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!
petNmind (Coconut Creek, Florida): petNmind’s mission is to enhance the bond between pets and their humans by focusing on quality products, insightful education, simple pet-washing services, and local product delivery, which creates peace of mind for pet parents and a healthy lifestyle for pets. Additionally, petNmind is franchising their brand to empower underrepresented business owners to enter the pet industry.
Adrian Archie, Founder:
What inspired you to build your pet care startup?
Adrian: I came upon the idea years before I launched it. My kitten had tons of problems with the pet food options on the market. I did my own research, but there was no resource at the time to do so and I discovered it was the food. I made changes and things improved. Years later, after gaining years of experience in athletics and high level sales, I decided to apply all of the knowledge gained in those fields and about pet nutrition into a business. The idea fits a growing niche — decoding the pet food and care puzzle that every parent faces. The business made sense, so I took the leap.
Tell us about any pets you have! How did your relationship with your pet inspire your business?
Adrian: My pets are like my kids. They are a huge part of my family’s life. I insisted that my children be raised with pets. It teaches them compassion, responsibility, and the cycle of life among other things. I have always had pets and they are a big reason why I approach the world the way I do.
I have 1 Abyssinian Male Cat, 14 years old. Rocko. He was the main inspiration for the business. 1 Doberman Male, 7 years old. And 1 Chihuahua Male, 9 years old.
Now a few weeks into the Leap Venture Studio, what has been the most beneficial part of the accelerator program?
Adrian: Connection. I have always been a very capable island. I have gotten far in my 40 years as an island. But as I grow in leadership and pivot my business to scale, I realize that I must connect with others. Soak up their knowledge, as well as impart some myself. When I study successful founders I realize that most found success through connections and networks. I understand my business and generally understand what I need to do to scale it. However, my network has always lacked as most minority founders networks do. Being able to have a list of people I can contact, connect with, learn from, and vent to is a must and I also am excited about the R/GA services project because I fully realize their expertise and recommendations are way out of my league as a start-up and I am fortunate to receive it.
What has been an unexpected upside of the pandemic?
Adrian: I think all pet businesses, especially essential businesses, have enjoyed the huge increase in pet owners. I think the bigger upside for the industry as a whole is the continued growth of pets being a huge part of human mental and emotional stability. That simple fact, in my opinion, cements significant industry growth far into the future. Because new pet owners will only get younger and have long relationships with pets and the pet industry.
I also think the continued demonstration that the industry grows through all types of societal upheaval, such as recessions and pandemics, will be a great opportunity to attract more minorities to the industry as well as continue to support a healthy ecosystem of innovation.
What are your goals for this year?
Adrian: We are pivoting into franchising which is a big step. Our goal is to systemize all parts of the business as well as enroll key team members that can help accelerate our growth as well sustain it.
What entrepreneurs/leaders do you look up to?
Adrian: Jay-Z, Byron Allen, Morgan Debaun, Sarah Blakely, Eric Thomas, and my College Football Coach Jim Reid.
What is the best movie, podcast, or book you’ve discovered in the past year?
Adrian: Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.
What advice would you give to other founders just starting their journey?
Adrian: Be consistent and curious when everything seems uncertain. Show up, be pleasant, treat people right, and consistently network. A consistent approach matched with curiosity to learn and ask for help is the best path to achieving milestones.
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.