03 May 2022 (Lausanne, Switzerland) – Six of the most exciting new petcare businesses from across Europe and North Africa will partner with Purina as the winners of its landmark innovation accelerator.
Europe’s first and only petcare accelerator, the UNLEASHED 2022 programme is designed to drive the growth of participants, supporting the development of innovative new products and services.
Two of this year’s entrants focus on introducing alternative proteins to pet diets to create new, sustainable recipes, while others are focused on advancing the quality of life for pets through new digital solutions and on veterinary care and well-being.
2022’s winning cohort includes: eniferBio, Finland; MOA Foodtech, Spain; knok, Portugal; Kibus, Spain; Feragen, Austria; and Vetwork, Egypt.
The winners were chosen from more than 150 applicants, across 28 countries, recognised for driving some of the most innovative ideas in petcare.
Each winning start-up will receive CHF 50,000 for a defined project to upscale their business, while also benefiting from bespoke mentorship, and hands-on test and learn pilots from a Purina team of multidisciplinary experts.
Kim Bill, Head of the Purina Accelerator Lab said: “We are delighted to welcome such an extraordinary group of innovators into the 2022 cohort. Just like Purina, these businesses are driven to innovate and challenge the industry through technology, and data-driven solutions. While the next six months will be busy, we cannot wait to see what they will build.”
Jeff Hamilton, CEO at Nestlé Purina PetCare in Europe, said: “After a global pandemic, the number of pet owners and animal lovers worldwide is greater than ever, and the industry is responding by accelerating its innovation, offering greener, smarter and better solutions than ever before.
“We are hugely proud of these exemplary winners – they face a busy six months, but the UNLEASHED accelerator will help them. We are proud to be facilitating the work of these start-ups and look forward to seeing the impact these companies make for pet owners in Europe and beyond.”
Simo Ellilä, CEO and co-founder of eniferBio said: “The PEKILO® protein produced by eniferBio is the most competitive alternative protein out there, and the production technology is ready to scale. Through Unleashed, we want to understand the potential of introducing our unique protein to the companion animal sector.
“More and more attention is being paid to the quality and sustainability of the ingredients in pet food today and Purina is a leader in this segment, so obviously an ideal partner to investigate whether there is a product-market-fit.”
The UNLEASHED programme works to select the most impactful start-ups from across Europe, and the Asia Oceania region, identifying the businesses that are creating innovative solutions, products and services for pets and the people who love them.
By gaining access to a team of Purina’s senior experts, winners will benefit from Purina’s extensive and deep expertise in the petcare category knowledge. The programme will be completed in October 2022, with the next phase of cohort recruitment set to begin in October 2022 for the 2023 cohort.
In total, Purina’s Unleashed programme has accelerated 12 start-ups over the last 2 years.
Winners have included BorrowMyDoggy (UK), Cat in a Flat (UK), Natu (Spain), Petable (Portugal), BlueNalu Innovations (USA) and OneMind Dogs (Finland) in the Class of 2020. The Class of 2021 included Animoscope (France), BioKind (UK), Pawesomer (Finland), PuppyFat (UK), Pawpots (UAE) and Scorpet (France).
"Start-ups joining Unleashed can expect a well-resourced and transparent co-development process - this is quite unique when starting a relationship with a large corporate," said Max Swinscow-Hall, CEO and Co-Founder of Biokind, a UK start-up working on sustainable alternative protein derived from agricultural waste.
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About Purina Accelerator Lab
The Purina Accelerator Lab leverages the combination of the science and rigour of Purina’s research and development powerhouse and our commercial capabilities to help the growth of selected start-ups that are integrating technology into petcare products and services in innovative ways. Our aim is to provide advanced nutrition, health and wellness services as well as new digital solutions to pets and their parents. UNLEASHED supports the innovative petcare start-ups that provide impactful technology, and offer capabilities, products and services, which make a difference to pets and their owners. This accelerator is R&D powered, and Purina aims to offer resources and its deep pet, nutrition and category understanding, experience and capabilities for the development of the selected start-ups.
About Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe
Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe believes that pets and people are better together and is committed to helping pets live longer, happier and healthier lives through proper nutrition and care. For over 120 years, Purina has been one of the pioneers in providing nutritious and palatable products made to the highest standards of quality and safety. Purina’s passion for pets goes beyond the advancement of pet nutrition and in 2016 Purina PetCare Europe launched the 10 Purina in Society commitments to have a positive impact on pets and society, including promoting pet adoption, pets in the workplace and helping to reduce the risk of pet obesity. The Purina portfolio includes many of the best-known and best-loved pet foods including Felix®, Purina ONE®, Gourmet® and Pro Plan®.
A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness.
For more information, visit the Purina website: https://www.purina.eu/
About UNLEASHED Winners:
eniferBio is a Finnish biotech company, using fungi fermentation to produce future-proof protein. Its bioreactors can convert a wide variety of by-products from sectors such as the food industry into a sustainable protein ingredient for use in diverse applications. eniferBio is working with Purina to build product quality and target higher value markets.
For more information, visit – www.eniferbio.fi
MOA foodtech combines biotechnology and artificial intelligence to transform by-products of the agri-food industry into high value and sustainable ingredients.
By using fermentation techniques, MOA is able to generate sustainable alternative proteins for pet foods, while also exploring new agri-food by-products as avenues for further products and ingredients.
MOA Foodtech CEO Bosco Emperanza said: “We believe that the pet food industry is a crucial part of the food industry as a whole, and we are dedicated to expanding our efforts into making healthy and sustainable food.
“Previously, we have been focused on products for humans, so we believe that Purina is the perfect partner to get to know the pet food sector and see how we can have an impact on sustainability and nutrition.”
For more information, visit – www.moafoodtech.com
Knok is a digital healthcare platform, supporting a range of telemedicine and data management for insurers, patients and healthcare professionals. With Purina’s support, it will expand these services to veterinary care, bringing the best quality of online healthcare, while also eliminating barriers to accessing veterinary treatment in remote areas.
Jose Bastos, knok co-founder and CEO said: “Knok has always been an innovative company that differs from others thanks to its ability to understand and react swiftly to new market needs. Therefore, we identified the need to offer a care service to take care of pets, offer health advice, and offer a complete service and a post-services service.
“Seeing the project of UNLEASHED we understood that this could be our chance to test this new idea together with expert partners who knew the real needs of pets and their owners in depth. Therefore, we believe that only a partner with a company with Purina's quality and reputation could help us carry out this new dream.”
For more information, visit – www.knokcare.com
Kibus provides meal kits for pets, providing customers with ingredients and smart devices to prepare and cook the exact portion size at the optimum temperature. Its simple and hassle-free offering allows pet owners to have absolute control of their pet’s nutrition, all from their smartphone.
Albert Icart, co-founder and CEO said: “Winning Unleashed is a game-changing event for us. We have created a team including members from Purina and Kibus with a common goal: thanks to the Unleashed project we expect to refine our offering and get ready to scale.”
For more information, visit – https://www.kibuspetcare.com/
FERAGEN is Europe’s Leading Animal DNA Testing Laboratory for pet owners, breeders, clubs, and veterinarians, offering access to a committed team of professionals devoted to providing animal DNA testing with exceptional customer support. It provides customers all over Europe with cutting-edge genetic analyses that revolutionise breeding strategies and management. FERAGEN is unique in introducing highly complex genetic findings to enable future-oriented breeding in a simple and beneficial way.
Anja Geretschläger, FERAGEN founder and CEO said: “Being part of the Unleashed Class 2022 gives us the incredible chance to introduce our expertise and service to a larger pet loving community. We look forward to the possibilities entering new markets and reach new customers.
Growing a company means keeping the mind open for new ideas and building new relations - We want to work out ways how we can grow our business to the next level and scale it up with a solid strategy. We are glad to shape the future of our animal companions together.”
For more information, visit – https://feragenlab.com/
Vetwork is MENA’s PetCare at home veterinary platform, connecting pet owners with providers of pet healthcare, vaccination, and other accredited service providers such as groomers and dog walkers, making ownership as easy and convenient as possible. Vetwork hopes to benefit from Purina’s understanding of the petcare market to help it further analyse customer data and provide better experiences through its app and services.
Vetwork founder and CEO Fady Azzouny said: “For us in Vetwork, winning UNLEASHED is a validation and a reassurance that we’re on the right track to changing how petcare is practised in MENA. We hope to build along with other players in the market a holistic 360 solution to all Pets and Pet Parents’ needs in MENA!”
For more information, visit – https://www.vetwork.app