Press release: Leap Venture Studio
On February 11, three partners in the pet care and innovation industries—Kinship, Michelson Found Animals Foundation and R/GA Ventures—announced the companies participating in the third cohort of the Leap Venture Studio (Leap), the first startup program designed to foster innovation in the fast-growing pet industry. Hailing from Germany, U.K. and across the U.S., the new cohort of seven is primed to disrupt the pet care industry in the gaming, sustainability, health care, nutrition, subscription services and marketplaces categories.
In the past decade, the pet care market has seen a significant surge and change in consumer behavior. As pets of all kinds have become integral family members, pet owners’ purchase patterns have shifted to reflect a higher level of care. Owners now expect that their pets’ products, services and health care meet the same premium quality they experience in their “human” purchases, explaining the predicted $281 billion spend in the category by 2023.
When Leap was created and launched in 2018, it was in reaction to this consumer shift. Consumers were expecting innovation from an antiquated market, and the startup disruptors promising innovation needed the expertise, network and mentorship to attain their business objectives. Thus, Kinship, Michelson Found Animals and R/GA Ventures joined forces to create Leap Venture Studio, a startup innovation platform on a mission to support and help entrepreneurs fulfill these promises.
With the start of a new decade and millennials continuing to embrace pet ownership, Leap intends to continue fostering growth within a multi-billion dollar market. The seven companies selected for the third cohort represent a diverse mix of entrepreneurs looking to revolutionize products and services ranging from veterinary services to marketplaces to training.
Participating companies in Leap’s third cohort are:
- Bark Buildings: (Jersey City, New Jersey) Bark Buildings is redefining “dog-friendly” in residential apartment buildings. It is the first experiential pet care company partnering with multi-family communities to create pet amenity programs and provide services for pet owners.
- Dogdrop: (Los Angeles) Dogdrop is a new kind of dog day care based around convenience and flexibility—monthly subscription, multiple retail locations, well-designed and tech-enabled.
- Dogly: (New York) Dogly is a marketplace that helps pet parents worry less by vetting and bringing together trainers, holistic vets, nutritionists, and other wellness advocates in one place to learn from and shop recommended products so we can all live better with our dogs.
- Dogo App: (Berlin, Germany) Dogo is a mobile app for dog training using it to become better coaches of their dogs.
- Native Pet: (St. Louis) Native Pet is redefining pet supplements by harnessing the nutritional power of whole food ingredients to deliver highly effective, clean label supplements.
- Pet Hospice: (Berkeley, California) Pet Hospice provides comfort and care to both pets and their families when the end of life nears. Their full-service support includes in-home palliative care, hospice and euthanasia, telehealth consults focused on quality of life, grief counseling, free education, and a professionally moderated online community.
- Project Blu: (Carfiff, U.K.) Project Blu is on a mission to revolutionize the pet accessories market and become the global leader for sustainable pet products. It converts polluting materials such as ocean-bound plastic waste into top quality dog beds, cat beds, leashes and toys.
The partners have previously supported the past cohorts in topics such as brand strategy and design, customer acquisition, product formulation, fundraising expertise, networking, and more. Altogether, the 12 Leap Venture Studio portfolio companies making up the past two cohorts of Leap have raised over $50 million in venture capital funding, and all companies remain active, demonstrating the ancillary value and contribution the partners bring to the pet care market.
Similar to the two previous cohorts, all companies will work with a curated team of R/GA strategists, technologists, designers and consultants and receive mentorship from executives at Kinship and Michelson Found Animals. These collaborations intend to help companies enhance their business plans, prepare for fundraising milestones and establish minimum viable brands.
The Leap program will begin at the R/GA office in Los Angeles and conclude with a Demo Day at Coalition by Kinship, the first-ever conference exploring the future of pet care, in New York City. The Demo Day event will give each startup an opportunity to present to industry leaders, partners, investors and customers from the technology and innovation community.