Rich Thompson and Emily Stein, TEEF!

Pet Industry Leaders and Entrepreneurs Gathered at Factory for Day of Workshops

Earlier this month, Factory LLC and New Hope Network collaborated to bring together dozens of pet industry veterans, investors and emerging entrepreneurs for a working day of brainstorming and problem solving.

Founders of ten startups in the pet food, health and tech space presented their businesses to a room of industry experts and investors at Factory on October 3. What made this event different than other pitch competitions is that the entrepreneurs also laid out a key business challenge they are currently facing. In breakout sessions that followed, the assembled “brain trust” worked together to develop creative solutions that the entrepreneurs could potentially implement.

“The group workshop was fantastic,” said Emily Stein, co-founder of TEEF!, a dental supplement for dogs that fights gum disease and bad breath. “My advisors were very well informed and passionate. I have not found another instance where such a concentrated number of industry folks were willing to set aside half a day to help you work through your challenge. It’s not something you find anywhere else.”

In addition to new perspectives on business challenges and valuable industry contacts, several companies left with a variety of big-ticket prizes. These included cash, services from Factory and trade show booths.

“It doesn’t hurt that I walked away with $1,000 and a booth at Expo East, but I think overall the networking experience was the biggest benefit for me,” said James Bello, co-founder of Shameless Pets, a company making healthy pet treats from upcycled food waste. “I met several industry experts who I’m still in contact with and working with to develop my brand.”

Besides the benefit of getting face-time with experienced pet industry professionals and investors, entrepreneurs found value in the opportunity to network with other founders.

“It was great to connect with other CEOs of new companies. We’re in this together, and some of us are collaborating now outside of the event,” said Stein of TEEF!, who was named the grand-prize winner.

The participating companies:

  1. AnimalBiome – Maker of gut health tests and supplements to manage digestive, weight and skin problems for pets.
  2. Because Animals – Sustainable pet food made from cultured meat.
  3. Chippin – Planet-friendly cricket protein-based dog treats made with human-grade ingredients.
  4. Cluejay – Affordable, at-home routine diagnostic tests for pets that deliver instant lab results.
  5. Jiminy’s – Cricket protein dog treats that are easy on pets’ stomachs and the earth.
  6. Mella – Anxiety-free smart pet thermometer that takes temperature readings in the ear or under the leg, used by vets and pet parents.
  7. Obe – A digital wellness system makes it easy to put and keep your pets on a diet, preventing chronic health conditions. (And get alerts if the pet-sitter hasn’t fed Fido!)
  8. Shameless Pets – Healthy, sustainable pet treats made from food that would otherwise be thrown away.
  9. TEEF! – A supplement, added to water, that targets bad breath and gum disease in dogs.
  10. Toletta ­– An easy-to-clean litter box that aids in the early detection of chronic kidney disease.