First UNLEASHED start-up event for the pet industry
March 27, 2023

Inspirationand exchange of experience strengthens the pet tech community.

Euskirchen, March 2023 - PURINA's start-up accelerator UNLEASHED, organised the first UNLEASHED Pet Tech Meetup event that brought together 85 start-ups with innovative pet solutions and 35 investors on the Tractive campus in Pasching near Linz (Austria).

The aim of the meet-up was to give founders from the pet industry a stage and to promote the networking of all relevant players in the start-up ecosystem within the pet industry.

The event offered many opportunities to exchange experiences among the founders and to establish contacts with investors. In the first panel discussion, Hubert Wieser, Director Nestlé Purina Central Region, hosted a panel with his guests about the investor perspective on the pet start-up scene and current opportunities and challenges for founders in the context of the current economic uncertainties.

Veeraje Bhonsle from JamJar Investments hosted a second panel about the future prospects of direct-to-consumer (D2C) models, while Michael Hurnaus, founder and CEO of Tractive, rounded off the day with the third panel, sharing experiences on the topic of "Growth of Scale-ups". Conclusion: The mantra of only driving growth and not looking at earnings was true for start-ups for years, but not anymore!

In addition, 18 start-ups presented their business models to a jury of investors in three-minute pitches in the categories DIGI Tech, HEALTH Tech and FOOD Tech. The winners and runners-up were awarded cash prizes by PURINA. Although start-up pitches added energy and competition to the event, the main focus was on networking and establishing contacts with the investors present and with other founders within the pet start-up community.  

For Hubert Wieser, Director Nestlé Purina Central Region, the start-up event was a complete success: "Our aim with UNLEASHED is to build the leading network for start-ups in the pet industry in Europe. The event in Linz brought us a big step closer to this goal. We saw exciting business models and were able to make many new contacts. The all-important megatrend of technological progress and digitalisation will continue and I am very confident that the pet industry will continue to be one of the most exciting industries."

The first UNLEASHED Pet Tech Meet-up was hosted by Austrian company Tractive. At the modern corporate campus, company founder, CEO and investor Michael Hurnaus welcomed the participants. "From my own experience, I know how important it is to have mentors by your side who support the exciting path of a start-up - financially, but also with know-how and their network," says Michael Hurnaus.