Aussie pet startup wins global innovation prize

An Australian pet startup has been named a winner of an international innovation award, in recognition of its biotechnology offering.

Perth-based VetChip was one of five startups from around the world to win the Pet Care Innovation Prize 2024, hosted by multinational pet food and products maker Purina.

VetChip was founded in 2019 by a group of veterinarians and engineers, led by vet Dr Garnett Hall.

According to its website, it is “a smart animal health monitor designed to enable animals to live healthier, happier and longer lives”.

“It performs all the functions of a standard animal ‘identity microchip’ plus so much more.” VetChip is designed to improve early intervention and treatment of various health conditions, by alerting pet owners via an app of potential signs of illness or injury.

“Nearly 150 companies from around the world applied for the 2024 Pet Care Innovation Prize and as the first ever Australian winners we are highly honoured to be recipients of this award,” VetChip said on its Facebook page following the announcement.

“VetChip is committed to enriching the lives of animals and their owner’s using technology that will change the way we understand and look after our animals forever.”

The other winners of Pet Care Innovation Prize 2024 were all from North America:

  • Toymaker SwiftPaws, temporary housing and crisis care service BestyBnB, and Arch Pet Food from the US.
  • Feline dental healthcare product maker RYERCAT from Canada.

Cash, mentorship for burgeoning businesses

Each of the winners receives $US25,000 cash as well as mentorship from Purina’s Pet Care Innovation team and investment firm Active Capital. The startups will also participate in an accelerator bootcamp at Purina’s global headquarters in the US.

“Collaborating with startups that share our enthusiasm for pets and are dedicated to continuous innovation enables us to mutually inspire and learn from each other,” said Purina’s Vice President of Strategy and Innovation and co-lead of the company’s 9 Square Ventures group, Blair Morgan.

“This year’s group of winners exemplifies the diverse range of possibilities in pet care, and we look forward to working with each of these companies to help accelerate their success in an incredibly competitive and rewarding industry.”

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