Electronics giant Panasonic will hatch a new business incubator Thursday, the latest in a line of companies to help foster the growth of Internet and e-commerce startups.

The boom in e-commerce — and the demand for its stocks — has led to a rush to get in on the base floor of e-commerce opportunities.

New (incubator) companies join old hats such as WebMagic, which launched Pets.com.

The Internet is everywhere, even on TV . . . www.pets.com uses its ‘puppet spokes-dog thing’ to chat with pooches in parking lots and sing the site’s praises wherever pets play.

The San Francisco-based Pets.com has the great advantage of being backed by online powerhouse Amazon.com. . . . ‘Pets products seems like a pretty homespun industry,’ says Pets.com chief executive Julie Wainwright. ‘When people saw the size of this market, they were blown away.’

Greg McLemore, a 31-year old entrepreneur from Pasadena, California, registered the Pets.com address and launched the site as an online community for pet owners.

Pets.com seeks to sell everything your pet pines for. . . . But unlike its competitors, Pets.com has a formidable foe on its leash: Amazon.com. . . . Back in 1994, of course, the online pet market looked comparatively tranquil. That’s when Greg McLemore . . . registered the Pets.com address and launched the site.

‘We are running hard and fast to make Pets.com the best possible customer experience, from product selection to customer service,” said Julie Wainwright, chief executive officer of Pets.com. “This significant investment [from Amazon.com and Hummer Winblad] allows us to support our plans to build an enduring, customer-focused company.”

Customer service, a factor that helped distinguish one of its investors, Amazon.com, is also key, with Pets.com planning to fulfill all orders from its warehouses starting in June.

In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs are buzzing about pets. ‘It’s one of the last great consumer spaces for the Internet left to address,’ declares Julie Wainwright, who runs the newly launched Pets.com.

Newcomer Pets.com . . . has positioned itself as a strong contender with some 10,000 pet items for sale, content that includes an online lawyer and an anchor position on America Online, according to McLemore.

Amazon agreed to buy 50 percent of closely held Pets.com.