Kim Bill
Head of Purina Accelerator Lab
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The Unleashed Team
Nestlé Purina PetCare
Avenue Nestlé 55, 1800 Vevey


What is Unleashed?

Unleashed is the first and only pet care & pet tech specific accelerator with a focus on Europe, Middle East and North Africa, run by The Purina Accelerator Lab. The goal is to help petcare startups grow. We identify disruptive pet care & pet tech startups, to work on a value exchange project together with a team of Purina experts to ‘prove the concept’ of the startup within 24 weeks.

What is the advantage for the startup to apply to Unleashed ?

Purina is a leading global petcare company with global footprint, over 100 years of history and powerful R&D, with over 800 scientists, as well as pet colonies throughout the world. 

You will have access to the different competences at Purina, to our networks, training, learning and networking opportunities.

  1. High visibility for your company throughout the Purina organisation- even if you are not selected, the information about your technology and capabilities will be transmited to the relevant R&D and commercial departments to consider for potential engagement
  2. If you are selected, you will benefit from a close working relationship with the relevant Purina team with the correct expertise and resources, to help you grow
  3. The project that you work on will be funded for up to CHF 50k by Unleashed
  4. You will have high visibility with the Senior Management at Purina and Nestle
What is in it for Purina?

Purina is a large global leader in petfood and petcare but we do not need to nor can do everything ourselves, especially in areas where startups excel due to the fact that they are agile and not a big corporation. Purina is looking to test and learn, much like startups, in areas that are not core to our business. We would like to build relationships and networks and find partners through a value exchange project. Another benefit is encouraging internal mindset shifts and entrepreneurship through agile ways of working. 

What is the process of selecting the start-ups?

Your online application is very important as judges will be using that to evaluate your fit. Take time to make sure it is complete and reflects your startup accurately.

Applicants will be evaluated for the robustness of their Product- Market fit and meeting a true consumer pain point. 

Purina will only select startups that they feel they can help and that there is a clear value exchange.

Who are the judges?

Purina internal experts, from global, region and the local markets, as well as external independent evaluators serve in 3 rounds of  judging.

How many startups are accepted?

We can only accept up to 6 companies per cohort to ensure we provide them with adequate support and resources. 

We read all applications closely and provide them with visibility throughout Purina for potential opportunities, even outside Unleashed. We also invite all qualifying start-ups to apply in subsequent years to be considered for inclusion in the next cohorts.

What are the timelines?

Applications will open on the 1st of February of the year and will close on the 31st of March.

When will I know I’ve been selected?

There are 3 rounds of judging. If you get to Round 2, you will be contacted for a pitch and interview by May. If you get to Round 3, you will be contacted for a deeper discussion.

The final selection will be announced by mid June.

We also update applicants through the messaging on the F6S platform.

Will there be a pitch event?

There is no formal pitch event where all the finalists are invited but there will be individual pitch meetings that will be organised between May - June.

Does my team need to be located in Switzerland during the acceleration?

Unleashed is a non-residential program. With some exceptions, the Purina team assigned to you will usually be located in your country.

What happens during the 6 month programme?

Each start-up will have a carefully selected multi-disciplinary Purina team, with commercial and subject experts to support the start-up’s acceleration project objectives, with predetermined KPIs to prove their concept within 24 weeks. This Scope of work will be mutually agreed prior to the final selection.

What happens after the acceleration?

A trusting and bonding relationship will be built during the acceleration period. Upon the achievement of the goals of the collaboration, Purina may further invest in the company or continue a commercial or R&D collaboration. After the acceleration period, if there is no mutual agreement to continue the collaboration, the start-up can continue to work independently.

Will Purina invest in the start-ups?

Purina will support the start-ups in the acceleration phase by funding with up to CHF 50.000 the work required to achieve the pre-determined KPIs. Upon completion of the acceleration, and the validation of the relevance of the start-up’s technology to pets and their parents, Purina may invest further in the company on mutually agreeable terms. 

Is there a contract that I will need to sign? What are the conditions?

Yes, as with all accelerator programs, there is an agreement with Unleashed with standard conditions, including the protection of your background IP.

Is Purina planning to create synergies between these startups and other startups / companies that Purina has acquired or invested in the past?

Reliable and trusted networks of like-minded entrepreneurs is a very valuable resource for startups. We will facilitate connections with our businesses to help the start-ups to network, find synergies, inspiration and support as relevant.

What is the geographical scope?

The scope is in Europe, Middle East and North Africa (Purina’s EMENA region), hence priority will be given to start-ups with businesses in EMENA.

What is the Unleashed Pet Startup Community?

Get inspired! Unleashed has an EMENA pet care & pet tech startup community on Slack. Most major pet startup founders in EMENA are members. It is by invitation only and for networking amongst pet startups. Free pet specific events are organized, including interviews with founders, investors as well as talks on emerging trends, consumer insights, animal behavior, just to name a few. Get an invite from here.