pet tech

Leap Venture Studio, the first studio focusing entirely on upending the booming $95 billion pet industry with plant-based dog foods and smart cat litter boxes, has announced its fourth class of furry-friendly startups.

Leap is based in Los Angeles, but none of the startups are here, even though the city is home to a bevy of companies catering to furry friends.

"COVID has really opened the doors in terms of doing this virtually and we have opened the doors to more international companies this year than ever before," said Brett Yates, CEO of the animal welfare charity, Michelson Found Animals, who also oversees the studio. "In this particular cohort, we're representing six different time zones and four different countries."

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Before CEO and founder Steven Eidelman launched Modern Animal in 2018, his most concerning question was, are people going to be comfortable relying on a mobile app to provide pet care?

The answer appears to be a resounding "yes," and the pandemic has helped prove the point, he said Tuesday at a dotLA Summit panel.

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Long gone are the outdoor adoption events and bake sales where animal rescue groups collect donations and convince dog lovers to foster a new litter. It's moved online, and startup Cuddly is offering the SaaS platform and marketing to fundraise remotely.

"Like a wedding registry for pets," said founder and CEO John Hussey.

The Seal Beach-based fundraising platform for groups rescuing animals announced this week it's raised $4 million in a Series A funding round led by Lead Edge Capital.

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