Applications for the current Pet Care Innovation Prize are closed. If you’d like to be notified when the next competition opens, email us and we’ll let you know!
What are the prizes in this competition?
Our prizes are intended to help you get your pet care innovation to scale faster.
Up to five Finalists will each receive a $10,000 (US Dollars) prize. One entry will receive up to an additional $10,000 (US Dollars) as the Grand Prize winner to use to prepare to exhibit at Global Pet Expo 2018 and will partner with Purina to make the most of that business development opportunity.
Business Acceleration “Boot Camp”
In addition to the above cash prizes, Finalists will win an all-expenses-paid three-day Boot Camp in late September for one team member to help them refine and deliver their company’s pitch and prepare to pitch to pet care executives from Nestlé Purina and 100+ pet care media and industry influencers.
Held in St. Louis, the global headquarters for Nestlé Purina, these sessions will include evaluation, education and mentoring from a mix of Purina and independent experts in relevant areas, and pitch coaching by world class accelerator mentors from outside industry, 9Square Ventures, Active Capital, and Cultivation Capital. Specific areas to be addressed might include growth planning, funding strategies, product-market fit, channel development, scaling operations and more.
The three-day event in late September 2017 will prepare Finalists to pitch.
Publicity Through Pitch Opportunities
Following the Boot Camp, Finalists get to pitch their businesses at Better With Pets. This private high profile event for 100+ pet industry media representatives and influencers is hosted annually by Nestlé Purina in New York, NY and provides an enormous publicity opportunity.
While at Better With Pets, Finalists pitch one last time – to senior Nestlé Purina PetCare executives and investors – to compete for the recognition of Grand Prize winner and the support to exhibit to thousands of buyers and industry insiders at Global Pet Expo 2018.
Any entry may be publicized at the discretion of Nestlé Purina and the Pet Care Innovation Prize team. Finalists will be included in publicity activities coinciding with the Better With Pets event and during the Boot Camp.
The Grand Prize winner will also win space provided by Nestlé Purina at Global Pet Expo, presented by American Pet Products Association (APPA) and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) in Orlando, Florida, plus assistance in preparing for this high profile event.
NOTE: Pet Care Innovation Prizes include responsibilities on your part. These include participation in activities by a founder able to make decisions on the company’s behalf, ability to travel to St. Louis, Missouri (for the Boot Camp) and New York, New York (for Better With Pets and Pitch Day) and Orlando, Florida (for Global Pet Expo), providing documentation to verify claims made in your application, and participation in publicity activities.
What are the judging criteria?
Our criteria are intended to assess whether your pet care innovation is a product/business that we can help you get to scale – and fits our strategy. We’ll be judging based on:
- Unique, novel or differentiated product or service that solves a meaningful pet care need that improves the lives of pets.
- Traction, such as Revenue, i.e. showing $100,000 or more in annual revenue from the product or service you’re pitching. You may annualize your last quarter’s sales.
- That your product or service is sold to consumers or through a channel to consumers (no B2B pitches, please)
- That you own or have transferable rights for the Intellectual Property (IP) you’re pitching
- Have an established business entity and can do business in the United States (including traveling to the US)
- Be willing to have Cultivation Capital ask reasonable questions as part of due diligence to assess the strength and scalability of their business/product
Why is Nestlé Purina PetCare involved in this?
Nestlé Purina believes an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem is to everyone’s benefit, and that early stage companies and established companies can both benefit from exploring ways to work together. The Pet Care Innovation Prize allows Nestlé Purina to meet and support the early stage companies that they might be working with tomorrow.
Who will judge entries?
Analysts from Cultivation Capital, a leading early stage investment firm, and Active Capital will ensure all entries qualify and meet all criteria. Finalist selection will be by a judging committee of Nestlé Purina, Cultivation Capital, Active Capital and independent judges. Grand Prize selection will be by Nestlé Purina executives.
What kinds of innovative products are eligible?
We’re looking for some things, and there are some things we are not:
Things we’re looking for: cat and dog food and treats, litter, specialty nutrition, and innovative pet care business opportunities beyond food and snacks to improve the health, welfare, and care of both dogs and cats. Important to us are quality, sustainability, or the application of technology and new business models to improve the lives of pets.
Products and services we’re not seeking for the Pet Care Innovation Prize: pet pharmaceuticals, premiums and gifts, kennel services, grooming services, and pet insurance services.
Are we required to give up equity or rights in exchange for a prize?
No! Prizes offered are just that – prizes. It is non-dilutive, and you don’t give us any equity or exclusive license to your idea. All you give us is permission to seek mutually beneficial publicity and an opportunity to explore innovation potential of your business.
Who is this competition open to?
The competition is open to any business entity selling products or services that meet the criteria contained in these FAQ, as long as they are willing to abide by the conditions called out in these FAQ and on the application, and they are legally able to travel and work in the US – EXCEPT employees and contractors of Nestlé Purina, Cultivation Capital, and/or Active Capital, and current NPPC Suppliers who are all ineligible.
Who is running this competition?
This competition is being run by Active Capital, leaders in helping early stage companies grow and get investment, with support from Cultivation Capital, a leading early stage venture capital fund. The prizes and other valuable industry help are provided by Nestlé Purina PetCare. For all inquiries, contact email@example.com.
What are the deadlines for this competition?
Applications are currently closed. Key dates for the current Pet Care Innovation Prize are:
- March 2017 – Applications opened
- August 4, 2017 – Applications closed
- January 23-26, 2018 – Finalist Boot Camp in St. Louis, MO
- March 15, 2018 – Better With Pets event and Finalist Pitches in New York, NY
- March 21-23, 2018 – Grand Prize winner exhibits at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida courtesy of Nestlé Purina PetCare and the American Pet Products Association
How do we protect our intellectual property (IP)?
Please don’t submit anything in the application that would put your intellectual property rights at risk. We assume that since you are selling this product currently to the public, or other businesses, and that an accurate description of the features and benefits will suffice to judge your entry. Please don’t enter a product/service/business for which you don’t hold Intellectual Property rights.
What are the responsibilities for entering?
By entering, you and your team agree:
- To make a single point of contact available for all communication
- That all information on your application is accurate
- To maintain clear ownership (or right to use) of patents, copyright and other Intellectual Property (IP) used in your product or service
- That a founder or senior team member is able to fully participate in the September Boot Camp, and the October Better With Pets event and Pitch Day. If selected as Grand Prize winner, that you also will have a founder or senior team member able to fully participate in Global Pet Expo in March 2018.
- That you and your team are solely responsible for paying taxes for any prizes you may win.
- That you will participate in publicity activities related to the competition, including supplying photos and other images of your product/service/business, making your team available for interviews as needed, etc.
- See also the FAQ “What are the judging criteria?” for more details on what may not be eligible to win
Am I guaranteed any business if our entry wins the competition?
This competition is to find innovative pet care products and services that could use help to get to scale. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that we will ultimately find a way to work together even if your product/service is the best entry based on the above criteria. For strategic or other reasons, we may not actually end up working together.
Might we still meet with Nestlé Purina and/or Cultivation Capital even if our entry doesn’t win?
Yes. If we receive more exciting applicants than prizes, or you have an entry that doesn’t quite make it to the finals for some reason, we may still contact you to talk more if you are open to it.