Retailers looking for the next big thing in the pet care category have a friend in St. Louis-based Nestlé Purina PetCare. The Purina 9 Square Ventures group, founded in 2014, and startup investor Active Capital recently chose five winners from more than 100 companies to receive the Pet Care Innovation Prize powered by Purina.
The winners receive a $10,000 prize, mentorship from the Purina Pet Care Innovation team, and the opportunity to participate in a final pitch competition in March, with the grand-prize winner pocketing another $10,000. This year’s recipients of the Purina Pet Care Innovation prize are:
ClueJay: Theonline diagnostic platform allows pet parents to access lab tests on demand from the comfort and safety of home. ClueJay lets dog and cat owners collect and mail fecal samples for parasite screening, without the hassle and stress of vet visits.
Kitty Sift: This product offers a convenient, healthy and sustainable alternative to the plastic litter box. Made from 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard, Kitty Sift’s disposable sifting litter boxes and liners enable pet owners to ditch plastic alternatives for a sanitary, eco-friendly solution.
A Pup Above: This fresh dog food uses thesous-vide cooking method, which makes meat tender and moist while also preserving nutrients. Made with 100% human-grade ingredients that are fully traceable back to the source, A Pup Above delivers on average 72% more protein than other leading gently cooked dog foods.
Mella Pet Care: Co-created with veterinarians, Mella Pet Care is launching the first smart axillary thermometer, which measures temperature under the foreleg rather than rectally.
VetGuardian: This company makes the only zero-touch remote telemonitor for veterinarians. The device continuously gathers a patient’s vitals, including pulse, temperature and respiration rate, from up to 5 feet away to minimize stress for animals.
“Purina is committed to supporting early-stage pet care startups,” says Blair Morgan, co-lead of Purina’s 9 Square Ventures group, and VP, strategy and innovation for Purina. “Our culture thrives on collaboration and mentorship, and by extending that outside of our walls to startups who share our passion for enriching the lives of pets, we are able to both help and be inspired by a new generation of entrepreneurs.”