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December 2020

On Tuesday, December 8th, the animal care industry’s biggest influencers, entrepreneurs, investors, executives, professors, and veterinary students all gathered online to be a part of the Digital Animal Summit 2020. Over 260+ industry professionals attended the summit to explore how the digital revolution has affected animal care, production, and management, especially in the wake of COVID-19. Facilitated by Platinum Sponsor, Folio3 Animal Care Practice, Digital Animal Summit 2020 was a thriving success with entrepreneurs and industry leaders who underscored the significance of the digital revolution, and how it transformed the animal industry from animal production and management to animal care.

The summit kicked off with an intense fireside chat between Vytelle CEO Kerryann Kocher and UC Davis Veterinary Medicine School Dean Michael Dale Lairmore, moderated by Obe Founder Hillary Jensen. The three of them dissected and discussed innovations, research, genetic advancements, AI application, and the future awaiting animal scientists, veterinarians, and the animal care industry.

The panels on large and small animal discussion featured high profile speakers such as Diamond V’s Farm Certifications Unit Head Rodrigo Carranza, Folio3 Animal Practice Head Muhammad Abdullah, Cactus Feeders Director of Technology Corey White, Sabii Digital CEO Imran Haque, Scollar Co-Founder & CEO Lisa Tomayo, Superior Farms VP Sales Lesa Eidman, Pumpkin Petcare Marketing Director Kestutis Gasiunas, and Heath Wilkes and Jens Kjaer from Boehringer Ingelheim. The panelists discussed the impact COVID-19 had on the production animal industry and its future, and how the animal care industry is addressing innovation and technology in pet care.

The summit also featured a conference keynote with Dr. Junaid Bajwa, Chief Medical Scientist at Microsoft. Bajwa was in conversation with Umair Khan, Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley, and spoke about working in the human health world as a digital innovator. They also discussed the most promising as well as terrifying new technologies continuously evolving and emerging, that continue to shape human society.

“COVID-19 has made Digital Animal Summit 2020 truly a digital possibility. We can already see to a large extent how the digital revolution has rightfully taken over and left no stone unturned. The only way to be successful for the animal care industry now is to go digital and to do it yesterday,” said Umair Khan, Visiting Professor UC Berkeley and Partner at Mentors Fund.

As the Startup Showdown commenced, four ambitious startups from the animal care space ensured the judges as well as the virtual audience that innovation is only going to get bigger and better. The emerging startups that created waves in the summit while pitching their ideas to the Silicon Valley VCs were:

  • Scollar: Smart collars for your pets
  • Adoptimize: Photo automation technology for pet shelters
  • Vet Guardian: No touch vital signs monitoring for veterinarians
  • Breedr: Free livestock marketplace app with powerful analytic tools

The Showdown winners were chosen by experts in their respective fields from three veteran VCs, Mathew Divack from Moment Ventures, Adnan Lawai from Mentors Fund, and Amy Coveny from Quake Capital. Even though all the startups presented their idea very convincingly, <winner> won first place.

“Startup Showdown is always the most exciting part of the Summit because we get to witness emerging talent with their out-of-the-box ideas and having them passionately pitch their cutting-edge solutions and products to the Silicon Valley VCs is always a treat to watch,” said Sebastien Lafon, Former VP at Boehringer Ingelheim, who moderated the Startup Showdown at DAS 2020.

The DAS attendees also participated in interactive Breakout Workshops, which were a form of the un-conference style discussion groups introduced by DAS last year. The attendees chose a workshop relevant to them and got together with other like-minded professionals to discuss issues like recruitment and career management in the digital age, digital pet care products, digital disruption in the animal feed industry, the future of veterinary practice, and IoT finding its way into animal farms.

One of the highlights of the event was the DASTalk session on how a veterinary student’s digital revolution rescued ‘Kaavan’, the world’s loneliest elephant. Dr. Samar Khan, DVM, Camden Pet Hospital spoke about the efforts that went into bringing Kaavan home at last. Finally, for the closing keynote, two successful entrepreneurs and innovators, Matthew Rooda of Swine technologies, and Lisa Hu of Roo were in conversation with Megan Berry, Partner Mentors Fund, talking about their future plans and their entrepreneurial journeys.

“A huge round of applause and thank you to every speaker, delegate, and startup that attended the Digital Animal Summit 2020 and made it a massive success,” added Muhammad Abdullah, Folio3 Animal Care Practice Head, and Member DAS Advisory Council. “We can’t wait for the next Digital Animal Summit to be an even bigger success, like the trend we seem to be following.”