Frequently Asked Question

GENERAL

What is the Leap Ventures’ mission?

Michelson Found Animals and Kinship, a division of Mars Petcare, are dedicated to supporting the $100B pet care industry through a number of programs meant to help pet care startups at various stages.

Read more about who we are here

Which Leap program is right for my startup?

Leap Venture Academy events are open to any pet care startup entrepreneur trying to make a better world for pets. Leap Venture Studio is geared toward startups that are able to scale quickly and/or create huge impact in the pet care market. Generally, if you do not have a Minimum Viable Product the Academy would be a better fit.

If you want to learn more about which program is right for you, attend an upcoming Leap information session. See calendar of events here.

What sort of networking and marketing opportunities are available to participating companies?
Studio

Throughout the program, startups have access to curated networking opportunities, industry events, and other marketing opportunities.

Studio leaders organize a variety of one-on-one and group meetings and workshops with entrepreneurs, angel investors, legal experts, venture capitalists, investment bankers, and other relevant industry players.

The Studio Managing Director works with each founder individually to select the mentors that meet their needs and business development goals.

Academy
The Leap Venture Academy was created in order to facilitate networking opportunities for early stage startups in the pet care industry. Startup founders are connected with the pet care startup ecosystem through our interactive live webinars, bootcamps and slack channel. The Leap Venture Academy is the easiest way to get in the pet care loop and meet like-minded entrepreneurs

STUDIO

What is the Leap Venture Studio?
The Leap Venture Studio is the industry’s first pet care centric startup accelerator. The program is geared towards scaling impactful startups in the pet care space. Read more about the Leap Venture Studio here.
How often is the Leap Venture Studio held?
The Leap Venture Studio is held once a year from February-May.

Applications for the 2020 cohort open 9/15/2019. Decisions will be released by the end of the year.

Where are Leap Venture Studio sessions held?

Los Angeles, CA

Is my start up right for the Leap Venture Studio?
Qualified candidates have developed a Minimum Viable Product. The Studio is open to tech-enabled companies at a variety of stages, from pre-seed to seed to Series A, and business models including B2B and B2C.
How do I join the Leap Venture Studio?

Leap Venture Studio cohorts are chosen through our application process. Applications for the Leap Venture Studio are currently closed.

Applications for our 2020 cohort will open September 15th, 2019. Companies will receive decisions on December 2nd, 2019.

Do I need to be in LA for the duration of the program?
It is important that you are in LA during the first two weeks and the last two weeks of the program.

You do not need to be in LA for the duration of the 12 weeks thereafter, but we highly recommend that you be able to consistently attend Venture Studio sessions in person. You will not receive the same benefit from the program unless you are able to meet with mentors and other entrepreneurs or take advantage of LA-specific resources.

Will the Leap Venture Studio provide accommodations in LA?
The Leap Venture Studio will not provide housing or long-term accommodations, but we can assist with identifying short-term accommodations. Founders must make and pay for their own living arrangements.
What is R/GA’s role in the Leap Venture Studio?
As part of the Venture Studio, startups will participate in an assessment during which their strategic needs are identified to inform a product/market plan. A customized team of R/GA’s award-winning strategists, technologists, designers, and consultants will then collaborate with the company to execute—providing the same transformative services offered to the agency’s Fortune 50 clients, and preparing them for future milestones including fundraising, pitching, and business development.
Does the entire company need to attend the program?
No, but it is important the founders and key leadership be actively involved in the process. Along the same lines, it is crucial that you as founder are able to step away from daily operations to participate in the program.
What is the weekly time commitment?
Expect to spend 10-20 hours a week on Leap Venture Studio assignments and projects. If you are unable to commit that time at this stage of your development, consider attending Leap Venture Academy events instead.

ACADEMY

What is the Leap Venture Academy?
The Leap Venture Academy connects pet care entrepreneurs with the resources they need to create innovative products and expand their pet related businesses.

The Academy is a series of open, pre-accelerator, community-building activities for early stage pet care startups and innovators. Events are held year round, in person and online. Activities include pitch competitions, bootcamps, classes, webinars, meetups and hackathons. Our goal is to engage with startups regularly and connect them to educational and networking opportunities, potential mentors, advisors, partners, investors and one another.

How is the Leap Venture Academy different from the Leap Venture Studio?
The Leap Venture Academy is meant for startups who are still in their very early stages. Unlike the Leap Ventures Studio, you do not need a Minimum Viable Product to be part of the program.

Additionally, unlike our Studio program, the Leap Venture Academy operates year round and is free and open to the public, no application necessary. The Academy does not have any location or time commitment requirements but does not provide the same level of resources or attention as the Leap Venture Studio.

Will the Leap Venture Academy invest in my startup?
The Leap Venture Academy is not a funding opportunity.

If you are seeking investment or grants, consider applying to the Leap Venture Studio or an upcoming Pet Project competition.

Is the Academy right for my startup?
Whether you’re an early stage startup seeking access to pet care resources to expand your business or if you are simply looking to connect with the pet care startup community, Leap Venture Academy is right for you.
How do I join the academy?
The Leap Venture Academy is free to the public, no membership necessary. Check out our upcoming events here and join the ongoing conversation on Slack. You can also sign up for one of our upcoming bootcamps here.
How do I apply for a pitch competition?
Applications for competitions will open approximately 6-8 weeks before the competition. Check out our upcoming competitions here.
What is the prize for winning a pitch competition?
Prizes vary but all are equity-free grants. Check out our upcoming competitions and prizes here
When is the next pitch competition?
The next pitch competition will be at SuperZoo Las Vegas August 20th-21st. Check out all our upcoming competitions here.
Is my startup eligible for the pitch competitions?
Pet Project competitions are open to any early stage startup or individual innovating in the pet care market. Startups from idea stage to early revenue stage, for-profit or non-profit are encouraged to apply.

You must attend the event where the competition takes place.

PARTNERS

Who are the Leap Partners?

Leap Ventures is a partnership between the Michelson Found Animals Foundation and Mars Petcare’s Kinship.

You can read more about our partners here.

Who is Michelson Found Animals and what is its role?

Michelson Found Animals is dedicated to ending pet homelessness with social enterprise models that include a national microchip registry and LA based pet retail and adoption centers. 

MFA is a Leap Ventures partner and provides direct contact with over a million pet owners and hundreds of pet shelters throughout the US. MFA’s contact with consumers and key player in animal welfare provides startups with much needed feedback, leads and referrals.

Who is Kinship and what is their role?

Kinship is the newest division of Mars Petcare and a Leap Ventures partner. Kinship works to support pet care innovators and startups by engaging Mars Pet Care partners to support the rapidly growing pet care industry. With growing data and analytics capabilities, a $100M venture fund, industry-leading technology, and consumer businesses, Kinship can provide pet care startups with resources like never before.

Mars Pet Care is a pet industry leader with over 44 brands in 55 countries in their portfolio. Mars Pet Care has unmatched access to scientific, marketing and analytic resources that can take pet care startups to the next level. Mars Pet Care created Kinship in order to invest in and accelerate cutting edge ideas in the Pet Care industry.

FUNDING

Will Leap Ventures invest in my startup?

Leap Ventures invests in startups through the Venture Studio program. If your company is accepted to the next cohort, you will receive up to 200k in funding from Leap Ventures. Leap does not currently invest in startups outside of our Venture Studio Program

Can I get funding from Leap Ventures without being part of the Venture Studio?

Yes, you can!

Leap Ventures hosts a series of pitch competitions. Startups can apply to compete and winners receive equity-free grants from the Leap partners