The manufacturer of a smart dog and cat food dish, which can automate pet food purchases, won US$20,000 and other perks as the grand prize winner of the inaugural Nestlé Purina Pet Care Innovation Prize.

The winner, Obe, is based in San Francisco, California, USA and was founded by Hilary Jensen. The prize is a partnership between Nestlé Purina and investment firms Active Capital and Cultivation Capital. Obe produces smart pet products that make the care of pets more automated.

Obe’s flagship product is ProBowl, a patent-pending, dishwasher safe bowl with a smart base that connects to phones and WiFi via an app. ProBowl tracks a pet’s food and water intake, provides feedback on consumption, and alerts pet owners to any changes that are out of the ordinary compared to normal consumption habits. The ProBowl app can also sync with Amazon to have pet food automatically delivered to your door.

Details about the Pet Care Innovation Prize grand prize winner

“The support from the Pet Care Innovation Prize has been invaluable to the growth of the business,” Jensen said in a press release.

ProBowl was inspired by Jensen’s dog whose nickname was Obe, whom she wished to communicate with on new level.

“We are all busy with a lot to remember,” Jensen said. “ProBowl takes a few things off your list, so you don’t have to worry. No more texting your spouse to find out whether the dog has been fed, or who is going to pick up the dog food. ProBowl is simple enough that even your 8 year old can feed your pet the right amount every meal.”

Dr. Ernie Ward, veterinarian and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, helped develop ProBowl.

“ProBowl and the app give you daily access to veterinarian advice. Just like humans, the earlier we identify issues, the more likely we are to prevent bigger problems,” said Ward. “ProBowl and the app track everything your pet eats and drinks, making it easy to share data with your veterinarian.”

Details of the Pet Care Innovation Prize

Obe was one of five finalists for the Pet Care Innovation Prize. All finalists received a US$10,000 cash prize along with immersion in a multi-day accelerator program in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. As the grand prize winner, Obe received an additional US$10,000 for business development and will be an exhibitor at the 2017 Global Pet Expo, one of the world’s largest pet industry events. Expo attendees can meet Obe’s founders and see the ProBowl in action, and retailers can find out how ProBowl can help them drive traffic to their online and brick-and-mortar stores.

More than 80 companies from 11 countries applied for the Pet Care Innovation Prize. The contest identified and supported early-stage pet care companies in the growing global market. The competition was tailored to companies producing food, nutrition, pet care, play and technology products and services for dogs, cats and their owners. Other finalists for the Pet Care Innovation Prize included FetchFind, Ewegurt, K9 Fit Club and PupPod.