Startups & Business

Cat Summit: Networking Benefits for Startups

What better way to celebrate National Cat Day than to host a Cat Summit?

Oct, 30 2020




What better way could Leap Venture Academy celebrate National Cat Day than to host a Cat Summit? On October 29, twelve startups gathered for a digital conference where they could learn market insights, pitch their startups to their peers and established industry figures, and gain access to the experience of other successful entrepreneurs.

The complete list of startups, found here, includes all manner tech company for feline wellness, from DNA testing to Internet of Things-connected robots. While tweaks on existing goods (sustainable litter, smart collars, and several improvements on the common litter box) made for some provocative concepts, there was also a strong presence of services for home and health care, including apps, professional cat care networking programs, and even a cat owner-dating app.

Hosted by Director of Ventures & Partnerships Asad Butt and Program & Marketing Coordinator Isabel Havens, the Cat Summit began with a presentation on market trends from Mars Petcare's Joshua Satterlee. He revealed the changing demographic trends in pet ownership both overall and since COVID-19 hit. While it was no surprise to anyone the pandemic has increased cat adoption, there were plenty of surprises, such as how treat consumption is going up per capita, not just as a market, owing to existing pet parents, now home all day, dispensing more kitty treats.

Millennials, he also revealed, are having an outsized effect on cat product consumption, as they are delaying parenthood for pet ownership, and are likelier to live in urban areas prohibitive of dog ownership than older generations, who are already out in the suburbs. Most US cats live indoors, he shared on a related note. Perhaps most interesting, is that even mindful of those facts, there's a disparity in spending; pet food is growing seven times faster than baby spending despite similar population growth.

And further cementing that buyers block is the fact that cats demand lower levels of attention. A cat can set its own schedule, but still cuddle and seek other affection on its own terms. Urbanites enjoy the benefits of cat companionship without the guilt of neglecting a needier pet like a dog.

Armed with these insights, the group made its introductions, and began mentorship and office hours, followed by a presentation by Smalls cat food regarding fundraising and investment.

The day of digital dialogue concluded with two fireside chats with PrettyLitter and CatCon.

Leap Venture Studio The first startup-centric program built to power early-stage pet startups with seed money, mentoring, and a network of pet pros.