Aug 7, 2020


Tracking Pet Startups
& the Pet Tech Industry


Leap Ventures names 11 pet startup finalists

Leap Venture Academy, an offshoot of Mars Petcare, announced the 11 semi-finalists competing for its 2020 pitch competition:

  • The Barke Shoppe (NYC) – individualized pet grooming
  • Belopet (Mexico City) – e-commerce platform for pet products & services
  • Booking.vet (Ft. Lauderdale) – Yelp for veterinarians
  • Bubby (Los Angeles) – app that manages your dog’s information
  • Hound (Denver) – job search platform for US vet clinics
  • Kibus – (Catalonia, Spain) – home appliance that cooks healthy pet food
  • Mella Pet Care (Chicago) – a pet thermometer for non-rectal readings
  • Save All the Pets (Washington DC) – moves pets from kill shelters 
  • Super Pet Foods (Berkely) – dog food made from fly larvae  
  • Virtuwoof (Minneapolis) – veterinary telehealth 
  • WoofTogether (Athens, Greece) – supplies for pet-friendly hotels

The top five finalists will compete during a virtual live event on August at 10am PT that will be live streamed.The $25,000 in prize money will be split between the top three finalists.

Two of the companies, Bubby and Mella, were also finalists in the recent Veterinary Innovation Summit virtual startup pitch competition.


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Direct-to-consumer cat food startup Smalls raises $9 million

NYC-based Smalls, a direct-to-consumer cat food company, announced it had secured $9 million in Series A funding. The investment gives Smalls a total raise of $12 million since its inception in 2017.

Investors include 3 VCs with plenty of experience in the pet industry: Mars Petcare’s Companion Fund (MollyBox, Pawp, Petmedix), Left Lane Capital (The Farmers Dog) and the Founders Collective (Embark DNA.) 

Smalls has seen its revenue quadruple since last year and plans to grow its employee count from 18 to 25.

There are approximately 94 million cats in the US, compared to around 89 million dogs. However, about 95% of VC funding in the pet food industry has been invested in dog-centric companies.


Pet insurer Trupanion stock surges after earnings report 

Seattle-based pet insurance company Trupanion saw its stock jump 50% after reporting second quarter earnings this week.
The company reported revenue of $117 million for the quarter, compared to $92 million a year ago.  Annual revenue is expected to be $475 million for 2020. The company insures over 744,000 dogs and cats.

Trupanion is the largest pure-play pet insurance company in the US. Other large pet insurers include Nationwide, Healthy Paws and Lemonade.

Boston VC firm buys Canada’s largest chain of vet clinics

Venture capital continues its love affair with veterinary clinics.

Boston-based Berkshire Partners (not to be confused with Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway) has invested in VetStrategy and Groupe Daubigny, Canada’s largest operator of veterinary clinics.

The investment values the organization at approximately $1 billion. According to PEHub, the company had approximately $50 million in EBITDA projected for 2020, giving the deal a multiple of about 20x.  

VetStrategy has 158 hospitals across nine Canadian provinces. The company acquires ownership in vet hospitals and then helps manage the practices.


Other News

  • Pet Boss Nation, a coaching business for pet professionals, launched a new mentor program
  • Australian entrepreneur announced Baxta, a new social networking app for pets
  • Dogs are being trained to sniff out the coronavirus
  • A new study in Nature magazine finds that dogs can understand spoken words better than we thought      

July 31, 2020

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