SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Think "Shark Tank" for animal welfare, the Innovation Showdown inspires entrepreneurs nationwide to help end the unnecessary euthanasia of pets in our country using their lifesaving ideas. The 2019 Innovation Showdown invites organizations to submit their ideas from now through Jan. 15, 2019 to save animal lives and compete for the chance at an investment of up to $400,000.
The Innovation Showdown was originally created in 2017 by the Petco Foundation and Jackson Galaxy Project, in collaboration with Daymond John, also known as the "people's shark" on the critically-acclaimed "Shark Tank" TV show. In 2018, the Innovation Showdown expanded with top national animal welfare organizations joining together to invest in ideas on the ultimate animal welfare return on investment – saving the most animal lives possible.
"There is no reason why we can't create a lifesaving nation where every animal has a loving home and no animal is unnecessarily euthanized, but we have to change the way we think and act. We must combine forces to transform our industry to save animal lives today," said Petco Foundation President, Susanne Kogut. "Developing the Innovation Showdown into a collaboration of animal welfare industry leaders to fund big impact is definitely a step in the right direction."
Participating organizations include the Annenberg Foundation, ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, The Jackson Galaxy Project, Maddie's Fund®, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, the Petco Foundation and the WaterShed Animal Fund. Recognizing and rewarding lifesaving innovation is an area of focus for many of these national organizations. This collaboration demonstrates the importance of advancing new ideas for maximum impact with a more significant investment pool and feedback from the industry's experts to debate the lifesaving potential of each new idea.
"Last year's Showdown was amazing," said Jackson Galaxy, cat expert, author, entrepreneur, host of "My Cat From Hell" and founder of The Jackson Galaxy Project, A Signature Program of GreaterGood.org. "There was a shared feeling of enthusiasm and passion from the presenting participants, the panel on stage, and the entire attending audience that was infectious and electrifying! The results of Innovation Showdown have been inspiring and life-saving and quite frankly, a lot of fun. I have no doubt that between the imagination of our participants and the combined experience of this year's panel, we will achieve breakthroughs and map out a bright future in the world of animal welfare."
Innovative ideas to save animal lives are now being accepted online until January 15, 5 PM CST. Two finalists will be chosen initially and selected additional ideas will compete for the third "Wild Card" finalist spot. The grand finale will take place on April 17 at the HSUS Animal Care Expo 2019, where the three finalists will make their pitch on stage to the investors.
Eligibility: Entrepreneur organizations with animal lifesaving ideas – whether a non-profit, a government animal welfare organization, or a for-profit company – are eligible to apply, provided the idea supports the mission to save animal lives.
Innovation Investors: Cinny Kinnard (the Annenberg Foundation), Matt Bershadker (ASPCA), Julie Castle (Best Friends Animal Society), Jackson Galaxy (the Jackson Galaxy Project), Mary Ippoliti-Smith (Maddie's Fund), Aimee Gilbreath (Michelson Found Animals Foundation), Susanne Kogut (the Petco Foundation) and Christy Counts (WaterShed Animal Fund).
Idea submissions: Written ideas must be submitted online and accompanied with a video submission to the investors about the idea pitch.
"It's not enough to just have a good idea," said Mary Ippoliti-Smith, Executive Leadership Team, Maddie's Fund. "As investors, it is our job to assure that the organizations articulate a reasonable basis of potential lifesaving impact versus the cost to implement and a high probability of success to bring their ideas to fruition."
Last year 226 submissions were received, and Front Street Animal Shelter was awarded the winning investment of $250,000 for their innovative approach to address a nationwide issue – reuniting lost pets with their owners. Front Street's idea to employ text messages that have a high open rate to help pet parents navigate how to find their lost pets, coupled with the simple idea of blanketing a community with magnets that provide the number to text for help, impressed the investor panel. Front Street anticipates fully launching the program in late 2018 and will track results to prove the lifesaving impact.
About the Petco Foundation
At the Petco Foundation, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we've invested more than $200 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay and neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we've helped more than 5.5 million pets find their new loving families, and we're just getting started. Visit petcofoundation.org to learn more about how you can get involved.
SOURCE Petco Foundation