Meet the Companies in Leap Three (And See How They’re Transforming Petcare)

Liz David
Liz David
Feb 12, 2020 · 8 min read

Yesterday, Kinship, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, and R/GA Ventures announced the seven companies participating in the third cohort of the Leap Venture Studio: Bark Buildings, Dogdrop, dogly, Dogo App, Native Pet, Pet Hospice, and Project Blu

When Leap Venture Studio (Leap) was created and launched in 2018, it was in reaction to a consumer shift. Consumers were expecting innovation from an antiquated market, and the startup disruptors promising innovation needed the expertise, network, and mentorship to attain their business objectives. Thus, Leap was designed to foster innovation in the fast-growing pet industry.

Now with the start of a new decade and millennials continuing to embrace pet ownership, Leap intends to continue fostering growth within a multi-billion dollar market.

The new cohort of seven, hailing from Germany, UK, and across the United States, is primed to disrupt the pet care industry in the gaming, sustainability, healthcare, nutrition, subscription services, and marketplaces categories.

Meet the companies:

Year Founded: 2016
Based In: Jersey City, NJ
Leadership: Devir Zivan, CEO/COO & Danit Zivan, CMO/COO

A sister and brother duo and first-time founders, Devir and Danit Zivan built Bark Buildings around the idea of community in shared spaces.

Bark Buildings partners with residential apartment buildings to create amenity programs for pets, consisting of monthly events, perks for residents, and access to on-site pet care services such as dog walking.

It’s their mission to create happier and healthier communities for pets and their owners, making the joy of pet ownership more accessible.

“We see ourselves as a resource for building owners and operators. We develop really close relationships with our customers, encouraging owners to socialize with other dogs and owners. It feels like an organic experience on a personal level and we cherish that human aspect of our brand,” says Devir.

Devir and Danit were inspired to create Bark Buildings through their own experience in moving from the West Coast to the East Coast and seeing how building owners were trying to make buildings a great place to live but ignoring the needs of pet owners.

Year Founded: 2018
Based In: Los Angeles, CA
Leadership: Shaina Denny, CEO & Co-Founder & Greer Wilk, COO & Co-Founder

Dogdrop is a new kind of dog daycare based around convenience and flexibility — featuring a monthly subscription, multiple retail locations, quality design, and tech-enabled amenities.

In their spaces, they host brand activations, workshops, training sessions, and other engaging activities for dogs and their owners.

“We believe that Dogdrop is a lifestyle brand. Our goal is to provide the best pet care for dog parents, making it more accessible, more affordable, more convenient,” says Shaina Denny, CEO & Co-Founder of DogDrop.

Launched just six weeks ago, DopDrop is aiming to open two more locations in Los Angeles in 2020, cultivating the next generation of dog parents that value community, wellness, and experience.

Year Founded: 2015
Based In: New York, NY
Leadership: Cory Turner, Co-Founder, CEO & Jane Turner, Co-Founder, CMO

Dogly is a marketplace that brings together recommended products, trainers, nutritionists, and other wellness experts, providing a community of learning for dog owners. Dog owners have the ability to shop and learn all with the goal of improving the lives of their pets.

“We want to help people feel more educated and supported. Having a dog should be an amazing experience. So many people have knowledge to share and we want to be the backbone of knowledge sharing for dogs,” says Cory Turner, Co-Founder, CEO of Dogly.

A large part of Dogly’s focus lies within mirroring how people view their health and wellness with how they should care for their dogs as pet parents.

“We’re trying to make care more accessible and more affordable through our advocate network. We really want to help keep dogs healthy and create enjoyment in being a pet parent.”

Year Founded: 2017
Based In: Berlin, Germany
Leadership: Tadas Ziemys, Co-Founder, Rasa Žiema, Co-founder & Eliza Marija Hirvensalo, Co-Founder

Dogo is a mobile dog training app that helps strengthen the bond between dog owners and their best friends. The app features game-like elements and positive reinforcements to make training fun, digital and personalized.

Through participating in the Leap Venture Studio, the founders of Dogo hope to better understand the United States petcare market.

“We’re excited to get a better understanding of US consumers through seeing real customers use our products and interviewing them about the experience. In one year, we want to be the go-to company for anyone who gets a puppy, and in five years, we want to cover all needs of the dog, from mental stimulation to physical training, spanning the whole lifetime of the dog,” says Rasa Žiema, Co-Founder of Dogo.

