USA- Mars Inc. is one of the partners in an accelerator that raised US$1 million in a seed round for US pet food start-up Bundle x Joy.
The accelerator that saw the raising of this money is Leap Venture Studio pet-care start-up accelerator, which is a partnership between Mars, R/GA Ventures, and Michelson Found Animals Foundation. Cloyes Ventures is another investment fund that took part in the financing.
Arizona-based Bundle x Joy distributes pet food to over 450 retail locations, including Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market, and specialist shops.
Additionally, the company’s products are available through its website and Amazon, with a bag of 4lbs (1.8kg) salmon-flavored dry food going for US$19.99 on Bundle x Joy’s website and an 18lbs (8.1kg) bag going for US$59.99.
Bundle x Joy said it plans to use part of the funds to expand distribution, enhance its digital capabilities and invest in growing its team.
The startup predicts that the fund will also allow the enterprise to double its retail footprint in the US by the summer.
“We believe that the pet industry is hungry for the next generation of pet companies, brands, and products leading with purpose first. As a female-founded business, we are proud to represent the next generation of pet companies that are building a diverse and inclusive community that is representative of real pet people today,” Jess Berger, Bundle x Joy founder, and CEO said.
The Leap Venture Studio accelerator helps early-stage pet care companies through a 12-week program, which includes US$200,000 in investment.
The accelerator is currently running its seventh cohort with six companies.
Mars is also involved in another investment in the pet food industry through its affiliated company, Companion Fund.
Earlier this week, the Mars-affiliated Companion Fund and General Mills’ venture capital arm 301 Inc were involved in an investment that raised US$19m for US cat-food business, Smalls.
Mars set up the US$100m Companion Fund in 2018 to back pet tech, products, and services.