Leap Venture Studio Looks to the Next Decade of Pet Care Innovation

Kinship, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, and R/GA Ventures come together for its third program to bring industry expertise to pet-tech entrepreneurs

Los Angeles, CA, February 11, 2020 – Today, three partners in the pet care and innovation industries – Kinship, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, and R/GA Ventures – announced the companies participating in the third cohort of the Leap Venture Studio (Leap), the first startup program designed to foster innovation in the fast-growing pet industry. Hailing from Germany, UK, and across the U.S., the new cohort of seven is primed to disrupt the pet care industry in the sustainability, healthcare, nutrition, subscription services, and marketplaces categories.  

In the past decade, the pet care market has seen a significant surge and change in consumer behavior. As pets of all kinds have become integral family members, pet owners’ purchase patterns have shifted to reflect a higher level of care. Owners now expect that their pets’ products, services, and health care meet the same premium quality they experience in their “human” purchases, explaining the predicted $281 billion spend in the category by 2023. 

When Leap was created and launched in 2018, it was in reaction to this consumer shift. Consumers were expecting innovation from an antiquated market, and the startup disruptors promising innovation needed the expertise, network, and mentorship to attain their business objectives. Thus, Kinship, Michelson Found Animals, and R/GA Ventures joined forces to create Leap Venture Studio, a startup innovation platform on a mission to support and help entrepreneurs fulfill these promises. 

With the start of a new decade and millennials continuing to embrace pet ownership, Leap intends to continue fostering growth within a multi-billion dollar market. The seven companies selected for the third cohort represent a diverse mix of entrepreneurs looking to revolutionize products and services ranging from veterinary services to marketplaces to training. 

Participating companies in Leap’s third cohort are: 

Bark Buildings: (Jersey City, NJ) Bark Buildings is redefining "dog-friendly" in residential apartment buildings. It is the first experiential pet care company partnering with multi-family communities to create pet amenity programs and provide services for pet owners. 

Dogdrop: (Los Angeles, CA) Dogdrop is a new kind of dog daycare based around convenience and flexibility—monthly subscription, multiple retail locations, well-designed and tech-enabled.

Dogly: (New York, NY) Dogly is a marketplace that helps pet parents worry less by vetting and bringing together trainers, holistic vets, nutritionists, and other wellness advocates in one place to learn from and shop recommended products so we can all live better with our dogs.

Dogo App: (Berlin, Germany) Dogo is a mobile dog training app that helps strengthen the bond between dog owners and their best friends.

Native Pet: (Saint Louis, MO) Native Pet is redefining pet supplements by harnessing the nutritional power of whole food ingredients to deliver highly effective, clean label supplements.  

PetHospice: (Berkeley, CA) PetHospice provides comfort and care to both pets and their families when the end of life nears. Their full-service support includes in-home palliative care, hospice and euthanasia, telehealth consults focused on quality of life, grief counseling, free education, and a professionally moderated online community.

Project Blu: (Carfiff, UK) Project Blu is on a mission to revolutionize the pet accessories market and become the global leader for sustainable pet products. It converts polluting materials such as ocean-bound plastic waste into top quality dog beds, cat beds, leashes & toys.

The partners have previously supported the past cohorts in topics such as brand strategy and design, customer acquisition, product formulation, fundraising expertise, networking, and more. Altogether, the 12 Leap Venture Studio portfolio companies making up the past two cohorts of Leap have raised over $50 million in venture capital funding, and all companies remain active, demonstrating the ancillary value and contribution the partners bring to the pet care market. 


Similar to the two previous cohorts, all companies will work with a curated team of R/GA strategists, technologists, designers, and consultants and receive mentorship from executives at Kinship and Michelson Found Animals. These collaborations intend to help companies enhance their business plans, prepare for fundraising milestones, and establish minimum viable brands. 

The Leap program will begin at the R/GA office in Los Angeles, CA and conclude with a Demo Day at Coalition by Kinship, the first-ever conference exploring the future of pet care, in New York City. The Demo Day event will give each startup an opportunity to present to industry leaders, partners, investors, and customers from the technology and innovation community. 

For more information about Leap and the portfolio companies, please visit: www.leapventurestudio.com and follow @LeapVenture on Twitter.

About Kinship 

Advances in science, technology, health, and nutrition offer an opportunity to transform the $100B+ pet care industry. With industry-leading data and analytics capabilities, a $100M venture fund and pioneering startup accelerator program, a unique set of technology businesses like Whistle and Wisdom Health, Kinship is building the first-of-its-kind coalition of partners to shape the future of pet care. Kinship is a business division of Mars Petcare, the global leader in pet health, nutrition, and services, dedicated to one purpose: a better world for pets. Follow @kinshipco to learn more.

About Michelson Found Animals Foundation 

Michelson Found Animals Foundation is a leading animal welfare non-profit that believes people and pets are better together. Generously funded by Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson, Found Animals operates a range of social enterprises, impact investments, strategic partnerships, and thought leadership initiatives that share a common goal: to champion pets at every point they intersect with our society. Found Animals has helped more than 5 million pets since it was founded in 2005. Learn more at foundanimals.org.

About R/GA Ventures

R/GA Ventures helps industry leaders embrace disruption, connecting them with emerging startups, technologies and consumer behaviors to drive their businesses forward. Since 2013, R/GA Ventures has run 15 programs to date and has a portfolio of more than 90 companies across a variety of verticals. R/GA Ventures and R/GA are part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG), one of the world’s largest advertising and marketing services organizations. Learn more at ventures.rga.com and by following @rgaventures.


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