From a system that enables pets to be understood by humans to an engineered bacteria capable of giving a dog “minty breath,” new ways to enhance the human-animal bond 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 sixth year, the program supports the advancement of pet care companies in early stages of development. Each startup received a prize of $10,000 from Purina, as well as an invitation to participate in a virtual pet care business accelerator boot camp.
“Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, innovation in the pet care industry has continued to thrive,” says Blair Morgan, Purina’s vice president of strategy and innovation. “This year’s class of winners showcases the breadth of opportunities that exist in the pet care industry. From pet tech to diagnostics, each business is unique, but all are driven by a shared love of pets and desire to make a positive impact on their lives, which is a cornerstone of Purina’s mission, too.”
The startups are:
- Bright Planet Pet, a manufacturer of plant-based dog treats, designed to taste and smell like real meat;
- FluentPet, the company behind the FluentPet HexTile System, a way to combine recordable sound buttons that enable dogs, cats, and other animals to express themselves and be understood by humans;
- Paway, a social network for dogs;
- QSM Diagnostics, a company with patented technology that allows veterinarians to diagnose and monitor bacterial infections in dogs and cats using disposable sensors; and
- uPetsia, which works to modify natural canine oral bacteria to produce mint aromas.
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 $10,000.