“Happy Dog Breath” Startup Wins UArizona Center for Innovation Sponsored Launch by Oro Valley Chamber

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is pleased to announce that uPetsia is the winning startup for the UACI Sponsored Launch Fueled by the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce competition.  

Early-stage Arizona-based biotechnology company uPetsia (rhymes with “You betcha”) is focused on making dog breath smell better for longer. While most products on the market today provide minutes of fresh breath in dogs, uPetsia’s product is incorporated into dog treats and chews and provides hours of minty fresh breath. By engineering bacteria for dog and cat microbiota, both the health and breath of companion animals is improved thus enhancing the bonding experience between pets and their families. The underlying technology was developed at the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and BIO5 Institute by founders Eric Lyons, David Baltrus and Scott Zentack. 

uPetsia worked with Tech Launch Arizona, the technology commercialization arm of the UArizona, who offered help in a number of ways. The office worked with the inventors to refine and protect the invention, and also helped them identify its best customers through its NSF I-Corps customer discovery program. TLA also provided funding through its Asset Development program, which allowed the team to prototype the product and explore commercialization avenues.  

uPetsia will receive one sponsored year of admission at UACI which includes venture development programming and space. Access to UACI provides the winning startup with a structured incubation program, customized business support and the ability to work alongside other startups in a fast-paced environment. UACI provides access to the people, programming and places needed to scale a business.  Other tools the incubation program provides are office and lab space, assistance through a 27-point roadmap that helps them with everything from refining their business model to obtaining funding. 

The Chamber of Commerce will also provide the winning company with membership into the Chamber which provides access to events, exclusive deals and connections to a network of businesses located in Oro Valley. The total package value is $10,000 and funded by the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. Program entrance will grant the winning startup with resources, facilities, services and expert guidance to grow their business. 

“Our Chamber and its members are excited to support a bioscience startup within the UA Center for Innovation at Oro Valley,” said Dave Perry, president / CEO of the Oro Valley Chamber. “We see the economic benefit of nurturing businesses that can become employers in our community. We want to grow Oro Valley’s reputation as a bioscience hub.”  

“We are thrilled to welcome uPetsia into the UACI family. uPetsia is passionate about bringing their product to pets everywhere. This technology has the potential to be in households across the world and we are here to support that growth trajectory,” shared Eric Smith, Executive Director of UACI. 

uPetsia will be immersed in the UACI incubation program starting May 2021, through April 2022 and have an office and lab space at the newest outpost of UACI at Oro Valley, thanks to the generous contribution from the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. 

Applications were reviewed by a panel of community champions and the winner was selected by the following panel of judges:  

  • Dave Perry, President/CEO of the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce 
  • Scott Weible, Esq., Attorney, Weible Law Firm 
  • Matt Lingard, PhD, Site Lead, Bayer Crop Sciences at its Marana greenhouse 
  • Alan Dankwerth, retired global business development director for Johnson Wax and now the proprietor of consultancy Market Considerations  
  • Sarah Morris, formerly site lead with Meggitt / Securaplane and now vice president for products with Microwave Products Group. 

About the UA Center for Innovation 

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is a startup incubator network with outposts across the Southern Arizona region and a mission to grow scalable science and technology startup ventures that fuel the Arizona economy. For nearly two decades, the program has directly served over 140 companies and impacted thousands of entrepreneurs. This is done through providing access to people, programming and places that help entrepreneurs take their companies from idea to market. Startups go through a structured program that takes them through a continuum of education provided by mentors, advisors, and community collaborators. UACI also provides access to service providers, industry cluster groups, interns and connections to potential customers and strategic partners. Entrepreneurs utilize various physical spaces that include offices, wet and dry labs, meeting rooms a prototyping center, collaboration areas and the infrastructure to support these spaces. The UACI is part of Tech Parks Arizona, which brings together university, industry, and community, creating “interactive ground” to advance technology innovation. 

About Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce  

The Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce was formed in the fall of 1992 to support the growth of and business interests in the community. It became the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce in 1998, when Northwest Tucson was entering a period of major growth. Then, in 2011, directors went back to the organization’s roots, and adopted once more the name Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. 

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