New pet tech coming to town: Leap Venture Studio & Academy launches new startup cohort

StartupBeat Team
By StartupBeat Team February 29, 2024

Move over Rover, there’s some new pet tech companies coming to town! Leap Venture Studio & Academy, a leading pet care startup accelerator backed by Mars Petcare, Michelson Found Animals and R/GA Ventures, is launching its eighth accelerator program.

The studio offers pet care startup founders a highly customized, hybrid program tailored to support and provide resources to early-stage startups, in addition to $200,000 in funding.

The latest cohort kicks off in London on March 4 and will culminate with a Demo Day on June 13  in New York City.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, pet owners are expected to spend USD $500 billion annually by 2030 on their furry (and scaly) friends, with the United States making up a significant portion of these sales at USD $200 billion.

Considered a major innovator in the pet care space, Leap Venture Studio has made over 45 investments into startups across 15 countries. And their portfolio companies have gone one to raise over USD $200 million in follow-on capital.

PetHospice, a California-based end-of-life services company focused on telehealth and education as well as in-home care for pets, and Lacuna Diagnostics, a digital telemedicine cytology platform that increases the standard of care veterinarians provide for pets, are two companies from the portfolio that have successfully exited.

Image courtesy of Leap Venture Studio & Academy

The new cohort

In addition to $200,000 in funding as well as the hybrid in-person and virtual lessons, startups selected into Leap Venture Studio also work closely with and benefit from the network pet care giant Mars Petcare, as well as Michelson Found Animals, one of the leading non-profits supporting the pet community. On top of that, R/GA Ventures, which has invested in companies like AgentQ (acquired by Google), Happy Returns (acquired by PayPal), and Owlet, among others, will also provide founders with networking an coaching.

Additionally, this year marks an exciting development for the accelerator as a seventh social impact company has been invited to participate in select programming alongside the portfolio startups. BestyBnB creates crisis care and safety net pet programs to help animal welfare, domestic violence, mental health, veteran affairs, houseless services, and other social service agencies secure safe, temporary homes for pets during their owners’ time of crisis.

“We can’t wait for the launch of cohort eight! It’s always so energizing to see innovative technology being used to make life better for pets, pet parents, and the planet,” said Rachel Sheppard, Director of Ventures at Mars Petcare and co-lead of the Leap Venture Studio & Academy. “We’re thrilled to give this group of startups tailored support so they can pursue their missions.”

Brett Yates, CEO of Michelson Found Animals, added, “Welcoming new founders to the program who demonstrate vision, passion, and drive to make life better for pets is a real honor. We’re looking forward to what the next four months will bring for each of the startups.”

The six startups joining the portfolio include: 

GekkoVet, an online diagnostic and treatment tool for veterinary professionals by veterinarians.

Innovative Pet Lab, a science-driven pet wellness company empowering the pet community with at-home tests and personalized solutions.

Omni, a company founded by veterinarians on a mission to create healthier and more sustainable pet food that doesn’t compromise on flavor or price.

Scooch, an AI powered holistic pet health subscription for the new generation of pet parents.

VetVerifi, a platform that better connects the pet economy by fetching verified vaccination records at the moments they are needed.

WIMBA, a company transforming pet orthopedics through WIMBA AI & 4D printing technology, making the path from video scan to custom orthotics and prosthetics in minutes.

Anyone interested in attending the Leap Venture Studio & Academy Demo Day on June 13 can sign up at this link.