Meet with the founders of two of breakout pet tech brands, Ben Jacobs of Whistle, and Brock Weatherup of Pet Coach in a private pitch meeting in Las Vegas this summer during the pet industry’s biggest show. Jacobs and Weatherup are on a mission to encourage innovation and help entrepreneurs clear traditional industry hurdles with their winning ideas. Finalists selected to attend the session will be notified by July 10th*

Submissions are closed for a chance to network with key industry leaders from Petco and Mars Petcare and one winning idea will receive a no-strings-attached cash prize of $25,000.

Submissions are closed for 2017. Winners will be announced July 26, 2017.



Jeannine Taaffe , SVP Sales and Marketing at Banfield

Jeannine Taaffe, SVP Sales and Marketing at Banfield

Ben Jacobs , Co-founder and CEO of Whistle

Ben Jacobs, Co-founder and CEO of Whistle

Brock Weatherup , Co-founder and CEO of Petcoach

Brock Weatherup, Co-founder and CEO of Petcoach

John Zavada , CIO of Petco

John Zavada, CIO of Petco





Who are the judges?

Pet Project judges are leaders and innovators in the pet industry, including:

  • Jeannine Taaffe, SVP Sales and Marketing at Banfield

  • Ben Jacobs, Co-founder and CEO of Whistle

  • Brock Weatherup, Co-founder and CEO of PetCoach

  • John Zavada, CIO at Petco


What do the winners receive?

  • From the Pet Project finalists <<link to press release when live>>, the judges will select one winner to receive a cash prize of $25,000 for their company. In addition, the winner will be provided opportunities to create awareness and exposure for their  brand, as well as the experience of networking with their start-up peers and some of the industry leaders that make up the #PetProject2017 team.

  • Nothing will be exchanged to redeem the cash prize and the parties are not committed to doing business together beyond this competition period.


Who is eligible to win?

  • Pet Project is global and inclusive, open to innovative ideas in pet care from any qualified start-up (principals must be 18 years or older).

  • The winner will be selected by the judges based on the originality of the idea, scalability, and the potential impact of their product, service or solution on pets and pet parents  as presented in the live demo and pitch.

  • Participants must own the idea and the intellectual property rights of the product,  service or solution to win.


Note on privacy:

  • This is not a competition suited for stealth companies, and we ask all participants to be mindful of submitting anything that might post a risk to their intellectual property. An accurate description of the features and benefits of the product,  service or solution is sufficient for the panel to consider. Pet Project will not judge any business for which participants don’t hold the appropriate IP rights.
  • All finalists have consented to their names, likeness and description of the business being used in promotion and press communication of Pet Project.



    • Entries open: June 7, 2017

    • Applications close: July 1, 2017 at 11:59 PT

    • Pet Project Pitches in Las Vegas, NV: July 25, 2017

    • Pet Project breakfast and award reception: July 26, 2017




WHISTLE® is the pet tech brand born out of a love for pets. Founded in 2012 by Ben Jacobs, Steven Eidelman, and Kevin Lloyd, Whistle is on a mission to equip pet owners with simple tools that help them stay connected to their pets from anywhere. Today, Whistle leads the industry in innovation with Whistle 3 GPS pet tracker & activity monitor, the most reliable all-in-one pet device. For more information about Whistle visit, or


Before co-founding PetCoach, Weatherup served as Venture Partner of tech accelerator ICONYC Labs and managing director of his angel investment fund, Atai Ventures. Previously, he was SVP/Chief Digital Offer at Petsmart after their purchase of Pet360, where he was Co-Founder/CEO for five years. Weatherup was also Co-Founder/CEO of Fathead ( and a senior leader at InterActiveCorp. A graduate of the University of Colorado, he sits on the board of the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and can often be found hiking with his five-year-old English retriever, Boulder.


As the global leader in pet care, we help make millions of pets’ lives better by providing quality nutrition and health care, creating foods that pets love, and bringing them closer to their owners. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, Mars Petcare has more than 40,000 Associates across 50 countries.


Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that focuses on nurturing powerful relationships between people and pets. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, Petco has more than 25,000 partners and operate more than 1,500 Petco locations.



Last updated: June 07, 2017

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