"I believe the human-animal bond is one of the most important bonds we have in life."
As a pet parent of two adopted dogs, Duke and Rex, his passion for pets plays an integral role in his life, both personally and professionally. But, it was the unconditional love shared with his childhood pet, Bear, that drove him to build a career improving outcomes for pets. "Bear was in many ways the inspiration for our first company in pet care, Whistle." With a mission to use technology to give pets a voice, Whistle aims to provide insights for pet owners to know when to go to the veterinarian and have relevant information when they arrive. Following the acquisition of Whistle by Mars Petcare, he helped Mars establish the $100M Companion Fund and Leap Venture Studio for startups in the space.
Previously, Ben served as an EIR and investment professional with DCM Ventures, evaluating startups from seed to growth stages and as a management consultant at Bain & Company, where he worked with clients across technology, private equity, and consumer goods. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Yale University.
Today, Ben serves as the newest member of the Board of Directors. In this role, he will join a board of community leaders from the corporate, financial, and animal welfare industries to provide governance, oversight and expertise to the leading charity dedicated to connecting homeless pets with loving homes and help pets stay with their families in times of need.
with Ben Jacobs
Why do you think pets are important in the lives of people?
One's relationship with their dog, cat, bird, or other loved companions can be a pure representation of unconditional love. In our home, it's dogs - two of them today, Duke and Rex, who are both rescue terriers - and we always comment that a house would feel so empty and quiet without dogs running around. They bring joy, laughter, and love into every little moment.
How has your pet (or a previous pet) changed your life?
Two examples: Bear from my childhood and Duke from today. Bear was, in many ways, the inspiration for our first company in pet care, Whistle. He was a German Shepherd whom we loved and suddenly, one day, fell ill. It felt quite stark to our family - one day bouncing up the stairs, the next with such health issues that he faced a fight and ultimately had to cross the rainbow bridge. Our mission at Whistle was to use technology to give pets a voice - providing insights for pet owners to know when to go to the veterinarian and have relevant information when they arrive. Bear set me on my career path and brought me to Duke, who has been on the journey from the start of Whistle through multiple entrepreneurial endeavors since. Even at 12+ years old, Duke is our loud, lovable, and excitable companion every step of the way.
What makes you most excited about working with PetSmart Charities?
PetSmart Charities offers the opportunity to drive non-profit change at scale. As the largest animal welfare organization, PetSmart Charities has the potential to tackle both near-term community needs as well as long-term, systemic issues. Many of the challenges facing us today are large and complex - access to pets and rising care costs as two examples - that require organizations to think differently. I feel honored and humbled to contribute to this group of leaders in helping shape the future of animal welfare.