AutoPets is no longer accepting applications for the 2018 Out-of-the-Box Thinking Scholarship. We will announce the next Out-of-the-Box Thinking Scholarship in spring 2019. The program will offer three higher education awards to eligible applicants. The scholarship money can be used for tuition, books, and required equipment.

  • Grand Prize

  • First Runner-Up

  • Second Runner-Up


A Little About Us

AutoPets is dedicated to the design and manufacture of highly functional, easy-to-use products with a modern aesthetic, that make caring for your pet more enjoyable. At AutoPets, we understand that pets are more than just animals; they are parts of our lives and members of the family. We aim to make life caring for your pet easier and more enjoyable through creative product solutions. Our company takes a fresh-eyes, open-minded approach to everything we do. AutoPets is pet care, reimagined.


Essay Topic


Imagine you work at AutoPets on developing the pet products of the future. You are tasked with coming up with the company’s next brilliant idea that can be either a physical product (litter box, toy, leash, etc.) or a new software product (app, AI, virtual reality, augmented reality, etc.). We want to see you think creatively about what products you would want for your pet, either in the physical or digital world.

In your essay, describe a digital or physical pet product that you could bring to market to fulfill a need in an innovative way. Include what inspired you and your thought process as the idea was conceptualized. Describe why pet parents need it, what makes your product unique, who the target market is, what the marketing and retail strategies would be, and anything else that might help sell your idea.


You’re welcome to include drawings or graphics to illustrate your idea, but they are not required.


In a minimum of 400 words, submit an essay including the following:

  • The Inspiration & Description of the Product

    •  How did you think of your product idea?
    •  What is the product, how does it function, what does it look like, how does the user interact with it, etc.?
  • How Your Idea Is Unique

    •  What sets your product apart from its competitors? What gap in the market does your product fill? Why do pet owners need your product?
  • The Marketing Strategy

    •  Target Market: Toward what segments of the market will you focus your marketing efforts?
    •  Retail Strategy: Online/social, in-person, locations, merchandising, etc.
  • Anything else that will help sell your product

    •  Any other thoughts or insights into your product not previously covered.


Applicants must be current students at an accredited university, community college, certificate program, graduate school, or equivalent institute within the United States. High school students enrolling in 2019 are also eligible. Winners will be asked to submit verification of their student status (transcript, letter of acceptance, course list with your name, or equivalent).

Winner Selection

The winning entries will succinctly describe a unique and innovative pet product that makes pet care more enjoyable and completely fulfills the essay requirements.

Previous Winners

($9000 Given Away So Far!)
  • 2016-
    • Grand Prize Scholarship

      Adam H. for The Pet Stopper Automatic Pet Gate.

    • First Runner-Up Scholarship

      Hilary C. for Build-Your-Own Cat Tree.

    • Second Runner-Up Scholarship

      Taylor G. for Wet Pet Food Dispenser.

  • 2017-
    • Grand Prize Scholarship

      Téa B. for her idea of a smart tether that would prevent dogs from getting tangled up.

    • First Runner-Up Scholarship

      Maneesha R. for her idea of a cat toy with interactive motion-sensitive graphics that would boost a cat’s mental and physical fitness.

    • Second Runner-Up Scholarship

      Alejandra M. for her idea of a smart dog door that would take the work out of letting your pet in and out.

  • 2018-
    • Grand Prize Scholarship

      Elise G. for an app that would allow pet owners to find suitable animal companions for their pets based on similar personalities or needs.

    • First Runner-Up Scholarship

      Bailey D. for a smart water bowl that sets and tracks daily goals for your pet's water consumption based on a variety of factors.

    • Second Runner-Up Scholarship

      Giovanni R. for an autonomous device that can save a pet from drowning should they fall into a pool.


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