Dave Comiskey: From Founder to Supporting Founders in Pet Tech

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Four years ago, Dave Comiskey was working in government. He and friends launched Barkly Pets in those heady “Uber for _____” days of startups, growing, adapting, and expanding Barkly until they exited to Metamorphosis Partners in 2020. Today Dave is Entrepreneur in Residence at the Pet Care Innovation Prize which is powered by Purina, where he finds and supports pet startups.


Four years ago, Dave Comiskey was working in government. He and friends launched Barkly Pets in those heady “Uber for _____” days of startups, growing, adapting, and expanding Barkly until they exited to Metamorphosis Partners in 2020. Today Dave is Entrepreneur in Residence at the Pet Care Innovation Prize which is powered by Purina, where he finds and supports pet startups.

Describe the Pet Technology field and what you do.

Pet tech, as broad as the category is, brings ideas and innovation to life that improve the human and pet connection. As EiR at the Pet Care Innovation Prize, I get to work with and support founders of innovative pet tech companies every day.

Where and by whom is the most promising work in the field being done?

What I love most about the pet industry is how broad it is. The “field” here is expansive and there is interesting work being done in every corner. I really admire some of the companies who are tackling the daunting challenges around sustainability in the pet food industry. The share of meat consumption in the U.S. that goes to our pets is a pretty scary figure and work to solve that is important.

What do you do to keep your batteries charged?

If you asked me this a year ago, I’d probably give some expected answer of exercise and time outdoors, etc. These days, I’m focusing on keeping my batteries charged by not draining them on things that aren’t worth it.


How diverse and inclusive is the Pet Tech Ecosystem?

The simple answer is not diverse and inclusive enough. In an ideal scenario, diversity in the pet tech ecosystem should mirror the diversity of pet ownership. I believe, but don’t quote me, that the majority of pet ownership in the country is in racial minority households. So needless to say, there is a long way to go in bridging the gap for the pet tech ecosystem to be more representative.

What are the opportunities in the Pet Tech Ecosystem?

It seems like every stone you turnover in the industry presents new opportunities for disruption and innovation. To pick a couple, I don’t think the wearable nut has really be cracked yet.

The pet services industry has come a long way with tech plays, and this is where Barkly Pets focused, but I see opportunities in tackling the more professional/skilled pet services beyond sitting and walking.

Mentioned in this Article

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Dan Reus is a writer, connector, speaker, seer of potential and facilitator of innovation and change. He consults with clients aspiring to realize their innovation potential as the founder and chief instigator of Openly Disruptive, and is a proud St. Louisian. Follow him on Twitter at @DanReus.