From an oral swab that provides at-home age estimates for pets to an app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to measure how a cat is feeling, the utilization of forward-thinking technology seemed to be top of mind for the startup companies selected for this year’s class of Purina’s Pet Care Innovation Prize program.
Now in its seventh year, the program supports the advancement of pet care companies in early stages of development. Each startup received a prize of $25,000 from Purina, as well as an invitation to participate in a virtual pet care business accelerator boot camp.
“Working with startups that share our passion for pets and the tireless pursuit of innovation allows us to inspire and help each other on this journey,” says Purina’s vice-president of strategy and innovation, Blair Morgan. “This year’s class of winners showcases the breadth of opportunities that exist in the pet industry, and our team is excited to help mentor and support them as they grow.”
The startups are:
- Sylvester.ai (Alberta, Canada), which has launched an app, Tably, that uses AI trained on veterinary-approved pain scales to evaluate how a cat is feeling based on subtle facial cues.
- Artie (Phoenix, Ariz.), a countertop appliance system able to prepare home-cooked meals for dogs at the touch of a button.
- EpiPaws (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), the maker of a pet age test kit able to determine a pet’s estimated birthday via an oral swab and provide nutritional and behavior insights based on the animal’s life stage for proactive healthcare management.
- Happy Bond (Los Angeles, Calif.), a preservative-free dog food manufacturer.
- PDX Biotech (Huntsville, Ala.), the creator of the proprietary OraStripdx, a rapid screening test for veterinarians to detect periodontal disease in dogs and cats early in the disease.
The winners will present their businesses at Global Pet Expo, where a grand prize recipient will be chosen and awarded an additional cash prize of $25,000.