arnold found himself wishing there was a technology solution to managing his pets’ needs. “When his cat got out and he had to scramble to find recent photos, and other information to make a lost pet poster, he didn't know how to update her microchip which, like her ID tag, had his old phone number and address on it,” Lorien Clemens, co-founder and CEO of PetHub, shares.
Taz made it home the next morning, but Arnold left his career at Microsoft to address the challenge of lost pets never making it home. He invented a QR coded pet ID in 2010 that allows pet parents to build a custom comprehensive data profile with all of their pet’s information. And PetHub was born.
PetHub aims to remove the friction of managing your pet’s life by using technology to cast a wide net — broadcasting missing pet notifications within a 50 mile radius, sending found-pet alerts, and providing important information about your pet’s medical history to help lost pets find their way home.
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Avery is an editor at The Wildest. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her fiancé and cat, Chicken, and has high hopes that one of them will let her adopt a dog.