Much like the new age smart home devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Nest, Dogo provides a solution for a petcare trend that has evolved in the past decade: the humanization of pets through technology.

“We offer an easy solution to take care of dogs and train your dog at home. All you have to do is log in once a day and you get access to lessons on how to train your dog, stimulate your dog, play games with your dogs. It’s easily accessible and financially accessible. It’s dog training in your pocket.”

Year Founded: 2017
Based In: St. Louis, MO
Leadership: Pat Barron, Co-Founder & Dan Schaefer, Co-Founder

Native Pet is redefining pet supplements by harnessing the nutritional power of whole food ingredients to deliver highly effective, clean label supplements.

As an all-natural solution, Native Pet only believes in creating products that show what they stand for: the health and wellness of pets.

“Native Pet was inspired by the question, ‘would I feed this to my dog?’ Our pets really have a special place in society and make a huge difference in our well being. We should treat them as best as we can,” says Dan.

With a direct to consumer business model, Native Pet hopes to eventually be a global brand, allowing pet parents to trust that their products deliver powerful results through natural, high-quality ingredients.

Year Founded: 2018
Based In: Berkeley, CA
Founders: Shea Cox, CEO & Founder

74% of dogs and cats in the last 18 months of their lives don’t receive healthcare. Shea Cox, Founder of Pet Hospice is on a mission to change that.

Pet Hospice provides comfort and care to both pets and their families when the end of life nears. Their full-service support includes in-home care, hospice, euthanasia, and telehealth consultations focused on the quality of life, grief counseling, and free education. PetHospice is also a professionally moderated online community.

“We want the end of life experiences of pets to be as meaningful as the lives they lived. You can look at the lifespan of a pet and their last ten years of their life is just as important as the last ten months,” says Cox.

Not only is the end of life hard for the pets themselves, but it’s also a huge burden on the pet parents and the veterinarian’s providing care.

“We’re not only looking at the pets, we’re also looking at the person attached to the pet. End of life is the most difficult part of pet ownership. We’re a partner in care for the veterinarian and we usher pet parents through the process.”

Year Founded: 2019
Based In: Carfiff, UK
Founder: Geryn Evans, Founder & CEO

Project Blu is on a mission to revolutionize pet accessories and become the global leader for sustainable pet products. They convert polluting materials such as ocean-bound plastic waste into top quality dog beds, cat beds, leashes & toys.

There is now a demand for more sustainable products. It’s a big issue and within the next decade there’s going to be a lot more movement,” says Geryn Evans, Founder & CEO of Project Blu.

Evans, personally influenced by his son and dog Ralph, hopes to inspire other entrepreneurs and consumers of the steps they can take to live a more sustainable life.

“Unfortunately, the damage of the planet is everywhere and once you start to delve into sustainability, people start to realize the impact. I think the world is at a point now where entrepreneurs and companies are taking steps to solve these problems. With pet ownership on the rise, we want to be the number one sustainable brand in five years by offering products that are great quality, affordable and sustainable.”

Project Blu is currently available in Europe with goals to scale to a global market, looking to launch specifically the United States, India, China, and Africa in the next five years.

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The Leap Venture Studio will begin at the R/GA office in Los Angeles, CA and conclude with a Demo Day at Coalition by Kinship, the first-ever conference exploring the future of pet care, in New York City. The Leap Venture Studio Demo Day will give each startup an opportunity to present to industry leaders, partners, investors, and customers from the technology and innovation community.

To learn more and stay in the know, visit ventures.rga.com/studios or follow @rgaventures on Twitter.

R/GA Ventures

An innovation platform built for industry leaders to…

R/GA Ventures

An innovation platform built for industry leaders to identify and capitalize on disruptive technologies and emerging behaviors, unlocking new opportunities. Investment arm of global agency R/GA. Learn more at www.rgaventures.com.

Liz David

Written by

Liz David

Senior Director, Marketing & Operations at R/GA Ventures

R/GA Ventures

An innovation platform built for industry leaders to identify and capitalize on disruptive technologies and emerging behaviors, unlocking new opportunities. Investment arm of global agency R/GA. Learn more at www.rgaventures.com.