Dogs Are Healthier When They Are Around people who kær
The Leap Venture Studio blog series is back after completing an exclusive studio program for pet care startups from EU and UK. In September 2023, seven early-stage pet care startups joined the program for 12-weeks to accelerate their ventures. During this time, the companies worked with experts from Mars Petcare, Michelson Found Animals and R/GA Ventures and received venture capital investment, mentorship, and customized programming tailored to meet their needs.
Tell us about your startup
Ellmar: people who kaer enables our dogs to have the happiest, healthiest and longest life possible by providing them with natural and effective supplements, which address their most common health problems.
How has your startup made a difference for pets?
Christina: Let me ask you this: did you know that 2 out of 3 dogs suffer from severe joint diseases during their life? Or, did you know most dogs regularly suffer from digestion issues like diarrhoea or constipation?
We have developed natural and effective supplements to help our dogs to tackle these problems.
Ellmar had to let his dog go because she had strong arthrosis which was discovered too late. This experience inspired us to support as many dogs as possible who deal with such conditions.
What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced as a startup founder and how have you overcome them?
Ellmar: From our experience every stage of building a startup has its challenges. In our case those were:
- developing a superb product which is loved by customers
- identifying the right marketing channels and improving them
- building, managing and motivating our team as soon as we got one
- organizing ourselves and learning to adjust our profiles as co-founders
- being able stay optimistic and motivate ourselves amidst the many crises we face
We learned that to overcome the above challenges we had to develop a strong connection with our customers; that helped massively. We did this by engaging with our customers during product testing, collecting service feedback and finding product channel fit.
Receiving constant advice from mentors and investors on our plans and challenges exposed us to new perspectives, which also proved very helpful.
But above everything having a complementary relationship with your co-founder/s is critical. I am lucky to have found an extremely supportive co-founder in Christina. Together we have been able to weather many storms and continue to inspire each other to do better each day.
What is your biggest take away from the Leap Venture Studio?
Christina: Most startups face similar challenges. Having a peer support network helps us exchange notes and best practices. Leap offers us that community of startup founders in similar stages of the journey as us. The combined networks of the Leap partners: Mars Petcare, Michelson Found Animals and R/GA Ventures is undeniably a super beneficial part of the deal. We have received in-depth knowledge and insights from top experts in the industry.
What advice would you give to fellow pet care founders who are just starting their journey?
Ellmar: Enjoy the ride! A pet-related business is an incredible source of joy and satisfaction and as founders we should feel grateful to be on this path.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Founders tend to be harsh on themselves; do not neglect you! Take mental time-outs and ideally work with a co-founder to feel and stay inspired.
Tell us about your pet(s)!
Christina: Edna is an 8-year-old French bulldog and my everything. She is a very playful, funny, stubborn girl. Her favorite hobby is to find the biggest sticks in the park and proudly carry them all the way home. She also loves to run after balls (even if it’s not hers) as fast as she can. She loves to swim, without being great at it. Of course, there are also things that Edna doesn’t like at all, for example, wearing coats in winter! She tries to rip it off against every wall, parked car and bench; sometimes it works! Edna is also super impatient when it comes to receiving a snack. “Too much” effort to get a snack can really tick her off. Now one high five is fine, but three? Seriously? Come on!
Edna’s wellbeing is my top priority. I want her to stay healthy and active. Seeing my girl happy makes me happy. It’s simply a circle of happiness. I want Edna and all dogs in the world to live their happiest, healthiest and longest life possible. That’s why people who kaer’s products are developed with so much passion.
What do you think the future of pet care looks like?
Ellmar and Christina: From our point of view pet care will become more data-driven, individualized and sustainable.