Innovation Showdown

The Innovation Showdown is a collaborative project bringing the nation’s top animal welfare organizations together to invest in lifesaving innovation.

The 2020 Innovation Showdown will be presented at the Animal Care Expo in San Antonio on Friday, May 8th from 4:30pm - 6:00pm CT and will be broadcasted live on the Petco Foundation Facebook page. Innovation Showdown participants seeking funding to save lives will present their innovative animal welfare ideas on stage to the Innovation Investors.

The 2020 Application is closed.

investing organizations

Annenberg FoundationASPCA Best Friends Animal Society The Jackson Galaxy Project Maddies Fund Mary Jo and Hank GreenbergMichelson Found Animals The Petco Foundation PetSmart Charities

Meet the 2020 Investors

These animal welfare leaders decided which of the finalists received investments.

AnnenbergChrista Chadwick Julie Castle Jackson Galaxy Mary Ippoliti-SmithMatthew Zarcufsky Amiee Gilbreath Susanne Kogut Lindsay Del Chiaro


AnnenbergChrista Chadwick Julie Castle Jackson Galaxy Mary Ippoliti-Smith Matthew ZarcufskyAmiee Gilbreath Susanne KogutLindsay Del Chiaro


innovation showdown

Please read the details below

  • How to apply (click to expand)

    To apply, you’ll need a brief description of your idea, your organization’s Tax ID number (EIN) and a link to a 1-3 minute video of you pitching your lifesaving idea. This does not need to be a professional video—it can be shot with your phone or camera. We want to hear you directly tell us about your idea and why it is needed, and also get a sense of how you’ll perform under pressure, pitching in front of a live audience. This is your opportunity to shine and raise money to save lives!

  • Selection process (click to expand)

    We’ll select 2 finalists with the best ideas to pitch to our innovation investors live at HSUS’ Animal Care Expo and we’ll choose 6 to 12 additional ideas to compete for our Wild Card spot. The Wild Card winner will join the other two finalists on stage at Animal Care Expo.

  • Rules and other details (click to expand)

    Winners must be able to attend the Animal Care Expo May 6 – 9 in San Antonio, Texas and work with the Petco Foundation to provide photo and video assets to support their pitch. All travel expenses for two organization representatives will be paid by the Petco Foundation and conference registration will be covered courtesy of HSUS.

    U.S. based nonprofit or municipal animal welfare organizations with a primary mission of saving companion animals (including community cats) and for-profit entities with a primary purpose of saving animal lives are encouraged to apply. Pitches must come from an authorized representative of the organization or company. Any investment to a for-profit company will be restricted for use applied to the animal welfare lifesaving idea.

    Organizations can submit up to 2 ideas but only one can be selected as a finalist.

    Finalists and submitters from last year are encouraged to submit their ideas again with an improved pitch.
    Deadline to apply is 5PM PT/8PM ET on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.

    Innovation starts with initiative, so please do your best to complete the application without our assistance. We cannot guarantee responses to all inquiries.

    The Wild Card Voting Round will take place following the selection of the two finalists.

    Voters for Wild Card voting must participate via the gallery poll. Only one vote per entry will be recorded. Voters must be logged in to an active Facebook account to vote. Voting is limited to those within the United States. In addition to logging in to Facebook, the voter must also provide their first name, last name and email address. The gallery poll will be accessible via Offering incentives for voting, paying for votes or voting on behalf of another person is not permitted. The Petco Foundation reserves the right to remove fraudulent votes. Organizations can be disqualified from the voting round for violating the above rules.

Past Winners

2019 - Dallas Animal Services

Customer service system that utilizes a custom phone app and two-way video communication.
Winner: $200,000 Investment

2019 - Day of the Dogs

Platform dedicated to preventing euthanasia of animals in shelters across the country by harnessing the power of crowdfunding.
Winner: $175,000 Investment

2019 - Front Street is an automated scheduling technology that enables individuals to seamlessly “check out” a shelter dog for a day.
Winner: $75,000 Investment

2018 - Front Street

Help lost pets find their way back home
Winner: $250,000 investment

2018 - St. Hubert's

Hands up approach to fighting euthanasia in animal shelters
Winner: $60,000 investment

2018 - Hearts Speak

Cloud-based tool helps animal shelters effectively promote to engage communities
Winner: $40,000 investment

2017 - ACC of NYC

How a touch screen and a dog's bark can help pets find new homes.
Winner: $100,000 investment

2017 - brandywine valley spca

Learn how a box can save the lives of hundreds.
Winner: $50,000 investment