SwimSwam caught up with Nulo Pet Food Founder and CEO Michael Landa at his masters swimming team’s pool. Michael’s a force for good in the pet food industry, having built Nulo into one of the fastest-growing premium pet food brands in the United States, and he’s a swimmer with deep swimming-roots. Watch this video feature to learn more:
For us, Michael’s easy to find. Nulo’ s based in Austin, Texas, just down the road from SwimSwam’s HQ, and Michael’s reputation precedes him. Austin is a very pet-friendly town. Pets are everywhere, especially in restaurants that cater to your pets with water bowls and pet-specific items on the menu. Most Austinites frequent local pet food stores, and when you ask for Nulo the owners know Michael.
ME: “I’m looking for Nulo dog food, adult breed…”
PET FOOD STORE: “Oh, you want the big bag with Max, Michael’s dog…”
Max is Michael’s big boy, the handsome lab in the featured image above. Max, like Michael, has become a bit of a star, and both are stars in the pet food industry. Michael launched Nulo back in 2009, and his company has experienced exponential growth. To understand Nulo, you need to understand it’s really the story of Michael and Max.
While working in the corporate world and living in California, Michael was preparing for an upcoming work trip and was searching for someone to watch his black lab, Max, while he would be gone. With no luck finding an adequate dog-care situation and refusing to leave his buddy behind, he decided to drive to Colorado instead of fly so that Max could join. While in the car, Michael had plenty of time to think about the lack of quality pet care options available and devise a solution. See Michael’s and Nulo’s full backstory here.
My introduction to Nulo came locally. My lab-mix rescue, Tucker, had a nervous tummy. He had digestive issues. My local pet food store recommended Nulo because it is the only brand with a patented probiotic. The probiotic works. Tucker tried it two years ago, and it’s the only brand we buy now. We love it, and Tucker is fit and healthy.
NULO’S PET + SWIMMING CULTURE
A little over a year ago I was lucky enough to visit Nulo’s HQ, a quick visit to say hi and see my old Olympic buddy Ricky Berens. Ricky and I are from the same neighborhood back in Charlotte, NC, and we now both live in Austin. You probably know Ricky’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist, but he’s also Nulo’s Financial Planning and Analysis Manager. A casual stroll through Nulo’s HQ will make you feel like you’re at Doctor Dolittle’s Manor. Pets are welcome, well-behaved and cute. In sum, it’s a fun place to visit. If you’re a swimmer and a pet lover, Nulo feels like home. Thanks to Ricky, I got a little time to see Michael, and I only had one question. I wanted to know why he was engaging athletes, specifically swimmers, to be Nulo Ambassdors? Nulo has worked with Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, and Dana Vollmer, and Ricky has appeared in Nulo marketing too. Michael’s answer was clear and to the point:
“Swimming is a big family, and swimmers, like most people, love their pets.”
Nulo is a SwimSwam partner, but I’m not a Nulo ambassador. I’m just a fan, like my dog Tucker.