Innovation Showdown

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

This year’s Showdown will be presented at the HSUS Expo in New Orleans on April 17 from 4:00pm - 5:30pm CST 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 application has closed. Please check back for information on finalists.

investing organizations

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

Meet the 2019 Investors

These animal welfare leaders will decide which of the finalists receive investments. Each investing organization is contributing $50,000 in lifesaving funds for a total of $450,000!

AnnenbergMatt Bershadker Julie Castle Jackson Galaxy Mary Ippoliti-SmithMatthew Zarcufsky Amiee Gilbreath Susanne Kogut Christy Counts


AnnenbergMatt Bershadker Julie Castle Jackson Galaxy Mary Ippoliti-Smith Matthew ZarcufskyAmiee Gilbreath Susanne Kogut Christy Counts


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. All finalists will be notified by March 20.

  • Rules and other details (click to expand)

    Winners must be able to attend the Animal Care Expo April 15 – 18 in New Orleans, Louisiana and work with the Petco Foundation in March and April 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 5 PM CST Tuesday, January 15.

    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 March 4 through March 16.

    You may only vote once and must use a valid email address. Votes without a valid email address will not count toward the total. Purchasing votes, voting on behalf of another person or providing incentives for voting in the Wild Card voting round is prohibited.

Past Winners

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