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October 5, 2023

Mars and Digitalis Ventures Launch $300M Fund to Empower Pet Health Startups

Iconic brand behind M&M's, teaming up with Digitalis Ventures to launch Companion Fund II, with $300 million capital

Mars, the global conglomerate behind beloved brands like M&M's and SNICKERS, is teaming up with Digitalis Ventures to embark on a mission to revolutionize the world of pet care. Together, they are unleashing Companion Fund II, a formidable $300 million venture capital fund aimed at championing pioneers who harness cutting-edge science, technology, and design to enhance the lives of pets, pet owners, and veterinarians.

This visionary fund is poised to be a game-changer in the animal health landscape, offering early-stage startups in the United States and Europe the financial muscle they need to make a profound impact. It's a clarion call to companies involved in veterinary diagnostics, veterinary medicine, information technologies, online platforms, and beyond. The Companion Fund II represents a lifeline for visionary startups, aiming to support them while preserving their autonomy, agility, and innovation.

Loïc Moutault, Global President of Mars Petcare, articulated the fund's mission beautifully: "Our goal is to support pet care founders accelerating the trajectory of startups, helping to fuel the growth of pet care businesses and to contribute to the future of the pet care industry. We’re excited to support entrepreneurs and innovators in creating new products and services that deliver on our purpose: ‘A Better World for Pets.'"

Geoffrey W. Smith, Founder and Managing Partner of Digitalis Ventures, added, "With our second Companion Fund, we are eager to support the next wave of great ideas for advancing animal health at scale. Our partnership with Mars makes these advances possible."

This venture marks the sequel to the immensely successful Companion Fund I, which made waves with a $100 million war chest in 2018. The Companion Fund has already left its paw prints on the industry by supporting pioneering companies like Smalls, MySimplePetLab, and Scratch. With Companion Fund II, Mars and Digitalis Ventures are doubling down on their commitment to fostering innovation in the pet care sector and nurturing the next generation of disruptors.

Mars, Incorporated is no stranger to innovation, boasting a diverse portfolio that spans snacking, food, and pet care products. Their brands, which include PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, and WHISKAS®, are household names. Mars is on a mission to create a brighter future for pets through its network of cutting-edge pet hospitals and diagnostic services, such as AniCura, BANFIELD™, BLUEPEARL™, Linnaeus, and VCA™. These services are at the forefront of genetic health screening and DNA testing, leveraging technology to push the boundaries of pet care.

Digitalis Ventures, hailing from New York, is a key player in the health tech arena. They focus on solving critical problems in health by investing in early-stage companies across life sciences, health technology, services, and animal health.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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