The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many changes in 2020, but pet ownership and spending continue to grow. Pet adoptions and fostering are at a record high and pet owners have adapted new ways of making purchases for their pets. Within the pet care innovation ecosystem, hundreds of startups are addressing the growing opportunities across the pet care ecosystem.
Humanization – the trend of pet parents increasingly treating pets as a member of the household – has resulted in increased spending and a demand for products and services that didn’t exist before. As this trend continues to add opportunity in pet care, The Pet Care Innovation Prize (PCIP) team has identified three major areas of opportunity for startups:
- Nutrition+ – Pet nutrition is evolving with expectations around functional results, sustainability, ethics, transparency, and customization.
- Collaborative Pet Care & Health – Pet ownership is growing among new demographic groups and pet owners know it takes a village to care for pets. The easier it is for everyone to collaborate on care and services, the better for pets, people and pet businesses.
- The Digital Transformation of Pet Life – Today’s pet parents expect e-commerce, mobile app ordering capabilities, and curbside pickups. They want to use digital devices to book services online to care for their pets.
During July and August 2020, PCIP hosted three events bringing together startups and innovation experts from Purina and its 9Square Ventures corporate venturing group. From these events, a “Startup Opportunity Map” was created for pet care. The map highlights startups doing great work and categorizes the space for early adopters, investors, and industry leaders.
The map features 23 sub-categories of pet care opportunities. Highlights among the 100+ startups include:
- Pet Friendly Places and Communities – startups making it possible for pets to be more fully integrated into their communities and for businesses and communities to attract pet parents and their pets.
- Veterinary Enabling Tech – startups making it possible for veterinarians to profitably deliver a high quality experience to pets and pet parents.
- Pet Industry Enabling Tech – startups providing tools for the entire pet industry to evolve digitally as prospective and existing pet parents expect a seamless digital experience.
- Values and Emerging Demographics – startups addressing that pet ownership is growing fastest among emerging demographic groups and digitally native households, while many of these households gravitate to brands with social values that match their own.
- Pet Data Management – as apps proliferate, startups are addressing how to provide continuity between other apps and services and security for the data within these apps – and make it more valuable and convenient for the pet parent to use.
The full map with all the categories, sub-categories, and 100+ startups is available for download here: Opportunity Map with Company Descriptions.
Watch this month for an archived copy of the sessions: Not Just Nutrition, Collaborative Pet Care & Health, and The Digital Transformation of Pet Life to see how these insights emerged.
A special thanks goes out to our presenters for their insights: James Bello (Shameless Pets), Ainsley Bone, DVM (Purina), Bill Broun (Purina / 9 Square Ventures), Shea Cox (PetHospice), Michael Hemstreet (My Dog is a Robot), Adam Hobler (Purina / 9 Square Ventures), Dustin McAdams (PupJoy), David Narkiewicz (Purina / 9 Square Ventures), Lauren Pagliughi, DVM (Purina), Cherice Roth DVM (Ask.vet), Sean Simpson (Nielsen), Brian Taylor (The Pup Relief Fund), and Stephen Wurth (Purina).
Have a startup in pet care? It’s too late to be listed on this year’s map, but you can apply now to the Pet Care Innovation Prize to win up to $20K in no-strings-attached cash, business support, industry visibility, and membership in a network of high potential pet care startup peers.