Mars Petcare has had great success with developing disruptive new technologies in the pet space, as well as growing their dozens of pet food brands. Their biggest pet tech successes to date include hot properties like Wisdom Panel, a canine DNA testing company, and Whistle, a GPS pet location and activity tracking service.
The latest news from Mars Petcare is that they are launching an innovative new program to accelerate the growth of promising pet startups. The Leap Venture Studio is the brainchild of a partnership between Mars and Michelson Found Animals, a nonprofit that offers adoption services and a free national microchip registry.
The Leap Venture Studio program will target early stage pet startups focused on pet nutrition and wellness, data and connected technology, pet health and diagnostics, platforms/services for pet owners or veterinarians, genetics, advanced analytics, and AI/machine learning. Participants will need to spend key weeks of the program in Portland, Oregon to have access to industry mentors, curated networking opportunities, industry events, project development tools, pitch practice sessions, and opportunities to secure funding from investors and industry leaders.
Applications for the pilot cohort of the program are currently being accepted through May 23, 2018. Selected companies will be notified on June 30, and the program will begin July 30. A second cohort will begin accepting applications on September 23. Despite these deadlines, the program invites founders to apply throughout the year, as they are always on the lookout for the next big ideas.