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April 27, 2021

3 min read

Toletta Cats will Detect Your Cat’s Urological Diseases, Without the Vet Stress

From February through May 2021, 8 pet care startups from 5 different countries joined the Leap Venture Studio to enhance their business plans, prepare for fundraising milestones, and establish minimum viable brands. Learn more about each startup and their leaders through our blog series on Cohort 4. We asked each founder questions about their startup journey, who inspires them, and of course a little bit about their pets!

Toletta Cats Inc. (Fujisawa, Japan): Toletta® is a “smart” cat litter box capable of detecting early symptoms of common feline diseases, without the stress of a veterinarian visit. Toletta is gearing up for their big launch in the United States after already launching in their home country, Japan.

Video credit: Koji Hori

What inspired you to build your pet care startup?

Koji Hori, Founder:

Koji: In 2011, there was a major earthquake in Japan. Many people were left in unfortunate circumstances. Of course, so were pets. Seeing this, I wanted to help them and decided to start a pet care startup.

Tell us about any pets you have! How did your relationship with your pet inspire your business?

Koji: I have been living with animals since I was a child. They have always been a source of comfort to me during difficult times in my life. They are an irreplaceable part of my family.

Now a few weeks into the Leap Venture Studio, what has been the most beneficial part of the accelerator program?

Koji: The mentors are supportive and quick to introduce us to companies that we would like to collaborate with. This is an extremely beneficial perk of participating in this program.

What has been an unexpected upside of the pandemic?

Koji: We have received an investment from one of Japan’s most respected entrepreneurs and billionaires, Yusaku Maezawa. He recognizes pet health issues as a social challenge and wants to work with us to solve this problem.

What are your goals for this year?

Koji: We are aiming to launch our service in the US. This is a big challenge for us as a Japanese company, but a very exciting goal.

What entrepreneurs/leaders do you look up to?

Koji: The leader I admire is Akio Toyoda of Toyota Motor Corporation. His words attract people. I truly admire his leadership in involving employees, customers, and stakeholders.

What is the best movie, podcast, or book you’ve discovered in the past year?

Koji: The best movie for me is Forrest Gump. In Japan, it is given a Japan-specific title separate from the original title. The title “Once in a lifetime meeting” makes the movie memorable for me.

What advice would you give to other founders just starting their journey?

Koji: Never give up, take care of your team members, and believe in yourself!

Join us on Thursday, May 6th at 10am PT for the Leap Venture Studio Demo Day to celebrate these incredible founders that are forging new trails in the $100 billion pet care industry! The event will be streamed through YouTube Live (link coming soon). Each company will present a pitch deck on their company and answer questions in the live chat.

BY Isabel Havens

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