Press release: Petco Foundation
Doggy dating scheduling technology, an online pet adoption communications tool that offers two-way video communication and a crowdsourcing platform to prevent animal euthanasia are this year’s winners of the 3rd Annual Innovation Showdown, a collaborative project from the Petco Foundation, The Jackson Galaxy Project and the nation’s top animal welfare organizations. Seeking to spark creative solutions by encouraging and investing in lifesaving innovation to reduce the number of animals euthanized in the U.S., each participating investing organization contributed $50,000 in lifesaving funds for a total of $450,000 available to invest in the award-winning ideas.
“The Innovation Showdown shows how thinking out of the box in animal welfare to solve problems is another way to help us become a life-saving nation,” said Susanne Kogut, the Petco Foundation president. “The nation’s top animal welfare organizations coming together to provide insight, guidance and ultimately investments to launch these ideas is instrumental to their success.”
Held at HSUS Animal Care Expo 2019 in New Orleans, a national gathering of more than 2,500 animal welfare professionals and volunteers, three animal welfare organizations were selected as finalists from more than a hundred entries to pitch their ideas in person to a judging panel of Innovation Investors.
The 2019 Innovation Showdown winners include:
- Dallas Animal Services – Dallas, TX ($200,000 investment): Customer service system that utilizes a custom phone app and two-way video communication to streamline the adoption process.
- Day of the Dogs – Houston, TX ($175,000 investment): First ever donation collection platform dedicated to preventing euthanasia of animals in shelters across the country by harnessing the power of crowd-funding.
- Front Street Animal Shelter – Sacramento, CA ($75,000 investment): Doggydate.org is an automated scheduling technology that enables individuals to seamlessly “check out” a shelter dog for a day.
The judging panel of Innovation Investors included Showdown founders Jackson Galaxy (The Jackson Galaxy Project) and Susanne Kogut (the Petco Foundation), along with Jodi Buckman (ASPCA), Julie Castle (Best Friends Animal Society), Mary Ippoliti-Smith (Maddie’s Fund), Aimee Gilbreath (Michelson Found Animals Foundation), Laura Maloney (Annenberg Foundation), Christy Counts (WaterShed Animal Fund), and Matthew Zarcufsky (Mary Jo and Hank Greenberg Animal Foundation).
“I was so impressed by the passion, creativity, and ingenuity we saw from this year’s entries and the finalists,” said Jackson Galaxy, founder of The Jackson Galaxy Project. “As a long time rescue worker, this excites me so much because I ‘ve seen firsthand the power of innovation in our field. I know the winners of this year’s showdown will, without a shadow of a doubt, improve the lives of animals within shelters and save more animal lives nationwide.”
Earlier this year, non-profit or municipal animal welfare organizations and for-profit companies, submitted their best ideas to save animal lives for the opportunity of investment at the Innovation Showdown. Investors selected Dallas Animal Services and Day of the Dogs ideas as the top two finalists. The public was also given the opportunity to vote during the Wild Card Round of the Innovation Showdown and chose Front Street Animal Shelter’s idea for the opportunity to pitch to investors alongside the other two finalists during the Showdown at Animal Care Expo. You can view the full Innovation Showdown and see the organizations’ lifesaving pitches here.
The Innovation Showdown, created in 2017 by the Petco Foundation and The Jackson Galaxy Project, is modeled after the critically acclaimed “Shark Tank” for entrepreneurs, but with one major difference. The Innovation Showdown’s ultimate goal is not a financial return on investment, but a lifesaving return on investment to save the lives of more animals in need.